By Lynne Dean, red belt, CTI Black Belt Club Member
If you look at the definitions above for modesty vs. arrogance, the common theme is under-stating or over-stating your abilities. So whether you are perceived as modest or arrogant depends on the observer’s perception of how you see yourself and your abilities vs. what they think.
No one really likes being called arrogant because that, by definition, means you proudly overstate your capabilities and assume an overbearing manner towards those around you. Someone perceived as an arrogant person has turned off people around them. And, if I am perceived as arrogant, then I must not think I have room to grow and might not make the most of the resources around me.
So, the conservative approach and one that is best set for overall growth is to err towards the side of modesty. It doesn’t mean that I become self-deprivating. I have skills that I should be proud of. However, if I am modest, then I recognize that there is always room to grow and develop even more skills and abilities. If I keep that approach to modesty, then I still set myself up for success and reduce the chance for frustration. There is also a chance that my interactions with those around me might be less contentious because I am conscientious about how I present myself in an attempt to NOT be arrogant/over-bearing (a.k.a. obnoxious).
A modest person is one who recognizes the need to grow; to seek validation; and to seek feedback. Therefore, I have the best chance to become a better person with greater skills by remaining modest and seeking out growth.