Monday, June 13, 2011


By Brian Good, Green Belt

Excerpts from a homework assignment.

Modesty – Webster’s New Dictionary and Thesaurus, Concise Edition, © 1990, defines the word modest as meaning, “restrained by a sense of propriety; decent; having a modest estimate of one’s own merits, not vain boastful or pushing; unobtrusive; moderate.”  Webster’s subsequently defines the word modesty as, “the fact or quality of being modest.”

Arrogance - Webster’s New Dictionary and Thesaurus, Concise Edition, © 1990, defines the word arrogance as meaning, “undue assumption of importance.”

I believe that modesty is an important part of being a person and successfully interacting in society in many ways.  In addition to Webster’s definition above, it is my opinion that someone who is modest is also humble (from the Latin root, humus, which means “of the earth” [also per Webster]).  Being modest is a sign of respect to others as it implies that the other person is more worthy, better, or important than you.  Even if this proves to be untrue, it is better for another to disagree and compliment you than for you to assume that they are in some way lower of a person or have lesser skills.

Being modest is important at work, even and especially if you are the boss.  Being arrogant or all-important implies that you are better than the people who work with and for you.  It is hard to lead from this position because the perceived importance actually backfires and others think less of the leader.  One earns more respect by showing deference and respect to the skills and talents of others.  At home, it is also important to be modest.  This can help nurture the skills of children, build their confidence, and allow them to see that when they do succeed, there will not always be someone there to beat them back down.  It is also helpful in spousal relationships which must be based on mutual trust, respect, and admiration.  At CTI Taekwondo, being modest shows respect for the skills of fellow classmates and instructors.  I think that if a person knows they have done a good job, internal congratulations should suffice; no bragging or boasting is necessary.  If someone else compliments one’s performance, that is nice, but is not necessary.  On the other hand, a person is usually their own worst critic, and it is during these times that words of encouragement from others can help bolster the confidence and spirits of someone who might be dissatisfied with a particular event or aspect of their life.

Even though I consider myself a modest person, if I ever start feeling too good about myself or too cocky, that will be the day that I trip in front of a bunch of people, spill my coffee at an important meeting, or have the ketchup packet explode on my white shirt.  Just another lesson in modesty…

Student Winning a Medal After Sparring

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