Two months ago my mom and I engaged in a friendly game of Scrabble. She's 89-years old. I use words to make my living. She beat me soundly.
Last week your best phlebotomist couldn't get blood from a patient that your newest phlebotomist got on the first stick.
Even though you've hired dozens (if not hundreds) of employees and have perfected the art of hiring the cream of the crop, next month you'll hire the worst employee you've ever had.
There are people placed in our lives for the sole purpose of keeping us humble. Their timing is always perfect. As soon as we boast, bam! Toot your own horn and a sour note is bound to come out before your most critical audience. It's embarassing, but it's appropriate.
The alternative, humility, is powerful and protective. If you let your work speak for itself, allowing others to notice on their own instead of bringing your abilities to their attention, you'll never be humbled. When the humblers make their rounds sniffing out the prideful, you'll get a pass.
The best reputations---the ones that stand on their own, the ones that endure and really matter---are organic and don't require the dung of pride to bear fruit. They are also immune from humiliation.
The humble can't be humbled.