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  • Writer's pictureJosh Wymore

1+1: Our infinite capacity for self-deception + connecting humility, faith, and entrepreneurship

Hey there! Here’s one leadership idea and one resource I’ve found beneficial this week:

A grapefruit sliced in half

1 idea: Our infinite capacity for self-deception

A few days ago, I noticed a startling trend in my speech: arrogance. Sometimes the pride was subtle—I talked too much or thought too highly of my own advice. But other times, it was more overt—like when I joked from a conference stage that the event must be great if it featured speakers like me. (Barf!) For some people, these small sins might not make headlines, but they alarmed me. After all, I spend my days encouraging people to become humbler! How in the world could I possibly tout the benefits of humility if I wasn’t living it out myself?!


As I processed those instances in the days after, I grappled with how I gotten to this place. Writing Humbler Leadership had been perhaps the most humbling experience of my life. Every day, I had to look in the mirror and wrestle with how the concepts I was learning applied to me. Trying and failing to put those ideas into compelling sentences regularly reminded me of my limitations. I joked with friends that the best way to become humbler was to write a book on humility.


Then the book was done, and I hit the speaking circuit. After spending three years in my quiet office reflecting and writing, I was now speaking to thousands of leaders across dozens of organizations. While I had been the learner before, now I was perceived as the expert. People listened to my ideas, asked for my advice, and even laughed at (some of) my jokes. 


All this attention and affirmation had a dangerous effect on me. I started playing my own highlight reel in my head, and my head expanded as a result.


Ironically, I was not the first humility “expert” to face these troubles. Six years after writing a fantastic book call Humility, author and pastor C.J. Mahaney took a leave of absence from his leadership position after being accused of "pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgment, and hypocrisy." While Mahaney’s fall from grace was more public and severe than my own, I can fully understand how it occurred. As Gertrude Atherton puts it, “The human mind has an infinite capacity for self-deception.”


The lesson I need to relearn is the same one I share with leaders every day from the stage. Humility is not a destination but a journey. The goal is not to become humble but to become humbler. Each day is about taking the next step in that process. We can't take our hands off the wheel because none of us is immune to self-deception.

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  • What does your speech or behavior tell you about the status of your heart?

  • Where might you have some blind spots?

  • Who could help you see them more clearly?


1 resource: Connecting humility, faith, and entrepreneurship

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with some of my favorite Fort Wayners, Geoff King and Mitch Kruse, for a fun and free-flowing conversation about humility, faith, and entrepreneurship.


A few of my highlights from this podcast were:

  • How my faith encouraged me to become an entrepreneur and led me toward humility

  • The connection between humility and self-esteem

  • How to encourage growth mindset in your kids

  • How humility improves relationships with different generations

Cover of James Clear's book Atomic Habits




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