I love being humbled

The Kontent - Scott Nguyen
5 min readMay 6, 2023
Photo by Bruno Aguirre on Unsplash

I believe one of the best things that can happen to you is getting humbled often. It’s so refreshing to experience the scale of difference between where you are versus what things are. I love that feeling because it shows me that no matter how good I get at something, there’s still more to improve on and that I need to continue to keep pushing on no matter what.

There’s nothing like getting extremely frustrated with the problem or with yourself and then eventually solving that problem. Sometimes, it takes a few hours, other days, it might take weeks or months, maybe even at the last few years of your life.

I see the stages of getting humbled as one’s way to not only get a reality check for one’s ego, but also for one that is continuously pushing boundaries. As the old saying goes, the more you know, the less you know.

Communication is an asymptote

Math never made much sense to me, probably because it was never correlated to real-world examples that I could grasp and run with. Only when you get older, it gets easier to connect the dots.

Building skills is never as linear as we want it. Some people get exponentially better quicker and some are stagnant. Let’s take a general skill like communication, which I believe is like an asymptote — you’ll get close to mastery, but you’ll never achieve it. When you believe that you’ve did, that’s where the sweet poetic justice of a humble pie hits you right straight in the face to let you know there’s more to this.

In an ironic twist, the more you develop and the better you get, prepare to get serviced a slice continuously. I’ll be honest, it’s not very fun to acknowledge that you suck. Imagine telling someone you’ll get better at it, but you won’t ever achieve the level that you want. Slightly brutal, but truthful.

The key isn’t to focus on that. The goal is to just get better instead of feeding an unrealistic portrayal or depiction of yourself. If you only care about getting better, who cares if you fail? You’ve only run into problems because you’re making attempts at improvement, otherwise, you would have been content with staying at the same level.

Remember Neopets? if you do, I’d assume you’re older just like me. The objective of this game is to raise your “pet” through various games, battles, and activities. It’s kinda like Pokemon but not as good. I remember going to a friend’s house and he would spend most of his time playing this same dungeon over and over again. His pet was so strong that one hit would end the battle. I thought to myself, isn’t that boring if you knew you’d win every single time?

That’s how I feel about being humbled — the fact that you don’t win every time makes it exciting. You’re forced to think about what went wrong and the different ways to fix it. This is a skill that you’ll use throughout your entire life. The more problems you face, the more aptitude you build for solving those problems.

Get out of the comfort zone

Your present self will hate it but your future self will appreciate it. It’s hard to see the benefits as you’re going through the mud because all you feel and see is well… mud. Only after a while, do you get to see the flowers, but you have to get through the mud first.

The tough part is figuring out how long it takes to get from mud to flowers. One of the worst things you can do is set up expectations for when you’ll be successful. I’ve seen way too many times when people give up because it wasn’t what they expected. That’s exactly how I felt going to Texas and trying smoked brisket for the first time. I had hyped it up from the hundreds of videos I’ve watched, only to be disappointed it wasn’t a life-changing moment.

It’s more worthwhile to celebrate the actions of going out of your comfort zone than to tough it out and expect a reward. Instead of thinking about how you get to have that ice cream after a tough workout, think of how you pushed yourself today for an extra 5 minutes and how you can perhaps go for 6 minutes the next time. Celebrate your actions instead of the payout, and then prepare to get humbled every time you push past your limits.

It’s this constant cycle of consistently going past your comfort zone, getting humbled, and doing it again the next day that allows you to grow. You don’t have to take drastic leaps, but you have to move. It’s a sweet balance of “that was terrible, but I’m okay” is what makes it doable the next day. Your threshold will increase because you’ve done it before.

I think it’s almost a blessing in disguise because if nothing ever humbles you, then your perception of what “good” is becomes a limited version of itself. Imagine coming from a small town and being the best basketball player there. Then someone from a D-1 college shows up and thoroughly shows you there are levels to this. Now you know what it takes to play at that level and you are now forced to evolve and adapt.

Some people will shy away from this, which only limits their growth.

Become so used to being humbled that instead of a foe, you welcome it with open arms like seeing an old friend.

*Check out my last article on You’re not as smart as you think you are*

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The Kontent - Scott Nguyen

I write to get better at writing and to learn. IG: stayingkonnected Podcast: Staying Konnected