One of my favorite radio programs when I was a little girl in Korea was a radio talk show. I looked forward to the program every evening. The regular cast of characters were a writer, a philosopher, a historian, most of them college professors. Each night they discussed ideas, politics, poetry, the ways of the world, the economy, education,and everything having to do with what it means to be good human. They were interesting, witty, and fun to listen to. Each night they discussed and argued their points and ideas.
My mom used to really like one professor. He was louder and more domineering than the rest, but was so full of life and had so much wit that no one minded him and everyone welcomed his voice in the conversation. He was just too lovable, and Korean listeners loved him very much.
Mom used to tell me again and again that he was a kind of anomaly. In truth, she said, jars with few beans were always louder than the jars that were full. That is a Korean allegory that points to people with little knowledge who speak louder and more often to show off their knowledge, too ignorant to be self aware, as compared to people who are truly and deeply educated and know a lot, but who speak less and do not show off.
Mom used to say that this philosophy professor was an exception. He was a truly educated and highly intelligent man with deep knowledge, but he was loud and spoke a lot. She followed this by telling me that most people who really know a lot never show off their knowledge.
A truly great person is humble, she said.
It could also be that a person who knows a lot knows that he or she does not know a lot. The more you know, the more you realized you truly do not know.
We have all been there, feeling the need to show others who we are, what we know, and what we have accomplished. I certainly have done this.
The problem is that showing off is waste of time. When we are showing off our knowledge and our accomplishments, we are really and truly robbing ourselves of true self-confidence.
When we need confirmation of who we are from others, we are telling ourselves that we are not good enough to just be. Maybe being humble is nothing but a true sense of confidence.
When we don’t have a need to show off and we can quietly accept who we are, then in that very moment we are truly confident and truly happy.