Have you ever met one of your biggest idols only to find out that they couldn't care less about you?
Maybe their music has gotten you through a rough time in your life, or you watched in awe while they displayed superhuman athletic abilities, or you've read all of their books, or you aspire to be as good of an actor as them, or you simply admire their hand lettering work.
You probably felt that meeting this person face to face was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and you had no doubt that they would be as friendly in real life as they appeared to be on TV or YouTube.
But instead, they were a complete jerk toward you when you finally got to meet them.
If this has happened to you, you were probably devastated. Suddenly, all of the inspiration you received from them turned to lies. You likely felt tricked into supporting this person.
This has happened to me a few times. After learning first-hand that a few of my idols have an air of superiority over the fans who support them, I vowed to always stay humble and never talk down to anyone.
Humility is a Decision
During the long journey of starting from nothing and achieving notable success, it's easy for one to forget that they, too, started from nothing. The memories of humble beginnings are easily buried under inflated confidence, entitlement, and sense of arrival.
It can happen to anyone. Being put on a pedestal feels nice. You're treated well and you're constantly getting compliments and praise from all directions. Who wouldn't like that?
After all, success is usually the result of overcoming difficult struggles and it's deserving to feel proud.
But that's where things can go terribly awry. Pride can be dangerous.
Pride can be a very tricky thing depending on how it's processed. To be proud of an accomplishment is healthy - you simply feel good about the achievement and receive a boost in self-confidence.
But to be so proud of your newfound status that you place yourself on a pedestal above others is putting an end to growth and positivity.
You have to know that it's not just all about you. Staying humble is a decision to share that positivity with others.
Humility is Gratitude
The key to feeling pride in a positive way is gratitude. Behind all success and achievement is a set of circumstances - opportunities, luck, and support from others.
Humility is Growth
Whether you believe it or not, you're somebody's role model. Someone looks up to you for something you've worked hard at.
As a role model, you're given a beautiful and powerful gift - the opportunity to inspire someone and help them do greater things.
To show that you're just a normal, hard-working human being to someone who looks up to you is to encourage them. Encouragement, by nature, is constructive.
Imagine that you give positive energy and inspiration to one person, and that person takes that energy and gives it to two more people, each of whom pass it to two more people. The positivity grows exponentially. You can actually help make the world a better place.
To look down on someone who looks up to you is to say that you're better than them. It's to say that they'll never reach your level. It's to have so much pride in yourself that you forget about the people who contributed to your success. It's destructive.
The Stay Humble Collection
The Stay Humble piece was chosen for my product debut to serve as a reminder to you (and to myself) to always treat everyone as an equal.
Regardless of how successful you might become, no matter how many people idolize what you do, never forget what it felt like to start from the beginning. Never forget what it felt like to look up to someone and aspire to be one of their peers someday.
Always cherish the opportunity to build someone up. Use your gifts to cultivate positivity and encourage people. You and I both know that our world needs more of this.
In 2012, I went on a photography / camping trip in West Texas where I saw the Milky Way with my own eyes. I'll never forget how miniscule I felt during those moments; it was one of the most humbling experiences of my life.
The colors used for the Stay Humble products are inspired by the colors from my best photo of the Milky Way captured during that trip (shown at the top of this page). That photo, along with the above photo that I captured of myself, are reminders that no person is superior to another - because in the grand scheme of things, we are all quite insignificant.