Practicing Here-and-Now Humility; a Key to life-long learning – (Insight from Humble Inquiry by Edgar and Peter Schein)

1: exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one’s own worth or importance, often by an overbearing manner
2: showing an offensive attitude of superiority; proceeding from or characterized by arrogance

1: not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive
2: reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission


Humble InquiryThis FrIday, at the August 6 First Friday Book Synopsis, I will be presenting my synopsis of the book Humble Inquiry, Second Edition: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling (The Humble Leadership Series) by Edgar H. Schein and Peter A. Schein.

It is a pretty convicting book.

To fail to practice humble inquiry is to be an arrogant know-it-all who of course knows nothing close to “all.”

Or, as the authors state it, Humble Inquiry is the gentle art of asking questions to which we don’t already know the answer. Humble Inquiry must be practiced to build better relationships and to help others to untangle the complex situations we are confronted with daily. 

I will later write my usual post, with my lessons and takeaways.  But this is a post with one focus.  The book calls us to practice “Here-and-now humility.”

What a great phrase!

It’s not about being a humble person; although, that would be a good thing to be. It is about taking a humble position in the midst of conversations; in the midst of every conversation.

Here is how the authors describe this trait:
Embracing Humility in the Here-and-now; Here-and-now Humility: think of this as Here-and-now Humility, accepting our dependence on each for information sharing and task completion. Here-and-now Humility is how you feel when you realize that you are dependent on someone else in the situation.

That other person you are talking to; they know stuff.  They know stuff that you do not know. They know stuff that you have not even thought about.  They know stuff that you do not know; that you do not know that you do not know.

Since they know stuff that you do not know, ask them to share what they know.  Ask them…humbly.  Receive their wisdom and insight and observations with a curious attitude; with the attitude of a humble learner.

Learn from them.

I think we could all become better learners – better life-long learners – if we adopted humble inquiry, with a special emphasis on Here-and-now humility.

We have much to learn.  You have much to learn.  This is one important way to learn to learn.

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