As we explore what Normal Males look, feel, sound, and ultimately act like it becomes increasingly clear that the majority of our societal friction begins with our general lack of humility. What does it mean to have humility and when are we encouraged to display healthy doses of it? Do we want President Obama to demonstrate humility? Do we want our Husbands and Fathers to demonstrate humility? What about those men we encounter out in the public sector?
Does humility imply weakness? Are there benefits to humility? Does humility even belong in our lives? All of these questions and more allow us all to explore the nature of manliness and where and when we would like to see humility displayed.
Many of the men in the public eye are scrutinized for showing too little or too much humility. Former President Bush was hard pressed to display humility and for some that felt safe…for others stubbornness and inflexible. President Obama discusses humility and tact often and the Right calls it “waffling.”
Do we want Normal Males to boast about their accomplishments and level of importance in our lives? I think there is a time and place and conveying a built-in flexibility shows young boys and men that life is not always about inflating ones’ posture to win the crowd.
I recently had a meeting with a professional who sought to sell his services to me. What was so refreshing about this man was his humility and openness to conversation and thought. No boasting. No posturing. Flexible…understanding…which sent me a message that he cared about my business and pleasure through the process.
His presence was not at the expense of others and demonstrated to me that my opinions mattered. This is the kind of display that should be acknowledged and awarded…and you know what? He will win my business because of his awareness of others and care to “not” be like a typical, bullheaded and inflexible stuffed-shirt man.
Now of course I am going to receive emails that espouse disdain for my “watered-down” version of men behaving Normally. I welcome the conversation and dialogue. Humility fends off arrogance and “above-the-law” mentalities which only further plant men as “know-it-all’s” who think their ideas and presence are above all others. If anyone can tell me that our gender will advance with boastful and arrogant men I will turn around and give you a litany of fallen “heroes” from the American Landscape: Tiger Woods, Mark Mcgwire, Gilbert Arenas, Michael Vick, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Eliot Spitzer, James Frey of Oprah fame who wrote fake memoir and bestseller, and sadly in my opinion Jay Leno for his thievery of the Tonight Show for a second go-round.
Which leads me to this…Conan O’Brien’s statement to NBC and the greater American public, though sad, was a wonderful example of humility. Mr. O’Brien’s understanding of his “problems” in the grand scheme of the world we live in was refreshing and hopefully trending towards Normal. Though he appears to be losing his dream job he can leave with his head held high. If you have taken the time to read his letter then you will see that his concerns lie not with himself and his image, but rather with those professionals and their families that moved across the country to support his dream gig. Here’s to you “funny-man” for giving the rest of Normal Males a glimpse of humility we can all be proud of!!