Knowing something is different than knowing the name of something.
Shane Parrish of Farnam Street Blog spoke of this concept from Richard Feynman, the Nobel winning Physicist.
The Feynman Technique formula for learning is based on knowing the difference. I want to talk about the three words that seem to suffer from this concept.
Humble, Love and Tolerant
Most people seem to think that being humble is a weakness. They relate it to being a push over or a doormat. They think that humble people don’t stand up to the pressure of their own convictions. Quite the contrary.
The original word for humility is tightly coupled with the word meek (also completely misunderstood). But the word meek meant tremendous power under complete control. A humble or meek person has all the power they need to wield; they simply keep it under control so that they can relate to and understand others.
Humility is derived from the Latin word humus meaning grounded. A humble leader is well grounded, standing firm.
Humility requires leaders to shed all their prejudices and biases and examine who they are and what they have become. Humility leads to openness, teachability and flexibility.
I know of at least two situations where I have either been asked to use a different word or was asked not to work in a company because “Business is a rough and tumble world with no room for foolish things like love.” Aristotle speaks of love as being one of the key elements to the highest level of happiness and the framework for great team work. The Greeks had at least 3 words that translate into our one English world love. Agape, the word that Aristotle used refers to how we treat other people, not about being emotionally or physically “in love” with them. How we respect and treat others (boss, peers, direct reports, customers, investors, etc.) has everything to do with business. Love may be the leading indicator of success in business.
This word is widely used in many situations today and I will assume that people mean well by it. But in some cases, behavior reflects the true meaning of the word rather than the implied meaning.
The medical definition of tolerate is: “be capable of continued subjection to (a drug, toxin, or environmental condition) without adverse reaction.” The non-medical definition sends the same signal: “accept or endure (someone or something unpleasant or disliked) with forbearance”
Neither of those definitions is very pleasant and shouldn’t be tolerated.
What we mean to say is have patience.
Once again people assume the word patience means to not hold people accountable. But the true concept of the word infers calmness, stability and persistent courage in trying circumstances. It speaks of respect for others when there is disagreement.
Be humble, love one another and have some patience. Everyone is unique. Out of that uniqueness can be built great teams.