Dave Kerpen | Failure is the Gift of Humility
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Failure is the Gift of Humility

Failure is the Gift of Humility

“Humility is the only true wisdom by which we prepare our minds for all the possible changes of life.” – George Arliss

Last month, I keynoted an entrepreneurship conference in Monterrey, Mexico in front of 3,000 people. Today, I just spoke in front of 3. No, not 3,000, or 300, or even 30 people. I spoke at a conference, and, for reasons I’d rather not explain since they’re irrelevant to this piece, there were a total of 3 people in my audience today. (You can see all three in the picture!)

The number of people in the audience and why this was as it was, isn’t as important as how I felt as I spoke. I felt disappointed. I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed. I felt humbled.

I did my best to deliver my content as well as I could, and based on the reactions from my crowd of 3, I did fine. But that didn’t change how I felt. As someone that’s been fortunate enough to enjoy success beyond my wildest dreams as a father, author, entrepreneur, and public speaker, I just felt so ashamed. I felt like a total failure.

After a quick but good cry with my wife, I thought, “How can I make this experience valuable for me and for others?”

So I decided to write this piece. I’ve written before about the lessons you can learn from failure– as many people have. But less has been written about humility specifically and why it’s so important for us all.

Humility reminds us that we’re no more important than anyone else.

Humility reminds us that no amount of success we’ve in the past guarantees success in the future.

Humility reminds us that it’s not about us.

Humility reminds us that each individual on this planet matters.

Humility reminds us to focus on what really matters.

Humility makes us more authentic, which breeds trust.

Humility makes us better professionals, better leaders, and better human beings.

The truth is, no matter how many wins you have, no matter how successful you are, no matter how happy you are, a dose of failure – as hard as it can be, can lead to a dose of humility, which is super valuable.

Today, I received that dose of humility, and for that, I sure am grateful.


It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others.

– Andrew Holmes

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