Napoleon Syndrome 4 indicators that we’re leaving it behind

I am pleased to announce that I was recently awarded a medal for humility. It’s a huge medal. But still I managed to wear it everywhere. Then, the committee who awarded it took it away. I don’t know why. I guess humility is a bit like underwear. Put it on; don’t show it.

Authors can get big heads. Dogs can too. My dog has Napoleon Syndrome, a condition. She thinks she’s a big hound. So when a friend brings his German Shepherd dog Chief over, Mojo thinks she’s chief. She yaps and lunges. She thinks she’s a conqueror, but she’s an appetizer.

Pride can mess us up good. It’s at the root of every relational breakup, every war. So what to do? In Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis wrote,

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

Here are four indicators that we’re moving in the right direction:

  1. Criticism doesn’t devastate us. In fact, humble people actually seek out constructive criticism. It is an opportunity to change.
  2. Gossip doesn’t characterize us. If you’re going to gossip, here’s what you have to do. You have to forget how much grace God has shown you.
  3. We rejoice with those who rejoice. This is hard. When a friend gets engaged, upgraded or promoted, do we think immediately of the fact that we haven’t been? Or do we rejoice?
  4. We look up. I have yet to stand under the stars at night and say, “Wow! Aren’t I great? Look how big I am. Somebody bring me a mirror. Look how brightly I shine.”

Like the writer of Psalm 8, when I consider the heavens, the wonders that God has created, I am aware of how small I am and how vast God’s love is for me. Is there one thing I have that God has not given me? What matters is what God thinks of us. He says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. And what does He ask in return? That we act justly, love mercifully, and walk humbly with him. Philippians 2:3 (NIV) says,

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”

May we be remembered as those who took an active interest in others. As C.S. Lewis said,

“Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call “humble” nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody.

Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him.”

Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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