35 Humility Quotes for a Balanced and Meaningful Life

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Humility quotes offer nuggets of wisdom that teach us the value of modesty, respect, and openness in our lives. These quotes, often shared by insightful individuals, guide us on a path of self-awareness and genuine connection with others. Humility, a virtue celebrated in these quotes, is not about thinking less of ourselves but about thinking of ourselves less. It’s the quiet strength that comes from acknowledging our strengths and flaws while treating everyone with kindness. Let’s explore and understand these humility quotes, offering insights that can shape your character, relationships, and approach to success in a simple and meaningful way.

Table of contents:

What is humility?

Humility is a quality of being humble, which means having a modest and unpretentious attitude. It involves recognizing and acknowledging your strengths and accomplishments without boasting or seeking excessive attention. Humble individuals are open to learning from others, admit their mistakes, and treat everyone with respect, regardless of their status. Essentially, humility is about staying grounded, valuing others, and being aware of your place in the world without feeling superior to others. It’s a virtue that fosters genuine connections, personal growth, and a balanced perspective on life.

Is humility good?

Yes, humility is highly beneficial. It is a virtue that brings numerous positive outcomes. Humility allows individuals to build meaningful relationships by fostering empathy and understanding. It promotes a continuous desire to learn and improve, leading to personal growth. In professional settings, humility encourages collaboration and teamwork, as humble individuals are open to diverse ideas and perspectives. Moreover, humility helps in resolving conflicts by reducing ego-driven disputes. It is an essential quality for effective leadership, as humble leaders earn trust and inspire loyalty.

Overall, humility contributes to a harmonious and cooperative environment, facilitating both personal and collective success by fostering a mindset of openness, respect, and continuous self-improvement.

35 Inspirational humility quotes

1. Confucius: “Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.”

Explanation: Confucius conveys the profound idea that humility serves as the cornerstone upon which all other virtues are built. Imagine virtues like kindness, honesty, and compassion as a structure; humility provides the stability and strength necessary for these qualities to flourish. When one approaches life with humility, it becomes easier to cultivate and embody other positive attributes, creating a well-rounded and virtuous character.

2. Saint Augustine: “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”

Explanation: Saint Augustine uses a vivid metaphor to illustrate the transformative power of pride and humility. By stating that pride changed angels into devils, he suggests that excessive self-importance and arrogance can corrupt even the purest beings. Conversely, humility has the ability to elevate humans to a higher, angelic state. This quote encourages us to reflect on the impact of our attitudes and to recognize the potential for positive transformation through humility.

3. James M. Barrie: “Life is a long lesson in humility.”

Explanation: Barrie offers a perspective on the continuous nature of learning humility throughout our lives. Life, with its myriad experiences, challenges, and successes, provides an ongoing education in the value of humility. Every interaction, obstacle, and achievement contributes to our understanding of the importance of humility in navigating the complexities of existence. This quote encourages a mindset of perpetual growth and self-awareness.

4. Thomas Merton: “Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.”

Explanation: Thomas Merton contrasts the effects of pride and humility on our authenticity. Pride, he suggests, can lead us to adopt artificial or insincere behaviors as we seek to maintain a certain image or status. On the contrary, humility allows us to be genuine and true to ourselves. By embracing humility, we connect with our authentic selves and foster more meaningful and sincere relationships with others.

5. Rick Pitino: “Humility is the true key to success. Successful people lose their way at times. They often embrace and overindulge from the fruits of success. Humility halts this arrogance and self-indulging trap. Humble people share the credit and wealth, remaining focused and hungry to continue the journey of success.”

Explanation: Rick Pitino provides a pragmatic perspective on the role of humility in achieving and sustaining success. He acknowledges that success can sometimes lead individuals astray, causing them to become arrogant or overly indulgent. Humility, according to Pitino, acts as a safeguard against these pitfalls. Humble individuals not only avoid succumbing to arrogance but also share credit and wealth with others. This sharing mindset helps them stay focused, motivated, and hungry for continuous success, emphasizing the enduring importance of humility in the journey of achievement.

6. C.S. Lewis: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

Explanation: According to C.S. Lewis, humility doesn’t mean having a low opinion of yourself. Instead, it’s about shifting your focus away from constant self-centered thoughts. It encourages you to be less absorbed in your own concerns and more attentive to others. By doing so, you cultivate a mindset of selflessness, understanding, and consideration for those around you.

7. Henri Frederic Amiel: “There is no respect for others without humility in one’s self.”

Explanation: Henri Frederic Amiel highlights the connection between humility and respect for others. He suggests that genuine respect for others is rooted in a humble self-awareness. When you possess humility, you are more likely to appreciate and acknowledge the worth of others, fostering a positive and respectful attitude in your interactions.

8. Rick Warren: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

Explanation: Rick Warren echoes C.S. Lewis’s sentiment, emphasizing that humility isn’t about diminishing your self-worth. Instead, it involves reducing the preoccupation with yourself and your own needs. By shifting your focus outward, towards others and their needs, you develop a humble and empathetic attitude, contributing to more meaningful connections and relationships.

9. Simone Weil: “Humility is attentive patience.”

Explanation: Simone Weil introduces an aspect of humility as being closely tied to patient attentiveness. True humility involves being patient and attentive to others, acknowledging their perspectives, needs, and concerns. This quote suggests that humility is not just about how you see yourself but also about how you engage with and understand the world around you.

10. Rabindranath Tagore: “We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.”

Explanation: Rabindranath Tagore draws a connection between greatness and humility. According to him, true greatness is achieved when humility is embraced. By acknowledging your own limitations, being modest, and showing respect to others, you come closer to embodying greatness. This quote encourages aspiring to greatness through the practice of humility.

11. Charles Spurgeon: “Humility is to make a right estimate of one’s self.”

Explanation: Charles Spurgeon provides a concise definition of humility, stating that it involves making an accurate and balanced assessment of oneself. It’s neither an inflated nor a diminished view of one’s abilities, but a realistic understanding of strengths and weaknesses. This quote encourages self-awareness and a balanced perspective, which are key elements of humility.

12. Charles Caleb Colton: “The greatest friend of truth is time, her greatest enemy is prejudice, and her constant companion is humility.”

Explanation: Colton illustrates the relationship between truth, time, prejudice, and humility. Truth is revealed and strengthened over time, but it faces obstacles like prejudice. Humility acts as a steadfast companion to truth, enabling an open-minded and unbiased approach. This quote teaches the importance of patience, unbiased thinking, and the role humility plays in the pursuit and acceptance of truth.

13. Swami Sivananda: “Humility is not cowardice. Meekness is not weakness. Humility and meekness are indeed spiritual powers.”

Explanation: Swami Sivananda dispels misconceptions about humility and meekness, emphasizing that they are not signs of weakness or cowardice. Instead, these qualities are portrayed as spiritual strengths. This quote teaches that humility and meekness, far from being vulnerabilities, are sources of inner strength, resilience, and spiritual power.

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

Explanation: George Arliss suggests that humility is the most genuine form of wisdom. By being humble, you prepare your mind to gracefully adapt to the unpredictable changes life may bring. This quote encourages a mindset that values adaptability, resilience, and a realistic understanding of one’s place in the world.

15. Vanna Bonta: “Humility is the ability to give up your pride and still retain your dignity.”

Explanation: Vanna Bonta encapsulates the essence of humility by portraying it as the capacity to let go of pride while maintaining one’s dignity. It teaches that humility doesn’t diminish your self-worth but, in fact, enhances it. This quote encourages the practice of humility as a way to navigate interpersonal relationships with grace and integrity.

16. Thomas Moore: “Humility, that low, sweet root, from which all heavenly virtues shoot.”

Explanation: Thomas Moore uses a metaphor to describe humility as a foundational element, comparing it to a root from which all virtuous qualities grow. This quote conveys the idea that humility is the source of other positive traits, highlighting its central role in fostering a virtuous and morally upright character.

17. Simon Sinek: “Humility, I have learned, must never be confused with meekness. Humility is being open to the ideas of others.”

Explanation: Simon Sinek distinguishes between humility and meekness, asserting that humility involves being receptive to the ideas of others. This quote teaches that true humility includes an openness to different perspectives, a willingness to learn, and an understanding that one’s own knowledge is not absolute. It encourages a humble and open-minded approach to collaboration and learning from others.

18. Thiago Silva: “I think that humility is key to succeed and conquer your dreams.”

Explanation: Thiago Silva suggests that humility is a crucial factor in achieving success and realizing your dreams. This quote teaches that approaching your goals with a humble mindset, staying grounded, and being open to learning from others are essential qualities for success. It emphasizes the importance of humility as a guiding principle on your journey toward achieving your aspirations.

19. Ernest Hemingway: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

Explanation: Hemingway encourages a perspective shift from trying to be better than others to focusing on self-improvement. The quote teaches that true greatness lies in surpassing your past self rather than comparing yourself to others. It promotes the idea that personal growth and development should be the measure of one’s nobility and success.

20. Michel de Montaigne: “On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.”

Explanation: Montaigne uses a metaphorical expression to convey that regardless of one’s position or status, everyone remains grounded on their own individual foundation. This quote teaches humility by reminding us that no matter how elevated our position, we should maintain a sense of down-to-earth self-awareness and avoid arrogance.

21. Rick Warren: “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

Explanation: Rick Warren distinguishes true humility from self-deprecation. This quote teaches that humility isn’t about diminishing your worth but, rather, shifting your focus away from constant self-centered thoughts. It emphasizes the importance of considering others and their needs, fostering a balanced and selfless mindset.

22. C. JoyBell C.: “Be careful not to mistake insecurity and inadequacy for humility! Humility has nothing to do with the insecure and inadequate! Just like arrogance has nothing to do with greatness!”

Explanation: C. JoyBell C. warns against confusing humility with feelings of insecurity or inadequacy. This quote teaches that true humility is not rooted in self-doubt but is a confident acknowledgment of one’s strengths and a willingness to learn from others. It contrasts humility with insecurity, emphasizing that humility and greatness can coexist.

23. H. Jackson Brown Jr.: “Every person that you meet knows something you don’t; learn from them.”

Explanation: H. Jackson Brown Jr. promotes a humble approach to learning from others. This quote teaches that humility involves recognizing that every individual possesses unique knowledge and experiences. It encourages the idea that by staying open-minded and being willing to learn from others, you can enrich your own understanding and perspective on life.

24. Orrin Woodward: “Ingratitude produces pride while gratitude produces humility.”

Explanation: Orrin Woodward highlights the connection between gratitude and humility. This quote teaches that when you are ungrateful, it can lead to a sense of pride or entitlement. Conversely, gratitude fosters humility by acknowledging the contributions of others and recognizing the value in what you have received. It encourages a mindset of appreciation and humility through gratitude.

25. Alexander Pope: “A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying in other words that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.”

Explanation: Alexander Pope emphasizes the humility in admitting one’s mistakes. This quote teaches that acknowledging when you are wrong is a sign of wisdom and growth. It encourages a humble acceptance of our imperfections and a continual process of learning and improvement.

26. Martin Luther: “True humility does not know that it is humble. If it did, it would be proud from the contemplation of so fine a virtue.”

Explanation: Martin Luther explores the paradox of humility. This quote teaches that genuine humility is not aware of itself; otherwise, it might become a source of pride. It emphasizes the idea that true humility is a natural and unassuming virtue, devoid of self-consciousness.

27. Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica: “Until you have suffered much in your heart, you cannot learn humility.”

Explanation: Elder Thaddeus suggests that experiencing hardship and emotional pain can lead to the development of humility. This quote teaches that humility often arises from a deep understanding of suffering and empathy for others. It encourages a compassionate and empathetic approach to life, born out of personal struggles.

28. Madeleine L’Engle: “Humility is throwing oneself away in complete concentration on something or someone else.”

Explanation: Madeleine L’Engle describes humility as a selfless act of focusing entirely on something or someone else. This quote teaches that true humility involves redirecting your attention away from yourself and toward others or a greater purpose. It encourages a mindset of service and genuine care for others.

29. Dina Rolle: “One of the greatest lessons is humility. Humility is like oxygen to the soul. You won’t get too far without it!”

Explanation: Dina Rolle emphasizes the vital role of humility in personal growth and success. This quote teaches that humility is essential for the well-being of the soul, comparing it to oxygen. It encourages the understanding that humility is not a hindrance but a necessary element for progressing and thriving in life.

30. Muhammad Ali: “It’s so hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”

Explanation: Muhammad Ali, known for his confidence, humorously acknowledges the difficulty of maintaining humility when one achieves greatness. This quote teaches that true humility involves staying grounded even in the face of exceptional accomplishments. It reminds us that humility is a continuous practice, regardless of our achievements.

31. Mignon McLaughlin: “The proud man can learn humility, but he will be proud of it.”

Explanation: Mignon McLaughlin humorously points out that even when a proud person learns humility, there’s a risk of becoming proud of that humility. This quote teaches that the journey toward humility requires genuine self-awareness and a continuous effort to avoid falling into the trap of pride, even in the pursuit of humility itself.

32. John Climacus: “Humility is the only thing that no devil can imitate.”

Explanation: John Climacus suggests that humility is a unique and incorruptible virtue. This quote teaches that, unlike other virtues that can be imitated or distorted, humility remains pure and untouchable. It emphasizes the special nature of humility in maintaining authenticity and resisting negative influences.

33. Shannon L. Alder: “Humility is not a one-time lesson that comes when you have lost everything. It is a daily reminder of how far we have come yet still short of who we can be through HIS grace.”

Explanation: Shannon L. Alder highlights the ongoing nature of humility as a daily reminder of personal growth. This quote teaches that humility is not solely a result of losing everything but a continuous acknowledgment of progress and the need for divine grace. It encourages a humble attitude in both successes and challenges.

34. Ralph Waldo Emerson: “A great man is always willing to be little.”

Explanation: Ralph Waldo Emerson emphasizes the greatness in being willing to embrace humility. This quote teaches that true greatness lies in the willingness to set aside ego and be humble. It encourages the idea that humility is not a sign of weakness but a mark of genuine strength and character.

35. Saint Augustine: “Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues; hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist, there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.”

Explanation: Saint Augustine underscores the foundational role of humility in the development of other virtues. This quote teaches that without humility, other virtues may only appear superficially. It emphasizes the essential nature of humility as the bedrock on which other positive qualities can authentically flourish.

Key teachings

  • Thiago Silva: Humility is key to success and conquering dreams.
  • Ernest Hemingway: True nobility is surpassing your former self, not being superior to others.
  • Michel de Montaigne: Regardless of status, stay grounded and humble.
  • Rick Warren: True humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.
  • C. JoyBell C.: Humility is not insecurity; it is not to be confused with meekness.
  • H. Jackson Brown Jr.: Learn from every person you meet; everyone has something to teach.
  • Orrin Woodward: Gratitude produces humility, while ingratitude produces pride.
  • Alexander Pope: Admitting when you’re wrong is a sign of wisdom and growth.
  • Martin Luther: True humility is unaware of itself; it doesn’t lead to pride.
  • Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica: Suffering in the heart is a path to learning humility.
  • Madeleine L’Engle: Humility is complete concentration on something or someone else.
  • Dina Rolle: Humility is crucial for personal growth and success; it is like oxygen to the soul.
  • Muhammad Ali: Maintaining humility is a challenge, even in the face of greatness.
  • Mignon McLaughlin: The proud can learn humility but might be proud of it.
  • John Climacus: Humility is unique; it cannot be imitated by the devil.
  • Shannon L. Alder: Humility is a daily reminder of progress and a reliance on divine grace.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson: True greatness involves the willingness to be humble.
  • Saint Augustine: Humility is the foundation of all virtues; without it, other virtues may only appear superficially.

How to use these humility quotes?

You can use the above quotes on humility as guiding principles in various aspects of your life:

1. Self-Reflection: When facing achievements or challenges, reflect on Muhammad Ali’s quote to stay humble despite success.

2. Admitting Mistakes: Remember Alexander Pope’s words when you make a mistake; acknowledge it, as it’s a sign of growth.

3. Avoiding Pride: When you accomplish something, recall Mignon McLaughlin’s quote to stay humble and avoid becoming proud, even of your humility.

4. Learning from Others: Apply H. Jackson Brown Jr.’s advice by staying open-minded and learning from everyone you encounter.

5. Expressing Gratitude: Embrace Orrin Woodward’s idea by expressing gratitude to cultivate humility in your daily life.

6. Navigating Challenges: During tough times, draw inspiration from Shannon L. Alder’s quote, viewing humility as a reminder of progress and reliance on grace.

7. Balancing Confidence: When confident, balance it with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s wisdom – the willingness to be little can be a mark of true greatness.

8. Leadership Approach: If you’re in a leadership position, incorporate Saint Augustine’s insight that humility is the foundation of all virtues, fostering an environment of genuine and lasting success.


In the tapestry of life, humility stitches the threads of authenticity, kindness, and growth. As we unravel the wisdom woven into humility quotes, we discover the art of acknowledging our journey, embracing connections, and cultivating resilience. Let these quotes be guiding stars, illuminating a path where grace, understanding, and genuine success intertwine. May your journey be adorned with the enduring beauty of humility.