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Humility & Henry

I have just finished reading a good book on Patrick Henry by David Vaughan. In this book Vaughan recounts Henry’s life and seeks to draw lessons in leadership. In a chapter entitled “Humility” Vaughan gives a powerful warning.

“Fame is dangerous, of course, because it is deceptive. At the heels of popularity there lurks pride and all of its attendant evils: arrogance, egotism, and selfishness. With every successive victory, or every promotion in public esteem, there is the danger of secretly congratulating oneself, thus edging closer to a fall from the pinnacle of pride. Once a leader succumbs to pride, he disqualifies himself from holding a position of power because he can no longer fulfill one of leadership’s most important tasks: to guard and guide those under his authority. Self centered leadership is an oxymoron.” (165-66)

Too true! Examples of this failure are all too easy to find. Let us beware, guard our hearts, and open ourselves to those who are willing to rebuke our conceit when (not if) it begins to rise.

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