True Humility

The man in the water was a swimmer of wide experience, who had rarely missed daily practice for twenty years, yet from the side of the swimming-bath a novice was shouting instructions to him. In response to an inquiry as to the reason for this unusual procedure, it was explained that the swimmer, who had won many prizes and medals, had learned from results that he was not making satisfactory progress, but while in the water was unable to discover wherein he was at fault. The novice, though with little more than a theoretical knowledge of the art, had been able, nevertheless, from his point of vantage, to discern and to explain to the prize-winner that he was swimming too low in the water, thereby swamping himself.

How often do we find ourselves confronted with a problem which threatens to swamp us, and yet fear of loss of prestige prevents us from confiding in one who, not being in the difficulty, might be able to give us the very advice that would meet our need. It is only ignorance that would keep us back from seeking help or advice when our understanding is not sufficient to solve the problem; and it is only the subtlety of this ignorance that would make us pretend to know what we have not proved. It is the experienced man who is not ashamed to say "I do not know;" and it is something closely allied to deceit which would assume to give the answer to a problem when not certain that the solution is correct.

Surely there is a great lesson to be learned from this attitude of thought manifested by the swimmer; for as soon as he realized that he was not getting a proper result, he knew the fault must be with himself. Then, not being able to detect the difficulty, he did not allow any thoughts of self-satisfaction or self-glorification to keep him from profiting by the advice of even the humblest beginner. The world's greatest demonstrator of real power said, "I can of mine own self do nothing."

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Love's Power
June 26, 1915

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