Discover the transformative power of humility with Michael Stansbury. Explore its profound implications for business owners, leaders, and imitators of Christ.
Today, host Brett Snodgrass and guest Michael Stansbury discuss the multifaceted nature of humility and its transformative power in various aspects of life. Together, they discuss the antidote to pride as they paint vivid portraits of individuals who embody humility in their everyday lives. They reflect on the delicate balance between striving for success and maintaining a humble spirit, particularly for business owners and leaders. Drawing from the timeless wisdom of C.S. Lewis, Andrew Murray, St. Augustine, and Mother Teresa, Brett and Michael offer practical guidance for cultivating humility, ensuring continuous reflection and growth. They also emphasize passages from the scriptures, illuminating the divine call for humility. As the ultimate example of humility, they discuss how the life of Jesus in Philippians 2 serves as a source of inspiration. Imitating Christ's humility becomes a transformative journey, leading to spiritual growth and the joy of aligning with God's will. Explore humility with us, and learn how it can guide us towards a life grounded in love, compassion, and understanding. Tune in now!
I'm talking with my cohost, Michael Stansbury, on this term humility, which Andrew Murray calls the beauty of holiness. Let's go.
What's going on? I am with Michael Stansbury, one of the cohosts of the show. Welcome, Michael.
It's great to be here, Mr. Snodgrass. How are you doing?
I'm doing fantastic. I'm excited about this topic that we're going to be talking about on this show. We're going to be diving into the word humility. We're going to be diving deep into that. You probably have heard the word humility. Some of you have a definition already in your mind. Some of you still are a little foggy on this word. Obviously, the theme of the Bible is about using men that are humble and walking in their humility. Jesus Christ was walking in his humility, dying on the cross. We're going to back dive into the word humility. Michael, let me ask you. If I say the word humility, what comes to your mind? What are you thinking about when I say that word about a person walking in humility?
Somebody that lays aside themselves. People that I would classify as truly humble are people that are interested in other people and meeting people at their needs. Thinking of themselves as not necessarily nothing, but you can tell when you're engaged with some other human being that they're engaged with you. You can also tell the opposite. You can tell when you're in a conversation with people and they're wanting something from you. That absence of wanting something from you is how I think of humility in interpersonal relationships. It goes much even deeper than that. That's what I think of it almost on the surface level. I'm excited to go layers deep on humility. What do you think of it, Brett Snodgrass? What's your answer to that question?
If I could have anything internally in my life, I believe that if I could practice humility, you're exactly right. It's almost becoming this empty vessel and knowing that there is a God and you are not him. You are constantly wanting him to fill you up, seeking him and that intimate relationship with him, and just that self-forgetfulness, not thinking less of yourself. Sometimes when you say the word humility, it sounds almost like homelessness. You have someone who forces themself to be poor, to not take care of themselves, to not wear nice clothes, to be dirty, and careless with themselves.
That's not what humility is at all. It's forgetting about yourself and putting all of your energy into being that vessel for walking with the Lord and what God wants you to be and being the person and that vessel for him to use and for his own purposes. Putting all of your thoughts and care into other people and how you can encourage them.
This is a struggle for myself. I think it's a struggle for every single person because we come into this world with this born selfishness. Honestly, I want to be humble, but sometimes I have to constantly remind myself of how can you walk in to engage with this person and humility where you're not thinking about, "How can I gain?" Do you ever deal with that?
All the time.
How can I talk to Michael where I'm not going to gain from him or he's not going to help me with my own vision in life?
As entrepreneurs and businessmen, in the back of our minds, we have a vision for our lives and even maybe the companies we run. It's very natural for us to ask, "Is this relationship going to be an added value to my life?" Sometimes we're thinking in those natural terms of, "How can this person help my business move forward?" I get caught up in these conversations. Sometimes I'll meet somebody new at church, and I'll be so engaged, "What kind of business are you in? You're in real estate?" I start thinking through the mindset of, "I need to connect with this person because they may add value to me, or I could be added value to them."
Inherently, I don't think that there is anything wrong with that if we start from a different point of view. Instead of me going, "How can I help this person without any reciprocation?" I'm going, "This guy could help move me forward." That's how we mostly deal with interpersonal relationships because we're naturally born to reciprocate. If I do something for somebody, even out of the blue, they feel like they have to do something, too. They have to pay back. They have to send you a gift. It's cool to get a thank you card. I think thank-you cards are awesome. The thing is it hits you like, "I tried to do that without reciprocation. I wanted to do that so I could be humble." It is this constant battle that we have as men. This is the cool thing about getting older and wiser. The humility thing goes layers deep. If you think that you're humble, then that's a problem.
You're not humble at all.
I know individuals in your life that have demonstrated humility and utter humility, and they're good models. The ultimate model obviously is Jesus Christ and how he humbled himself. Anytime I think about somebody that's demonstrating humility, you want to see Jesus Christ. You want to see, "This person is demonstrating who Christ is by their actions. I want to be more like Jesus or like that person because they're like Jesus." That's where this whole definition and the etymology of the word gets real fond, especially when you're diving deep into scripture. I don't think we'll ever know enough until we know him.
I wrote down some scripture verses. It actually says a couple of times in scripture. In Luke 14, it says, "For all of those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humbled themselves will be exalted." Has there been a time maybe in your own life that you were exalting yourself? Maybe you didn't know it at the time, but you wanted to raise yourself up or build Michael's kingdom where it ended up you were humbled. Was there a time in your life about that?
Yes, there is that. In the future, there may be that again. You have to guard yourself against it. In growing a business in this era that we live in on social media, the humble brag and the posting on social media, I've done that before. I've said, "Look at me. Look at the business that we're creating." Things then change and markets change. Maybe what you did wasn't working before. In business, I've been humiliated because things weren’t working out as they were before. Do you think I posted to social media how bad we were doing?
Since you're talking about social media, do you feel social media is almost destroying this concept of humility?
Yes, because there's no context for it. People open up their social media, they see a post, and they don't see the past. They see the present, but they don't see the future. They just don't know what they don't know about this person, but they're seeing a surface-level post and they're making assumptions about either how they got to where they're at. It is destroying it because we think that that is real life.
I call those the unseen hours. They don't see the unseen hours behind the curtain.
In social media, as much as we would love to say that we're authentically ourselves on there, there's no way. I'll look at my posts from years ago on those memories, sometimes I love those memories that come up, and then some I'm like, "What were you thinking there? Why did you post that?" It really is one of those things that we struggle with. I've offended people on social media before. It's never my intent. The people just don't have the context. They don't see the unseen hours, like you said. It's hard to be humble on social media because you're posting about yourself. It's your name and whatever you're posting is going to be associated with you. If you post something humble on Facebook, how are other people receiving that?
The big question is, can you post something humbly on social media? I post this show in whatever. We post things out there and maybe we want to get some traction, but can you really post? It's not thinking less of yourself if you're thinking about other people. It is very difficult to engage and post on social media without thinking of yourself, your gain, and your vision. It's very difficult.
It’s almost impossible because we know that as Christ followers, we still have a sin in our life. You can't help but have anything that you want to do altruistically, there still have a little bit of sin nature behind it. I'd like to think when I'm doing something nice for somebody and I'm doing it anonymously, there's still that little thing in the brain that goes, "What if this person found out I did this? This would make me look good in their eyes."
That actually goes through my mind. Why does that thought flow through my brain? I'm trying to do this like the scripture says. Do not let your left hand not know what your right hand's doing. You're also comforted by what the scripture says that people need to see Christ through your life. This is what's wild about social media. You can make a post about something and somebody could actually see what you intended and be motivated and blessed by it. There's somebody else that may see that and go, "I can't believe it. Why would they post that?" That's the human condition that we live in.
One of the authors that I love to follow, I wrote down some authors here. Obviously, we want to go in and the basis of this is Christ and the scripture. A couple of other authors is C.S. Lewis. Amazing author. He wrote the books Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, and Narnia books. He said a couple of things that humility is the antidote of pride.
Humility is the absence of pride. Pride is, again, "How do you raise yourself up? How do you exalt yourself? How do you make yourself look good?" He talks about pride and he says, "Pride leads to competition. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something. It only gets pleasure out of having more of it than the next man. It is the comparison that makes you proud. The pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, then pride is gone."
We've been talking about social media. Even without social media, I feel like one of the things that whenever we compare ourselves to somebody else, and it could be we are above them or below them, it doesn't matter. If you start to compare yourself to them, that's when pride wells up. This is such a toxic poison in our culture. It's a toxic poison in me. I can feel better than or less than, but it's still a comparison and that is still pride within my heart. Let's talk about what you have seen with pride, even in your own life. Not to throw anybody else under the bus, but where have you seen this problem of pride in our circles, possibly in the business circles of real estate guys?
We see it on the national stage with our culture and our politics. We could look at that and go, "We know what the problem is there. That's a big pride problem." We can say it's a cultural problem and it's not a cultural phenomenon. We can see that and go, "That's a big problem." The pride in our hearts and the pride that we see when we compare to another family, church, or business person. "I can't believe they're doing that well. Why am I not doing as well as that guy? What does he have that I don't have?"
Vice versa. "I'm doing way better than them. I'm definitely not as bad as that dude."
We're crunching it.
"He treats his kids and wife terribly. Look at their marriage. We're doing way better than them."
Even this will creep up in your interpersonal relationship with your marriage and your wife. Sometimes as a man and a husband, I always have this mentor that asks me, "How are you doing in your marriage?" It's an 8 or a 9. "What would your wife say?" “Probably a four.”
You’re totally on different pages.
I had this conversation with my wife. I'm like, "We're doing great. We've got a great marriage. Everything's good." We're not comparing each other to other marriages. We just compare it to the ideal of meeting each other's needs and being humble. My argument would be, "We're not this couple. We're not that couple.” That red arrow target of pride that I took that human being, I reduced them to a comparison of, "At least we don't have all that going on." We got to jump. We've got stuff we got to work on. In the business world, this is where we always had this phenomenon, even before social media, of comparing ourselves to a gold standard in whatever entrepreneurship. There's always been that. Now, it's on steroids because people have their businesses and they post about them on Facebook.
Our business as well, we know a lot of the players. When you see them doing well, what's your attitude towards that? Even in your local market, I know all the guys in the local market. My attitude, I try to be happy for those guys. When they're winning, that's awesome. If I start losing or my business is not going well, and I see them post about whatever, the comparison train starts going down the tracks.
That has derailed me in the past. I'm like, "I got to figure out what it is those guys are doing that I'm not. What about me?" That's what happens, I believe. You got to guard against it with every man with your business or whatever job you're doing. I'm sure there are people that go to a job every day, and they do the same thing. They compare themselves to the guy in the next cubicle or somebody else in another mark. It's a struggle.
If you can focus on that, that is going to help you leaps and bounds if you can rid comparison from your life. It's so hard to do, but if you can pause and see it. If you can try to rid that from your life and practice all of this, the daily rhythms of humility is practice. It's waking up and giving it to the Lord and saying, "This day is yours. My life is yours. My business is yours. My family is yours. I'm a vessel and whatever you have with it." Start there, and then go throughout your day. If you can rid your life of comparison.
Here's one thing that I've struggled with. I think we constantly make excuses for not reading things. A lot of you guys can understand there is this struggle with social media. Every time I do get on social media, even if I say that I'm not going to, I'm like, "I'm going to post," which is probably a problem anyways that I'm even in it. I'm posting by making the excuse of, "I want to grow, I want people to know, and I want people to be aware. If I'm not part of social media, then I'm not going to grow." That's why I'm part of social media, and then that whole battle goes on. When I get on there, I start scrolling and I immediately always feel worse about myself afterwards because of this.
My question is, I want to rid my life of comparison. Do I need to rid the temptations that tempt me with comparison? Is that just my heart issue and I'm going to find another way to do it? I'm going to go to church and look at that guy over there and do the same things. Let's talk about that a little bit. Are there things that we should try to rid ourselves from the temptation of comparison?
My personal philosophy is what are my habits in regard to social media? How much time do I spend on it? The answer to that question is it's a combination of both. I can tell you that I struggle with the same thing. If I start scrolling and I'm ten minutes in, there is no way I feel better. There is no way I feel better about myself than ten minutes before, because it's natural to start comparing. Seeing what other people's going on in their lives, looking at them going on a vacation somewhere, and going, "I'd love to do that." How do you do that? It's like anything in life with discipline. What does the scripture talk about as far as your habits are concerned? It's what you want to do is the ten commandments. Let's go back to them.
If you view them as commandments, it's hard to listen to it. "I command you not to have any gods before me. Do not lie.” When we say to ourselves, "God is actually a little softer than this." If you do it this way, if you have no other gods before me, then life's going to go pretty well for you. You're going to be in tune with the Holy Spirit.” If we take that as a framework for some of the things that we do that we know that's harmful to us, then we can be a lot happier or a lot less prideful if we have rules against that our own personal rules that we make up.
I love that God is so creative enough in our lives that he gives us the creativity to make a vision for our life that's in line with him. If those things that we do every day are in alignment with him, then we're going to stay out of trouble. That's ultimately what we want to do. It's that, plus it's the heart issue. Are you asking yourself that difficult question about, "It's 9:00 at night and it's time to go to bed and fire up your iPad." Basically, everybody, I'm giving you an eye of what happens in Mike Stansbury's life. I'm giving you this example.
What's best to do right there? Is it scroll on social media, check in with your friends, and seeing how they're doing, or is there something better? In my mind, there's always something better, but that's hard. We get tired. Temptation's very easy to flow into when you're tired, when you're upset, or when you want a distraction. It's one of those things that awareness and deep connection with the Savior. Get in prayer. Replace it with, "God, the scripture says, 'Don't be anxious about anything.' If I'm starting to be anxious, I want a distraction."
That's what I want. I want a distraction from my anxiousness.
You want to numb the anxiousness. That's what I call it, at least. It could be anything. It could be work, scrolling, a beer, or some sort of numbing thing.
We don't want to deal with the root issue right away. We want to wait until it gets bad. It's never good.
We're talking about comparison. I would say there are things in your life that force you to compare. How can you pause? There are some things you need to get rid of, but the first thing is the root of the issue and the heart issue. If you don't work on the root, it's going to transfer over to something else. It's like people in their marriages. They have problems in their marriage and they're like, "It was that person. I'm not going to be with you anymore." They get divorced, and then they get remarried. The same things happen because they haven't dealt with their own root issues within their heart. Speaking to that guys then hear me, because Michael and myself, we're all struggling with this as well.
Andrew Murray is another author. He actually wrote a book in the 1800's that was about humility. One of my favorite books, if you guys get it, it's called Humility: The Beauty of Holiness. He said, "Basically, humility is essential to imitating Christ." As Christians, that is our ultimate goal. How can we live a life that looks a little bit more like Christ?
He says, "The humble man feels no jealousy or envy." That's first. "He can praise God when others are preferred and blessed before him. He can bear to hear others being praised and himself forgotten because, in God's presence, he has learned to say that 'I am nothing.' It's not less than. It's more 'I am a vessel.' If other people are praised, I'm going to celebrate."
One thing that I want the show is to be about, one of our core values, is humility. I believe that we're constantly comparing ourselves to other people. We're having some envy or jealousy, but I want to celebrate. What would it look like to live a life if Michael Stansbury succeeds or accomplishes something, I genuinely, not just, "I'm going to like your comment, but I feel crappy," genuinely celebrate with you or genuinely celebrate with other people. If I can get to that place and genuinely celebrate people's success and growth, that's another avenue of starting with humility. Do you want to talk about that, Michael, in your own life?
I love that quote. "The very essence to the dispositions, which prepares us for all that grace we'll do is nothing but a beginning of what grace seeks to accomplish." He said this about humility. It's a lifelong pursuit. That is one of the things that Jesus was doing while he was ministering to people. He would talk to people and forgive their sins. He would engage them and celebrate them as well. The model being Jesus Christ is this. Are we looking at what we're accomplishing, or are we genuinely looking at other people and what they're accomplishing? For some reason, I can't speak, but the accomplishments of other people, are we encouraging them in their pursuits?
I guarantee you that one of the things is if your eyes are on other people and you're genuinely affectionate for their wins, they know that. They also know if it's inauthentic, they know it. I know when somebody's glad-handing me just because it's the right thing to do. People know the genuine article and they know when you're encouraging people.
It's so good for us to be looking at others. You may even look at our children and do the opposite of exasperating them, which is encouraging them. I get so caught up sometimes in, "You're not doing this right." Am I focusing on those things they are doing and that they're honoring us, out in the marketplace and in your regular life, notice people? Jesus was a noticer. He noticed how people reacted. He knows everything about every human being, but when he engaged in relationships, he was the most authentic.
The model is, how do you begin to encourage somebody without thinking, "What can this do for me?" It's a practice. I see it in one particular individual. My father-in-law. He's somebody that's always encouraging and always willing to listen. I can say this after knowing the man for many years. Every time I engage him in conversation, he's focused on you, he's engaging in that conversation, and there's no distraction for him. I look at it like, "How is that possible?"
Does he have anything else to think about? That's awesome. Committed to being present is so cool.
He's not on social media. He's somebody that you would look at. You would see him on the street, not think anything of him, but then when he would see you, he'd be thinking about you. That's the difference. He's a phenomenal human being. The other thing about him, which is not ironic, is whenever I need a word, he's got that scripture right up here and he'll label that, "This is what this talks about. This is what the Lord wants you to hear." A deep knowledge scripture for somebody that wants to be truly humble.
I'm going to wrap up the show with this, Michael. This is from a book. This is probably one of my very favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis' book. I believe this actually came from Mere Christianity. It says, "Do not imagine that if you meet a humble man, he will be what most people call humble these days. He's not going to be a greasy person who's always telling you that he's a nobody. Probably, all you'll think about him is that he seemed cheerful. He was an intelligent person who took a real interest in what you had to say to him. If you do dislike him, it would be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility. He will not be thinking about himself at all."
That summed up. I brought that up when you started talking about your father-in-law that if you saw him on the street, you wouldn't think much about him, but he would think a lot about you. That's awesome. As we talked about humility, this is a deep topic. This is a lifelong pursuit. If we can all daily go a little bit deeper into humility, this does not come natural. Can you look to rid some of the comparison from your life? Learn to celebrate other people's successes. Learn to look not to your own interests, but the other interests of other people. Come from the Philippians. Do nothing out of selfish ambition. If we can learn to do that and become more like Christ, this is going to be an amazing journey and an amazing venture of life. Thank you, Michael, for being on the show. Love you. We'll see you guys soon.
Love you, too.