The Emerging Scholars Network has been doing a series on spiritual wisdom for those in academia. A recent article highlighted growing in humility. The author, Johnny Lin, notes how much self-importance and pride can affect those of us in academia:
A major “spiritual occupational hazard” for an academic is thinking too much of yourself. This can show itself as pride and arrogance . . . or finding yourself unable to understand the students in a class you’ve taught one too many times.
He goes on to highlight that
The traditional antidote to pride has been humility. For an academic, C.S. Lewis’s view of humility as a kind of “self-forgetfulness” is particularly helpful: Do I rejoice in another’s accomplishments no more (or less) than if it were my own (or if it were a phenomena of nature)?
What that looks like in practice is different for everyone, but as Lin notes, it probably involves at least some of the following:
- Don’t find your sole/primary identity in our job;
- Take a Sabbath as it reminds us that the world can function without us and that it’s not on the basis of our efforts that we succeed;
- “Purposely pursue and embrace mystery in some area of life.”
- Trust God for every aspect of your career.