Mark Cuban didn't use the word "humble" to describe the middle school reporter who gave him the best interview he had done in "a long, long time." Rather, in his blog Cuban describes the kid's questions as short, simple and to-the-point, implying that perhaps the grown-up reporters who frequently interview him can be long-winded.
Here's the boy's request:
Dear Mr. Cuban,
My name is Mauricio Vazquez. Today you visited Medrano Middle School to talk to over 100 business students (thank you by the way). I'm a reporter for the school newspaper and we would be incredibly thankful if you could answer a few questions for an interview. If you choose to do so, the segment would be featured in the April issue. Please answer the following questions in however many words you feel is enough and send it to Mrs. Hopkins.
He then asks about things such as "What's the one word you are guilty of using too often?" and "Who is the last person who called or texted you?" (Cuban's answers: "Right" and sports agent David Falk.)
Cuban is correct, they're simple queries. But I'd also characterize Vazquez's approach as humble. His request is polite, deferential and respectful of Cuban's time in that it's not too long. He also doesn't spend a word of it on self-promotion, or trying to convince Cuban to acquiesce to his request. And the billionaire who interacts with business icons and basketball stars every day found the whole thing refreshing.
Many people could do well to emulate the young reporter's humility. Here are a handful of reasons why those who have a modest view of their own importance have an edge when it comes to getting ahead in business and life.
1. Humble people are less likely to be talking.
Instead, they're more likely to be listening, present in the moment and building quality relationships.
2. Humble people are more likely to ask for help.
Nobody knows everything and most people don't have access to absolutely all the resources they need. Be smart and take a hand up, whether it means asking for advice, mentoring or money.
3. Humble people are more likeable.
Are the braggarts and chest thumpers of the world your favorite people? True humility lends itself to authenticity, which is universally appealing. And with likeability comes a wider network of connections, which certainly can lead to success.
4. Humble people aren't doormats but helpers.
They have a genuine interest in helping others, behavior that tends to come back around. People who put themselves first, however, can't expect reciprocity in an hour of need.
5. Humble people are geared for greater innovation.
It's because they are able to consider viewpoints that may be different from their own, a requirement for innovation. "It is essential to employ, trust, and reward those whose perspective, ability, and judgment are radically different from yours," advised Dee Hock, founder and former CEO of the Visa credit card association. "It is also rare, for it requires uncommon humility, tolerance, and wisdom."
What other character traits do you feel are most important in achieving success? I'd love to read your thoughts in the comments.