The strongest and most brilliant individuals I know have two things in common. The first is they are kind. Always going out of their way to help others. The second is they are humble. Always bringing their accomplishments down to earth.
One thing I have noticed however is that there seems to be a tendency for people to not want to practice this humility because they believe it makes them look weak. Many of the people I observe who are the most arrogant and over-achieving individuals tend to have a deep insecurity that haunts them. They are afraid of being humiliated.
Look, I get it. I come from a military family where humility is hard to come by until the mission is accomplished. One of the main drivers of results is humiliation in the military. You’ve likely seen the tropes of drill sergeants yelling at privates and exposing their deepest insecurities to motivate in achieving more.
The smart-asses in a company during bootcamp might boast about their dick size to which the drill sergeant might tell them to spit it out because it isn’t theirs. Or even while on a PT run, the instructor might see someone breathing heavily and tell them to stop breathing so hard as they are stealing air from the rest of society.
Living in this culture, you learn to shut up really quick and follow orders. That your best chance of not being humiliated is to show how competent you are while communicating the bare minimum needed to be successful.
You become the trope speculative fiction competent hero or peak man. You’re a polymath who can do everything. To quote Robert Heinlein in Time Enough for Love:
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyse a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
The competent hero doesn’t need to explain how they can do everything or how they acquired their skills. The competent hero has these two main characteristics of being kind and humble. Take Batman for example. He’s the only superhero part of the Justice League that has no super powers. But he is depicted as having achieved peak-human abilities. Nobody really knows how he did this, and we surely know the money cannot buy it.
Batman is the only justice leaguer to know the shadows of every competent hero and how to neutralize them if needed. He is the only one who has a contingency plan if another leaguer were to use their powers for evil, be mind-controlled, or abuse them in anyway. Batman is not immune to the truth. That the pursuit of truth leads him to realize we are all fools whether we like it or not.
Yet there are constant debates over the competent man. That one should specialize and unleash their true potential to the world. That the component man is the “absolute Johannes Factotum” or in contemporary English, the “jack of all trades, master of none”. This is where I think many people are wrong.
The strongest character archetype is the competent man. The competent man is an avatar of many notable mature character archetypes. They are the king, the warrior, the magician, the lover. They embrace the four classic elements of earth, fire, air, and water. They have conquered their shadow and made it their greatest teacher. They continue to help their soul remember why they are here. They then become the messenger to others and help guide them through life.
The competent man knows that humiliation is a symptom of an inflated ego. They learn to deflate their ego so their soul can shine on. They know that they are apart of something bigger on this planet. And they know that to be apart of that change, they must think of everyone as equals.