Golfer Jack Nicklaus beat polio as a boy to become a champion.
Today, though he holds the record for the number of major tournaments won, he remains humble.
Bob Greene, a commentator for CNN and author of the book “Late Edition: A Love Story,” discussed the Nicklaus way of golf – and life – in an April 4, 2014, column in The Wall Street Journal.
Greene says Nicklaus’ theory for golf and life is to do your best, and everything else will take care of itself. He points out that Nicklaus played in the era of Muhammed Ali and Joe Namath, two athletes known for declaring their own greatness and predicting unpredictable victories.
Nicklaus, though, preferred to let other people declare his greatness, Greene says.
Humility is a scarce character trait in people today. Many who rise to power often tell us of their greatness, even before it is achieved. We need more people who don’t just act before they speak, but prefer not to speak at all. Their actions say all that needs to be said.
They may, or may not, object to having others verbalize their greatness. But they see themselves as a person just doing what he loves, or doing what he believes he was created to do – quietly.
It’s been said that one should put his money where his mouth is. Or, one should walk the walk if he talks the talk. Namath and Ali did that, but Nicklaus did it as he remained quiet.
Humble people don’t talk the talk. They just walk the walk. They put their money where it belongs, not near their mouths.
They give and get, and never take. They do their thing without expectation, though they expect much from themselves quietly.
Have you ever had a bombastic boss? How did he treat you, his employee? Did he take a lot from you, while giving you little? Did he make you feel as if he were doing you a favor by employing you? Did you feel that he was more comfortable being served, than serving?
We all have the ability to gain wealth and/or power. How we get it says as much, or more, about a person as the achievement itself.
Humble people accomplish things quietly, yet openly. They accomplish things honestly and give generously. They favor the accomplishment itself, and what it can do for others, rather than what it can do for them. They don’t talk of greatness. They Just Do It, to quote the Nike slogan – and do for others.
Do you consider yourself humble? Do you have goals that you don’t talk about with others, but hold deep inside? Are you genuinely kind to others, and eager to do for others, even when no one is watching?
If so, and are looking for a way to put that genuine goodness to use, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You may find the best thing you can do to help others, and perhaps achieve what you’d like for yourself.
Successful people do more and talk less. Like Nicklaus, they take life one shot at a time. Then, go to the next shot. They do their best each time, all the time. They always give credit to others. As Greene put it, Nicklaus believed his major tournament record would have been broken by now. But, at age 74, he still leads in the clubhouse.


It’s normal for a pope to re-enact the scene of Jesus washing the feet of those he serves.
Pope Francis took a different tack this year during Holy Week. He washed the feet of inmates.
The new pope is going out of his way to show humility.
He is shunning the trappings of Vatican life, i.e. gold crosses and riding in the “Pope mobile.”
He is showing servant leadership in a big way, just as Christ did in his time.
More of today’s leaders need to SERVE those they lead. They need to have the three main ingredients to good leadership: humility, integrity and generosity.
They don’t necessarily have to wash the feet of those who work with them. But their goals should be in line with the goals of those they lead. Anyone can give orders. Anyone can tell someone else that they don’t like something they did. But if they can’t HELP the person achieve what is necessary for THAT PERSON’S success, they just become people with power over others.
Power and leadership are not the same. Leaders may know what power they have, but rarely, if ever, exercise it. They feel their job is to help people realize their own potential. They believe their goals should not be self-centered, for they know their success will occur if they just help others succeed.
Leaders also know the difference between authority and influence. One’s authority can influence others, but others just feel compelled to follow. When one has influence, others WILLINGLY follow him and his advice. True leaders lead by example, not by order.
The pope is not just a religious leader. He is the equivalent of a head of state. Pope Francis prefers to be recognized as the archbishop of Rome, not as a “head of state.” He believes his job is to serve the poorest of the poor, not have the poor serve him.
One need not be a Catholic to admire the shining example the new pope is showing not only to the public in general, but also to other leaders. Those who aspire to be leaders need to look at his example, not the example of those whose goals are self-centered.
True respect is never commanded. One should never expect respect. One must always do things that earn respect. Of course, one must carry on whether or not he gets respect from everyone. There will always be people who will never respect you. But true leaders set a path of service, without regard of self, or popular opinion. They work to help others. Then, as the world goes, good things come to them.
Leadership is attitude. True leaders may have aspired to be such, but, once in the position, never presume reward. They create self-reward by helping others. Deeds rule. Words – inspiring words – are just a tool.

If you aspire to leadership, ask yourself whether you want to be more like Pope Francis, or more like, say, a corporate titan consumed only by his own bottom line. Are you happiest when helping others, or when others are helping you, while under your duress?
If you aspire to be a servant leader, yet don’t know how best to go about it, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. That may provide the vehicle that will help you help the most people in the biggest way.
Of course, leadership is daily action. Are you doing all that you do sincerely, thinking of others first? If not, try it. You may find it refreshingly rewarding. When others around you succeed, you will succeed too. The more you help them, the more they will succeed. The more they succeed, the more rewards will come your way.


He didn’t suffer fools gladly.
That’s an old expression with biblical origins that is used to describe a person who didn’t tolerate well those who he thought were fools – or at least not as smart, as informed or as well-versed as he.
To many, this is an honorable trait, as New York Times columnist David Brooks points out. But, as Brooks says, good manners permit one to suffer fools gladly.
Manners have gotten a bad rap over the years, just as political correctness has.
Brooks points out that when someone who doesn’t suffer fools gladly humiliates someone, he can look to be the bigger fool.
Let’s take it a step further. Suppose you worked for someone who did not suffer fools gladly. How would you feel when he didn’t show the necessary patience as you were learning your job? Sometimes, the fool you don’t suffer gladly is merely someone who disagrees with you. We’ve seen in Washington, D.C., in recent times, how not suffering fools gladly can actually prevent things from getting done.
Speaking of Washington, D.C., Maureen Dowd, another New York Times columnist, pointed out the differences between President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Biden relishes negotiating deals on Capitol Hill, while the president has little patience for it, Dowd says. Apparently, the president does not suffer fools gladly, if Dowd’s assessment is correct. Biden, on the other hand, loves to.
It’s been said that good people have three characteristics, among many. They have humility, integrity and generosity. Perhaps one can have integrity and not suffer fools gladly. But it would be difficult to be humble and generous, and not suffer fools gladly.
It’s OK to be confident. It’s certainly OK, even desirable, to think well of yourself – on the inside. But being humble means you don’t flaunt that confidence by making others feel less worthy. You do your thing well, and give others credit.
Being generous means that you are blessed to have what you have, and are willing to share with those who may not have what you have. The more you give, the more you get in most situations.
Go back to the employer-employee relationship. A humble, generous employer with integrity is someone everyone would want to work for. He shows patience with the employee when needed. He appreciates the efforts his employees give him. He generously pays for those efforts. He realizes that without those employees, he would not be where he is. Because of his integrity, he always does the right thing, regardless of the effect on him.
He realizes his employees may not know as much as he does, because they are not in position to know. But they are not fools to be suffered.
He is not just being polite, and showing good manners by being humble, generous and having integrity. He’s being a good business person and a great employer. Those characteristics greatly improve his chances of success.
He also believes that his success depends on how much he helps others succeed. If you are a humble, generous person with integrity, and have the desire to help others like you succeed, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. That could be the vehicle to fulfill your dream of helping others, thus helping yourself.
It takes many to make a world. It’s OK to know something that someone else doesn’t know. Just don’t be afraid to share what you know. Share it with humility, integrity and generosity. Suffer “fools” gladly, then give them credit for accomplishments. If you don’t, you could look like the bigger fool.