Humility is the new black – the skill you should “spark” to be successful in 2020

It almost seems an oxymoron. Can “success” and “humility” co-exist in the same sentence and reasoning?

Of course, they can! If you are humble, ambitious, but you also care a lot about what you do and how you do it, you know that this is a key trait that will help you to grow within your career and become always a better version of yourself.

Let’s do a small assertive exercise, and put ourselves in the recruiters’ shoes.

If you were a recruiter what is the skill to look for in your search for the “perfect candidate“?

The point is… Is the idea of the ideal candidate still something that recruiters are looking for in such uncertain and volatile times? Does a person need to match certain skills to be successful in various life aspects?

Let’s explore some universal and simple concepts.


In love, there is no such thing as the perfect match anymore. People are unique and they have completely different needs/goals in life, therefore the key criteria to choose the other half is so subjective that talking about the “perfect match” is very obsolete and old fashioned nowadays.

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What about friendship?

In friendship, nobody is selecting their “companions” based on specific characteristics, affinity happens with no premeditated reasons.

And these are just a few quite obvious examples.

In a nutshell, I don’t think the concept of the ideal candidate is valid anymore, that’s why recruiters shouldn’t look for specific skills to put together the pieces of a perfect match, but, maybe, some personal traits might help throughout the search.

For me, the answer is crystal clear. My top priority, in such fluid and challenging times, would be to look for a person “who sparks humility“, as the resourceful Marie Kondo would say.


Here are a few points why I think a person who wants to be successful in life and at work should “spark” humility:

Humility is a regenerative source of continuous improvement

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This personal trait it’s like a constant wind moving the gears of our brain. Every time we look for new things to learn, we put ourselves in “humility mode“. We won’t certainly become “field experts” overnight, but humility will trigger a continuous mechanism of improvement where the more we learn, the more we want to know about the subject.

If we are humble enough to always look for self-improvement, this thirst for knowledge won’t be easily consumed in a heartbeat, but it will automatically self-regenerate.

And this is particularly important today, things are changing so quickly that we can’t stand still, but we should always look for ways to self-improve and learn new things.

Humility pushes people to use problem-solving to overcome boundaries

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Humble people don’t have a lot of preconceptions.

They see the world as a green field of experimentation. No limits or boundaries can’t stop them. Their positive attitude brings them to trial workarounds or test different alternatives to overcome problems. And if the first solution didn’t work, they move quickly onto the next one.

A humble person is usually an amazing leader

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What does leadership look like in 2020?

There is no unique answer to this question, but one thing is certain to me… a leader is a humble person who:

  • looks for constructive feedback
  • don’t always think that his/her opinion is the best among others
  • reaches out to experts for help
  • believes in “empiricism
  • uses agile ways of working to experiment with new ideas
  • is flexible and values collaboration
  • respects others and appreciates their contribute
  • is in favor of “shared understanding” and, as a consequence, doesn’t believe in “silos

Being humble helps to be resilient even in the darkest moments

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Humility is a synonym of resiliency and hard work. They are the only things that can help during dark moments.

Trying every time a different approach, method, technique guides us to navigate better in agitated waters. That’s why humility is so crucial, now more than ever, especially in a work environment, where we need to be quite open and flexible to defeat uncertainty.

And what about you? What skill do you think we should develop to become a superior version of ourselves in 2020? Do you “spark” humility?

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