The Power of Intellectual Humility, an essay by Eranda Jayawickreme Ph.D. reprinted from the book Radical Humility: Essays on Ordinary Acts (Belt Publishing 2021), was published by Psychology Today on April 13, 2022.
The book, a collection of articles that explores the salience of humility within our current social and cultural contexts and examines the ways in which humility can affect social and institutional change, is edited by Stamps Professor Rebekah Modrak and U‑M Librarian for Art & Design Jamie Vander Broek.
I take particular joy when strangers ask me what I do for a living. I always give them the same answer: I study happiness. They usually find this hilarious and tell me either that it suits my personality (a compliment?) or ask me what the keys to happiness are (I usually go with having close relationships, or not sweating the small stuff).
However, if I’m being honest, I’m not telling them the whole truth about what I study, which is how we can live good lives. That is — how we can live lives of happiness, meaning, and purpose by successfully overcoming the challenges, failures, and adversity that are defining features of our lives, and how can we successfully develop into the best version of ourselves.
The good life is not simply about feeling happy, but also doing things of value, feeling some control over your life, and figuring out what’s true about our world. These days, I tend to think that perhaps the most important key to living well is the ability to see and understand both yourself and the world for what it really is. This means having: a) an accurate sense of oneself, and b) insight into what we can and cannot control.
The Power of Intellectual Humility | Psychology Today