s169 Humility is a compound emotion – robust and effective at the same time

The term humility sounds old-fashioned, but its individual, situation-specific and general meaning is diverse, polarizing, misleading and contaminated.

Humility ranges from the sovereign serenity and respect to grant topics appropriate time and participation, to accept the unchangeable in order to create space for change, to devotional submissive behavior.

Humility, however, is a composite emotion. As a neurological emotional structure (biology) it moves and influences decisions and behaviour.

The accompanying feeling is individually. It can occur both before mindful influence and after the effect has occurred. Humility – like any emotion – can initiate a coherent view of the world, such as thoughts or memories, in emotive-cognitive circuits. Values are usually not accessible to the conscious and are a significant influencing factor in ratings, decisions, perception, memories and actions.

Figure01 – Values guide action

Humility is a robust and effective emotion (anxiety appropriate, disgust low, anger low, guilt low, shame low).

There is little risk of both under- and over-exceeding concerns for security combined with low level of influence, except that favourable opportunities may be missed.

Figure02: Leading with humility is robust

However, sovereign executives make conscious decisions with emotional, intuitive and cognitive intelligence (KiE-Q). They act primarily with functional anxiety and anger, with mindful and powerful influence.


December 2019, Richard Graf und Elsa Graf

„Humility is a compound emotion – robust and effective at the same time.”


GRAF, Richard. Die neue Entscheidungskultur: Mit gemeinsam getragenen Entscheidungen zum Erfolg. Carl Hanser Verlag München 2018.


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