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This column was written more than five years ago. It was true then. It is even truer today as my awareness increases and years shorten.

In the beginning, there was a sperm and there was an egg — two distinct biological entities. Neither has a function without the other. When the sperm and the egg relinquish their individual identities and merge, they form something spectacular — a human being.

This is our first clue of life's true purpose. Nine months later, a child joins us. A mother and father learn to subjugate their own needs and raise this new child. Parents humble themselves to their new and higher purpose.

Joining, merging, relinquishing and letting go...all contain life's key ingredient: humility.

It is only through humility that we are able to rise to our truest and highest potential. Here are five admirable human behaviors that require humility:

1. Generosity. If I believe that what I have is mine and mine alone, then why should I share it with anyone else? They can get their own. But if I believe that everything I have, even when I work for it, is a gift and a blessing, then the world is a more connected and hospitable place. If we are all connected, then what I have is not actually only mine, is it? Giving then becomes easier and more natural.

2. Love. For me to love you, I have to humble myself to you. I have to see you, learn about you, accept you, hold you and forgive you. If I am the central figure, there can be no love. When I make you as important as I make myself, then love has a chance. From situation to situation, the I-You balance must shift to accommodate our fluctuating circumstances. Too much You can be as damaging to love as too much I.

3. Excellence. For a person to pursue and achieve excellence of any kind, he or she must engage in at least two aspects of humility. The first is to accept there is always room to improve. The second is to ask for help. Find a coach, teacher or mentor. The best in any arena only go so far on their own.

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4. Gratitude. Humility is at the core of gratitude. I am thankful. I am appreciative. I could not have done this without you. I am grateful for the air I breathe. I thank every farmworker who brings food to my table. Without the support from untold numbers of people, who would I be?

5. Peace. If I need to prevail, there will be no peace. If you need to prevail, there will be no peace. Only when we each relinquish our need to prevail can there ever be peace.

One is much bigger than two.

Blessings on our ever shrinking, ever expanding journeys!

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