Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $38,470 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

St. Bernard’s Thoughts on Humility, Applied to Business

By Peter Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Mar 08, 2010

When you make it a point in life to think about sound business principles and to think about sound spiritual principles, you are bound to notice obvious correlations.

As many readers know, I have been rereading In the Steps of Humility by St. Bernard of Clairvaux. This small book introduces a great principle: before you can ascend the steps of humility to true charity, you must come to acknowledge and understand all of your failings, i.e., to know yourself. You then purify yourself, and move to help others in charity (out of new-found compassion).

This is also true of business—in that sustainable upward growth is only really possible through a mindset of honest self-examination resulting in true self-knowledge and positive transformation. It is from this point that you build strengths that you can deliver to the market.

In the spiritual life, if you stray too far away from a humble mindset, you descend into pride and must relearn the truth about yourself in order to regain direction and positive motion on the path to heaven. In the business world, complacency and/or arrogance towards the market will eventually result in a setback—and similar restorative efforts will need to take place in order to regain proper direction.

In October 2009 I wrote an article called “Know Thyself (a Painful Process)”, which states that in business you must have the humility to see yourself through the eyes of the market/customer. I was reminded of that principle forcefully in reading St. Bernard.

All business leaders, even in a “business of one”, need to ask themselves: “Do I really know (or want to know) what is thought of my company (or myself) by partners, peers, customers, employees, etc.?” Keeping in tune with accurate viewpoints from others, however difficult, is key to maintaining the humility and respect necessary to have long-term success.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($125,848 to go):
$150,000.00 $24,151.70
84% 16%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal 3 hours ago
Has the Vatican finally discovered how to avoid inaccurate English translations? 7 hours ago
The Synod: It's a Wrap! 24 hours ago
A chaotic synod? Not in its results October 21
Cardinal Kasper's unsubtle threat October 21

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6