Modesty vs. Humility

Today I’m happy to share a guest blog from a wonderful Chicago-based musician, James Abud. James is a deep thinker and a profoundly funny (or is it comically profound) performer. The other day he posted on Facebook a brief comment on the difference between modesty and humility, and I asked him to elaborate here. Enjoy!

Modesty is downplaying one’s own abilities with the intention of not appearing to be a self absorbed person.

Downplaying. One’s. Abilities.

I’m an exceptional musician. I had an impossible time telling people that. I wanted to appear humble. All my heroes were humble. Despite their incredible abilities, every person whose music I admired had it in them to step back and recognize the greatness that surrounded them. They were and are humble. I was modest.

Modest thinking is hidden arrogance. It’s saying “Naahhh, I’m not all that great” over and over again. Then starting to believe it. It’s fishing for compliments. In the pursuit of music, that thinking will not do. It stops you.

“There’s a lot of greatness in the world and I am part of that” will send you to the practice room.

Be part of the greatness. It’s more respectful to the discipline of music for you to be outspoken and share your skills than for you to shrink away and hide your greatness. That respect is humility. Be humble.

JAMES ABUD is a composer-performer and Detroit native who currently resides in Chicago. He teaches strings at Guitar Center Studios where his mantra is “Technique, Sensibility, Discipline, Clarity, Honesty”. He performs regularly in a one-man show entitled “Abud: A Bard” which features his unique brand of original theater-folk and geek-manouche-jazz and various other genres mushed together like musical goulash. He is mostly beard.


“All you nerd is love!”