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11.16.18

Leading Views: Humility is the X-factor in Great Leaders

Humility is X Factor

Leading ViewsIn The Punk Rock of Business, Jeremy Dale stresses the importance of humility not only to distinguish yourself but also because it is an accelerator of success. He states that “the ability to keep a sense of humility is probably the single biggest lesson” included in his book. He shares this example of humility:
Shigeru Miyamoto is arguably the greatest video game designer, developer, and producer in history. He has worked for Nintendo since 1977. Miyamoto has helped create some of the greatest and most enduring franchises of all time, including Super Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, and the Wii series of games.

Miyamoto is a very genuine and authentic human being. During my time working with Nintendo, he would occasionally agree to an interview with the British gaming press, and I would sit next to him in those meetings. It was like being in the presence of royalty. He commanded such respect from everyone who knew his work. Quite simply, he is a genius, but you could never be near him without also becoming aware of his deep sense of humility and care for humanity.

In 1998, Miyamoto was honored as the first person inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame. A conversation that occurred immediately after the ceremony and which was later recounted to me sums up Miyamoto in my eyes.

Miyamoto understood English to a limited extent, so when engaging with English speakers he would always be accompanied by a translator, and he would almost always default to his mother tongue. Just after the ceremony, a man and his son approached Miyamoto to congratulate him on the award.

“Mr. Miyamoto, many congratulations on the award. My twelve-year-old son is a big video games player—what tips do you have for him?”

The translator started to translate the question, but Miyamoto stopped him—he had understood. He then reached for a piece of paper and a pencil. He wrote something on the paper, folded it up, and passed it to the boy, rather than the father.

The boy opened the piece of paper and read the message. His eyes lit up, and then he looked up at Miyamoto and beamed a huge smile.

Miyamoto had written this simple message: “Play outside on sunny days.” I absolutely believe that was his number one lesson about video games.

To me, this summed up this amazing gentleman. He never lost sight of the place his inventions should have in this world. He always showed a huge amount of humility and humanity. I think it takes someone special to encourage people not to use their products at every opportunity. It also shows a level of confidence and contentment with who you are and what you do.


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Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:17 PM
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