How to be a superior man – What is true nobility?

How to be a superior man – What is true nobility?

It was Ernest Hemingway that said:

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

The word noble can be used in different arenas to mean different things. The old idea of nobility was something that one was born into or connected with a high military rank. Nobility was not something that everyone could achieve.
The playing field has been levelled in the 21st century, and even people born in mud huts in third world countries can achieve nobility.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the definition of noble as “possessing outstanding qualities”.
Now, wouldn’t that be nice…to possess outstanding qualities!
To possess outstanding qualities we must first know what it is we want and then go ahead and work towards it. Through cultivation of the self, we then come to possess these qualities.
It’s really about raising our standards in each area of life and then continue to raise our standards. I remember many years ago when I first started listening to Tony Robbins audios, he would say, “if you want to change your life then you must raise your standards.” 
It seemed a little abstract to me at the time and I would have preferred a step 1, step 2, step 3 approach, but sometimes there is a great value in receiving abstract information and ideas, because then we get to use our own intelligence and creativity to come up with the answers ourselves and then we have wisdom as opposed to only knowledge.
I came to understand that the fastest way to raise your standards is to put yourself in the company of those that already have higher standards than you. I looked back on my life thus far and saw that I had been doing that anyway, and any quality or skill I wanted to acquire, I simply had to spend time with those that already possessed it.
How did Thomas Edison become the most famous inventor of all time? Well it wasn’t from extra education or a high attendance at school, because he only went to public school for 3 months before his mother pulled him from it to homeschool instead. he was deemed a hyperactive and difficult child in school. These days he would have been diagnosed with ADHD and given Ritalin, which causes brain damage over time.
Anyway that’s another story for another time…but Thomas Edison became a great inventor by spending time with other scientists and inventors from the age of 13. When you spend time with people that are operating at a much higher level than you, it can be uncomfortable and insecurities will abound. But what will happen if you stick with it, is that you, yourself, as if by magic, start to raise up to their level.
The self belief that they have starts to permeate into your very cells. The habits that they have start to become your habits and the way that they think starts to become your way of thinking. You start to see that they are not so different than you after all. Nobility rubs off!
There is a saying that states: “If you are the smartest person in the room then you are in the wrong room.”
I have personally circumnavigated the globe many times over to ensure that I am in the same room as the smartest people in the world at whatever it is I wish to learn or emulate. Yes, it has been uncomfortable at times and I have been humbled many times, sometimes feeling like a baby learning to walk, but that is the price that one has to pay and the rewards far outweigh the discomfort. In fact discomfort is a gift because then you know that you are growing!
With appreciation,
Matthew Armstrong
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