06/28/2012 05:14 pm ET

What Is It To Be Intellectually Humble?

We human beings are seekers. We seek love, wealth, security, power, happiness, and recognition. We also seek knowledge. Aristotle said, “All people by nature desire to know.” The desire to know can be very ambitious, like that of the scientists who sought to solve the structure of the DNA molecule, or rather modest. It can be enormously satisfying to know and understand things. What does it take to have intellectual success—to come to know and understand something challenging? Well, you need some raw intelligence and memory, and you need to work hard and persevere when it doesn’t come easily. You’ll be better off if you’re surrounded by learned people and have enough leisure and resources to support your inquiries.

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