I'd like to think, eight years ago, I was pretty humble and modest. But I think, with each year, you get more modest, more humble, more appreciative. The off the field tragedies put things in better perspective, but life happens to everybody, and I think we all just try to do the best we can.
He was the meekest of his sex, the mildest of little men. He sidled in and out of a room, to take up the less space. He walked as softly as the Ghost in Hamlet, and more slowly. He carried his head on one side, partly in modest depreciation of himself, partly in modest propitiation of everybody else.
It must be splendid to command millions of people in great national ventures, to lead a hundred thousand to victory in battle. But it seems to me greater still to discover fundamental truths in a very modest room with very modest means - truths that will still be foundations of human knowledge when the memory of these battles is painstakingly preserved only in the archives of the historian.
The lesson here is that high expectations can be counter-productive. We probably can do more to affect the quality of our lives by controlling our expectations than we can by doing virtually anything else. The blessing of modest expectations is that they leave room for many experiences to be a pleasant surprise, a hedonic plus. The challenge is to find a way to keep expectations modest, even as actual experiences keep getting better.
Think that you are part of a big construction called science and you are not just a chemist but you are scientist. Be modest but proud. Modest because you know you will not be able to solve other problems because your life is too short. But be proud because you are contributing to it. Some people will bring a small stone to the building and some people will bring a big one but nevertheless no one can take that stone away from you.
Ambitions for self may be quite modest. . . . Ambitions for God, however, if they are to be worthy, can never be modest. There is something inherently inappropriate about cherishing small ambitions for God. How can we ever be content that he should acquire just a little more honour in the world? No. Once we are clear that God is King, then we long to see him crowned with glory and honour, and accorded his true place, which is the supreme place. We become ambitious for the spread of his kingdom and righteousness everywhere.