The power of humility (Life is about learning)

A couple of days ago, this article written by Lotte Karolina Gabrovits – “The power of passion, the” – made me go back a few years in time. A time before I joined the Institute of Masters of Wine. A time when I thought I knew a lot about wine. Well, it didn’t take me long to find that that I was wrong. Very wrong!

Plato in “Republic” said that the speed that the universe (of knowledge) expands is much faster than our ability to grow our own knowledge (from the dark of ignorance to the light of knowledge…). I other words, I thought my knowledge of wine was big enough to know most of what there was to know about it (imagine that “wine knowledge” was for me only one big room). However, the challenge I face everyday trying to learn about wine is that a keep finding new rooms… opening new doors to realities that I didn’t even know existed… and now I feel an urge to know more about these “new” things that I find on my road as a student of the Institute. The result is that my universe expanded exponentially (remember, my wine universe was only that big room), but my knowledge has grown incomparably little and the result is that I feel that I know much less now… even after 5 years of intense studies. A paradox? not really. I may know much more now than a few years ago, but the reality is that proportionally (of what there is to know) I know infinitely less.

So, where is the link with Lotte’s article? Very simple: I was making another mistake by imaging that only the rule of “the more you know, the less you know” applied only to wine (and, of course, other fields that people are people are passionate about). And again… I was wrong, very wrong!

Let me explain.

The power of passion” made me realize something truly important: I value knowledge as one of the most important things during the short time we spend on Planet Earth. Life is REALLY about learning! (that includes learning to love, and that happiness should be a goal in life)
And yes, I feel that I’m working hard to fulfill this mission of making a great effort to live this life after learning as much as I can about the things I’m passionate about. However, am I learning the right things? Apparently not. The humility that Lotte showed to all of us is not something that I had learned… at all… When she asked for my vote, all I could see (or, what my very present competitive side could see) was a competition that we – the #winelover community – had to win and we were going to work hard to make it happen. By the time she decided to post the letter, she was on the lead to win the competition but, according to her own words, “this is not feeling right” and so she decided to show us that someone so young (she is 24) can see things that most of us can’t. As far as I’m concerned, I’ll try to see things from this perspective the next time the opportunity arises. It takes a lot of character to not fall into those traps of “power and glory” and say something like this “Ok… I’m receiving many votes in this competition… but, to be honest, the most important thing is not the number of votes people are casting for me, as I certainly do not deserve the title of this competition.” I’m trying to remember really hard if I would be able to go in this direction with something that I had a real shot to win (and be famous) when I was only 24 and I’m pretty sure I would go for the win. And what would you have done? Same as me? The reason I ask is because I feel that I could be Lotte’s father and I’m just “playing the proud dad” and what she’s done is something very common and most kids her age would have done the same…

I don’t see that happening very often and I’m very proud to have her as my friend (or, as my “adopted daughter”, if you will), but perhaps it’s just me failing to see the world with someone else’s eyes… Either way, there’s so much I need to learn about life…

Anyway, this is how she finished her letter: “And then again, thank you so much for all the support! I have no words to express my gratitude… but if you allow me to ask for one more favor, it would be: If we really have to make a choice, please give your vote to Dr. Mészáros Gabriella. She is the one who truly deserves this title.”

And I will finish mine in a similar fashion: Lotte, thank you very much for this beautiful lesson. Humility is a precious gift you have. But if I can ask you one favor… it would be: Please let us vote for you as well. You explained very clearly why Dr. Mészáros Gabriella deserves to win… and I respect that. But I think I have some good news: The system on Facebook allows the voter to chose more than one person…and I believe that someone so humble like you also deserves our votes as well!

If you agree with the things I said, please vote for both Dr. Mészáros Gabriella and Lotte Karolina. I’m sure Lotte wouldn’t be disappointed with that! :)

If you are on Facebook, you can use this link to vote:


Luiz Alberto, #winelover

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4 Responses to The power of humility (Life is about learning)

  1. Wendelin P. December 28, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    Luiz I am deeply impressed! Congratulation to your thoughts. Your light is going to light lighter,…..! If I may judge? Or only if I take what I feel reading that into consideration.

  2. Mark Buckley December 28, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Great article! Keep up the good work

  3. Luiz March 17, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    Thank you very much Wendelin and Mark! Cheers!

  4. Joel Dalla Vecchia May 30, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    Caro Luiz,
    a vida tem mesmo muito de aprendizado continuo.
    Hoje pela manha, antes de ler o artigo da Sra. Lote, tive um momento em que, sem motivo aparente, refleti sobre aprendizado. E nessa linha lembrei de um fato de muitos anos atraz em que voce me alertou de eu estar saindo da “linha boa” no que se refere a relacionamento. Eu havia enviado uma mensagem para um de nossos contatos, no velho tempo de vendas da Golbet/GBP, em que eu dizia mais ou menos assim “confirm if it is true” referente o que um broker de Miami havida me informado anteriormente. Era um caso de entrega de mercadorias que eu e voce nao estávamos conseguindo confirmacao para repassar ao cliente.
    Voce entao me disse, “Joel, será que era a melhor maneira de falar? Acho que voce foi pegou muito pesado. Voce foi para destripar o cara. Pense melhor nas proximas pois voce vai precisar novamente desta pessoa e nao sei como ela vai interpretar isso, talvez fique dificil contar com ela novamente”.
    Foi a licao. Veio na hora oportuna. Veio de uma forma corajosa sua de tocar no assunto (eu era mais trucão. Nao que agora tenha mudado tanto…). Evoluí no meu modo de pensar, passei a refletir, tentar ser mais comedido. Respeitar mais as pessoas. Obrigado Luiz. Um abraço a voce.

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