The Gift of Humility

Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas
with short reflections on 12 gifts

In the spirit of surprises, it turns out that the Hippocratic Oath does not include these words: First, do no harm. Maybe the reason so many think it does is that the injunction is both pertinent and pithy. Indeed, it neatly encapsulates the gift of humility, at least as it relates to our outcomes, medical and otherwise. We charge about, convinced that we are doing good: merely ‘avoiding harm’ seems like a low standard to which to aspire. Yet within our polities, organizations, and relationships, we can see how easy it is to make things worse by acting with insufficient information or with insufficient attention. May we act or refrain from action in humble awareness of that fact, every day.

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