Humility comes in all shapes and sizes, and Sir Bob Geldof has it in spades. I was privileged enough to be a part of an event held in Shepparton last night where the internationally renowned songwriter and humanitarian spoke openly about his past and brutally about our future.
There was an audible buzz in the room when the great man was introduced. The lady beside me tapped me on the shoulder and excitedly whispered "there he is!" Within seconds of opening his mouth the whole audience of roughly 700 had their eyes locked on him and were hanging off his every word.
Coming from a hard working family in tough economic times in Ireland, his mother passed away when he was a young boy and his father was a salesman who travelled a lot for work. As a result, Bob and his two older sisters were quite often left to their own devices. Rather than displaying self pity, Bob credits his childhood situation as the reason for his resilience as an adult.
I was surprised to hear that the mastermind behind Live Aid, one of the most successful collaborations for charity in music history, had a terrible fear of failure. Not for his own reputation, but for the thought of letting down millions of Africans who desperately needed help. In hindsight, he needn't have worried, but fear is an emotion that can cripple even the greatest of ideas if we allow it.
Sir Bob expressed his concerns for the future. It is his belief that many of the current world leaders are not willing to show compassion or compromise: two of the fundamental human characteristics required to maintain a peaceful existence.
But there is always hope. Sir Bob's advice to the younger generation is to read a lot. The more you read, the more you discover about yourself and others, and the more empathy you develop.
Although he was speaking to a capacity crowd, his demeanor gave the impression that he was having a personal conversation with each individual audience member. His message, though simple, is one we need to remind ourselves of regularly. Be willing to listen to one another.