In ancient times it was natural to be united with the Tao. Because of this heaven became clear, earth became tranquil, spirits became energized, valleys became full, the ten thousand things became alive, leaders ruled the earth with nobility.
What brings this about! Without it: Heaven would not be clear but would split open, earth would not be tranquil but would shake, spirits would not be energized but would wither away, valleys would not be full but would be exhausted, the ten thousand things would not be alive but would perish, leaders would rule with nobility but would be toppled.
Therefore value those rooted in humility, since the superior person finds his foundation in lowliness. For this reason leaders refer to themselves as solitary, desolate, hapless. Is this not because they are rooted in humility?
Thus those who measure their honor have no honor. Do not shine like jade, instead be humble like a rock.
(from Tao Te Ching, verse 39, translation by Robert Brookes)