“Honors, titles, and rank are like saffron. Saffron grows best when it is walked on. Honor is excellent when it is freely given to us by others, but it becomes cheap and degrading when we go looking for it. Beautiful flowers wither when plucked. Generous minds waste no time on such toys as rank or honor. They occupy themselves with other things. The owner of pearls pays no attention to shells.
On the other hand, don’t make a pretense of being humble. My advice is that you should never talk about it. Never ask to be given the lowest place if you only intend to start there and work your way to the top.”
Francis de Sales