Humility is an important quality for a Taoist to cultivate, because when one is too proud, it invites unnecessary contention. The classical Taoists were often thought of as fools. They felt it better to be overlooked and dismissed than to receive too much attention. A metaphor used by Deng Ming-Dao shows the value in humility: The strong are conscripted, the beautiful are subjugated, and the average are left to live their lives as they choose.
It is listed among the attributes of the sage in chapter 22 of the Tao Te Ching (Dao de jing):
"Not showing off his deeds, hence [the sage] is meritorious.
Not boasting of himself, hence he leads.
Because he is not contentious,
Hence no one under heaven can contend with him."
-- from chapter 22, E. Chen (tr.)
It is likewise alluded to (as reverence) among the qualities of the ancient masters of Tao in chapter 15:
"Careful, like crossing a river in winter,
Hesitating, like fearing neighbors on four sides,
Reverent, like being guests."
-- from chapter 15, E. Chen (tr.)
In the Chuang Tzu (Zhuangzi), Shen Tu Chia reproves Prime Minister Cheng Tzu Chan, who is acting too proud, because he does not yield way to higher officials when they cross paths. He tells him:
"However, those who do not cause trouble and who think they deserve nothing are few indeed. To know what is beyond your ability to change, and to live with this as your destiny, is the action of a virtuous one. Anyone who wanders into the middle of Archer Yi's target will find that such a central place is exactly where you get hit!"