How To Be Exceptional
What does it mean to be Exceptional?
In today's world, being an exception is one of, if not the only, key to lasting success. Success not just in your career but in your day to day life. To be an exception means to stand out from the many millions of people who are just like you. There can be millions of writers, musicians, businessmen, housewives, husbands, but only a few of them can be regarded as exceptional.
I realized how important this is when I recently decided to do some research on freelance writing and the earning opportunity that comes with it. What I found out was there are literally millions upon millions of people who are freelance writers, millions of them looking for work on the internet from sites like odesk, craigslist, etc. That was when i realized, that the only way a person can secure such jobs would be by being able to stand out from the crowd, to never give up, to dig deep into it, and not just as a past time, but to look into it like its your life.
"There is a common thread that runs through the lives of exceptional people. They are beaten over the head, knocked down, vilified and for years get nowhere. But every time they are knocked down they standup. You cannot destroy these people."-John Mason
What does it take to be an Exceptional Person?
To be exceptional we have to bring out the best in us with each and every single step we take to our goal. We have to realize that there can be no shortcuts, no compromise, no easy way, no "play the guitar like Jimi Hendrix with these five simple steps" kind of nonsense. You want to be like Jimi Hendrix you have to go through what he did-learn to play the guitar in a way no one has ever done before or die trying.
The only way to have this kind of attitude is to be persistent, there is simply no other way. The attitude of never giving up no matter how tough the going gets. To fail, fall, bleed and get up with an even stronger spirit than before and work harder in honing your skills than ever before, to make mistakes and not take them as a failure but as a lesson.
One thing I have noticed with exceptional people (take your pick: Bill Gates, Paul McCartney, Steve Jobs) is that they honed their skills like as if they decided that they had to do what they do or nothing else. They do what they do out of passion, Not for the fame or the money, but for the love of it. These guys used to hone their skills day in day out. they lived, sleep, eat, breath what they believed.
They made a huge bet with their life and they made very very sure they win it.
Don't Give up
Persistence comes naturally to a person who knows what he wants to do for the rest of his life, irrespective of whether he becomes rich from it or not. They are very very focused. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs did not do what they do because of the money, they did what they did because they have a passion for it, the money was just a byproduct. We have to keep reminding ourselves that we should strive for excellence, not money. Which is why a lot of people stop writing hubs once they realize they are not earning enough money. Ask the most successful hubbers, they will tell you that they write hubs because they like it, they believe in what they write, they like networking and exchanging ideas (which is pretty much the key to increasing traffic by the way). The money just came along naturally as byproduct, or a perk if you will. Yes money is important, but always prioritize excellence in what you do.
Focus helps us in staying on the path of the long, winding road that is very less traveled. If Thomas Edison was not focused when he was inventing light bulbs, he would not have been able to achieve his goal. Focus to the extent that people think you have gone crazy with obsession, and that nothing else really matters.
Focus and Passion
It is this passionate focus that makes us achieve what people think to be impossible. Of course they would think it would be impossible they are not crazy, only the crazy ones can conceive of something impossible. To the crazy and the exceptional, nothing is impossible, if it is deemed impossible by the average person, he/she will strive for it like a leopard catching a deer.
There can be a lot of distraction in the way to achieve our goals, it can be distractions from friends and family, distractions from people holding us down, telling us we are wasting our time, and that it cannot be done, and many other things, and this is why our focus and our priority in our life should be crystal clear. A person who does not know what is his/her priority in life, who does not believe in his/her cause can never be focused, and is easily put down and distracted.
So find out what it is you are passionate about, focus on it relentlessly, do not hear what people are saying or doing about it. The only time you should see or hear what other people have done is to simply find out where has the bar been set and then make sure you break the bar and set a new one that people should achieve.
Knowledge and Wisdom
Being focused and being persistent is great if you are a leopard catching a deer, or a kitten catching a laser pointer, but we are humans, the one thing that sets us a part from animals is our ability to think. We must learn what we are passionate about. The Beatles were passionate about music and they grasped whatever knowledge they could and they soaked it like dry sponge. Do you know how hard it was for Jimi Hendrix to learn to play the guitar back in the 1950-1960s? They didn't have internet at that time, he couldn't just turn on the internet and search for guitar tabs or learn guitar online from the comforts of his own home or buy a guitar from amazon or ebay. He had to listen to the radio learn it by the ear, he had to go to local clubs and hang out with the guitarists who were performing and learn new tricks from them and he would practice it and hone his skills day and night. Each and every new stuff that he heard he just grabbed it the way a person dying of thirst in the desert would grab a cold bottle of water. It was very very hard to get good information and knowledge, they were not readily available as they are now on wikipedia or google, we had to search and hunt for them, and only the people who would die trying would get them, and he decided early on in his life that this was what he was going to do, and nothing else. Buddy Guy even had to make his own guitar and learn from it!
Without knowledge and wisdom we would not be human. Without knowledge and wisdom the knight in the armor would not know how to use his sword and ride a horse. One has to search for knowledge and make mistakes, learn from experience, get battle scars, and keep learning from every knowledge and wisdom life gives to you.
These three important factors: Persistence, Focus and Knowledge is indispensable if we want to make something out of our life. If we want to be successful, if we want to make a difference, if we want to mean something, if we want to be above average. Times may have change, technology may advance, but the key to be an exceptional person will never ever change.