I want to make the most out of my life. I’m always searching for ways to improve myself, find more time to travel and do awesome things.
I’m not the kind of person who wants to settle for an average life; I want it to be exceptional.
If you read this blog on a regular basis, than you probably feel the same way.
The Anatomy of Average
Being average is like getting straight C’s in school. You’re right in the middle of the pack, grouped together with a lot of other people who have done the bare minimum.
You’re not falling behind, but you’re not excelling either. This leads to a whole set of problems:
- Being average means being unremarkable.
- You’re not pushing past your comfort zone.
- Average is blending in with the crowd.
- It means not living up to your potential.
So we should all be trying to raise the bar and stop being average as much as possible, right?
There’s a problem with that line of thinking though. It ignores a bigger question: what does it mean to be exceptional?
Aren’t we all exceptional to some degree? Don’t we all have some qualities or skills that we do better than most other people?
The same goes for being average. We all have something that makes us a little average.
It depends on the skill.
Even though I generally think I’m an exceptional person, I have to admit that there are many parts of myself that are average.
I have an average knowledge of auto mechanics.
I have an average musical talent.
Contrast this with the areas where I’m exceptional.
I’m exceptional at saving money to travel. I’m also great at lifting weights and I’m very knowledgeable in a wide variety of subjects.
Average Isn’t All Bad
When it comes to being average or being exceptional, it’s not as if you can pick one or the other and that’s the kind of life you get to live. It’s more like you’re picking from a range of skills, abilities and knowledge.
The real focus should be on where you decide to be exceptional.
Look at the areas of your life you’re exceptional in. Is your exceptional side the best area to really be great at?
A couple of posts ago, I wrote about a quote from Star Trek: the Next Generation. It was nerdy of me, but I’m glad I wrote about that side of my personality. The truth is that I used to watch the show a lot and knew it really well.
You could say my knowledge of the topic was exceptional.
But was that knowledge helping my life at all?
The truth is that being exceptional in that area didn’t improve my life much.
At that time in my life, when I was learning about this subject, I let other important areas of my life become average.
I was really shy and introverted. I had trouble meeting people, making friends and getting girlfriends.
It took several years before I finally worked on my social skills. I read books about it and built up my confidence. Soon I turned from a shy introvert into an outgoing personable extrovert.
I changed my social skills from average to exceptional.
Because of that switch, my life improved immensely. I gained a lot of new friends, fantastic confidence and (many) girlfriends.
Choose Wisely Where to Be Exceptional
It pays to look at what area of your life you’re choosing to be exceptional in. Look at your range of skills instead of who you are as a person overall.
We can only focus building a few areas of our life at any given time. Look at where you’re putting most of your effort to be exceptional.
Currently I work hard on being an exceptional writer. So I write almost every single day and track how many words I write closely. It’s an important part of my life and I have many life goals associated with that skill.
I also work hard to be exceptional at working out and eating well. Being healthy is important to me as I feel it impacts a large portion of my life such as my mind, concentration and interpersonal skills.
Focusing on making these skills better is improving my life.
Don’t be afraid to be average in areas of life that don’t matter as much. I’m average with knowledge about celebrities. I never seem to recognize anyone on the cover of celebrity magazines.
I also don’t know much about current TV shows and I’m not a foodie. I would just rather put my energy and attention to other things.
In order to live an exceptional life, you have to focus on the areas of life that will give you the greatest return.
Exceptional social skills will pay off from all the new people you meet.
Exceptional confidence building pays off in almost every area of your life.
Exceptional writing skills will pay off for me when I finish my first book (which is coming soon).
Exceptional knowledge of how to find cheap flights will help you travel more.
It’s fine to know a few TV shows or video games really well. After all, I still know Star Trek. But if those are the only areas you focus on, other areas of your life will suffer.
If you want to live an exceptional life, you have to be careful where you make that choice.
photo credit: Kent Baldner