Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E is for Exceptional

Are you exceptional at anything? Do you know anyone who is? It’s really cool, isn’t it? Now, when I say exceptional, I’m not talking about a twelve year-old prodigy who wins Jeopardy for three straight years, never breaking a mental sweat. I’m also not talking about becoming Mr. Universe or Bill Gates or Oprah. While all those people are indeed exceptional, there are other ways.

Maybe you are a mom or a dad, and feel your job at home is done in sort of a blasé, rote, normal fashion. You would not be the exceptional parent, you would simply be a provider who tries to keep the kids alive and, preferably, quiet. An exceptional parent works a hard job and then takes time to read to their kid before bed, fix a good breakfast and then take them to the park on Saturday to play with RC toys. Being exceptional is simply going a tad above and beyond what is minimally expected. Sounds easy, eh?

Maybe you are a writer, and you think research is pretty difficult and also, all those pesky grammar rules get you down, so you just write what you want and then show people that junk. You, sir or ma’am, are not an exceptional writer. Even if you do that sort of writing all day, every day, you are still not exceptional. A writer who takes the time to fact, grammar and spell check, edit the hell out of their work and do everything in their power to ensure an enjoyable read are exceptional.

Or, maybe you have another talent like singing, dancing, playing an instrument or acting. If this is you, then you know that in order to be considered exceptional, you really have to try hard and stand out, which is not at all an easy thing to do. But, the exceptional people find a way to do it anyhow. The merely “good” ones simply do their job and then fade into the woodwork. Boo.

In my opinion, becoming exceptional is a choice, and one we can all make. No matter what we do, we can almost always try a little harder, put a little more effort in, prepare ourselves better. Try to improve. Letting your talents or your life simply flat-line is going to get you nowhere but Boringville, living on Mediocrity Street. Is that really what you want?

Take chances. Put yourself out there for judgment. Forget about consequences sometimes and just do things. Folks who take the initiative in life are almost always exceptional people. Don’t let life just happen to you; do something about it. Be *you*. After all, you probably won’t get another chance.


Poddys said...

I used to think I was an exceptional computer programmer and analyst, but these days it's hard to shine, when there are many more constraints on what you can do, and also the need to be so creatively excellent is a lot less than it used to be years ago.

Anonymous said...

I think I did and still do a great job as a parent. Dare I say it? Yes. I'm an exceptional mom.

My hubby and I have truly nurtured ours, and now, when we see them with the grands, we see that same love, warmth, consistency, and connection that lived in our house.

Life is good.

Langley said...

Exceptional post. And thought provoking. Now let me go ponder the question.

James said...

By making a real effort not to exert myself, I hope one day to be exceptionally boring.

Anonymous said...

You sure gave me something to think about! I guess I'm exceptional at a few things and mediocre at others. How about you?

Derek Odom said...

Yup, same. I try and be "decent" at a lot of things, but only exceptional at a few. And, in the end, that is all we really need!

Thanks for all the comments, it's super cool to actually be read. :)

KBalbify said...

For certain things, I like to be in the top 10% at a minimum, and the best if I can do it. I have been the top sales person in every place I ever worked in sales. I just like to earn the big bucks.

Other things I don't care that much about. Being exceptional takes passion, dedication and perseverance, but it is worth it, or at least it has been for me.

Being average, or mediocre also has its benefits. It takes all kinds.

Marie Anne said...

Well I'm most definitely 'me', but I'm not sure that's so exceptional.

Theresa Wiza said...

Your post reminded me of the first time I saw Michael Jordan. I was mesmerized by what an exceptional basketball player he was. I rarely ever watch sports, but I watched basketball every time he played. I always strive to be exceptional. To read my "E" blog post, please go to the top blog at