You are not special and that's a good thing. - Alexander T. T.
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You are not special and that’s a good thing.

We’ve all been taught that each and everyone of us is special in some way. Myself and many others think that this may be a problematic way to view yourself and the world. Why?

It breeds entitlement, laziness and creates a whole bunch of problems with our general life happiness. It halts progress, because we never actually want to improve. We are special, so why be more? That’s exactly the problem.

Being average.

We seem to want to avoid being average like the plague. So much so, that it would be better to be very bad at something, than average at it. At least, then we can be pitied or still be exceptional – exceptionally bad. This is a problem, because we start to see our options for living as either being the greatest or the worst (no in-between). You can see how this may make you swing from depression into a manic state.

In reality most of us are about average in almost all aspects of our lives and exceptional in only 1 or 2.  I mean this not only in professional skills, but also in character . We have an average mindset, relatively average friends, normal problems. I would argue you need to be aware of that and accept it.

The problem with thinking you are special.

The biggest one, obviously, is entitlement. You feel like the world owes you success, happiness, a great job, etc. So if the world doesn’t feel like giving you what you think you are owed you start acting out, getting angry, quitting, exploiting and hurting people.

Thinking you are special or exceptional is pretty much like thinking you are better than everyone else. This is where you can start seeing some really serious problems with how you treat other people and how that reflects on you. If you are special, then you deserve, appreciation and attention. In reality you are not and no one owes you anything. Believing otherwise will lead you feeling resentful, generally unhappy and like you were treated unfairly.

The reality is, most people are too concerned thinking about themselves, to think about what you do or do not deserve.

If it’s not exceptional, it’s not worth it.

There is a common fallacy that a lot of people seem to unconsciously adhere to. “If I’m not good or exceptional at something from the start, then it’s not worth doing”. This is especially relevant to people who are naturally talented and have a knack for picking up new skills. However, it is obvious that you cannot expect to be great at everything you do and yet it stops so many people the moment they hit a snag.

Thinking like this can lead to a life filled with disappointment and depression. You might not be the best at your chosen sport, but you can still get enormous benefits from practicing it. I’m not the best writer, but that won’t stop me from enjoying the process.

Manage expectations. Don’t be a snowflake.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to be great, exceptional or at least better than you were yesterday. However, as in all things, balance is key. We need to be realistic and identify where we can attempt to be exceptional and where we don’t need to. For most people it will be 1-2 things in their lives, and the rest would be pretty average. It’s silly really, it’s like expecting to be a world class athlete in football, basketball, boxing and swimming all at the same time. Manage your expectations. No one can pull feats like that.

We should accept that and be comfortable with being average, because trying to be amazing at everything will just cause stress and disappointments.

It takes an extraordinary amount of time and effort to be better-than-average at something. Doing that in all aspects of your life is just impossible. Pick a few and use laser focus to hone them to the best of your ability. Even still you might not make it to the 1% of that activity and you may need to come to terms with that. We need to be content and accept that a lot of what we are is average, only then can we find happiness and enjoy every single day.

Alex T. T.
alex@alexandertt.com
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