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How to be Extraordinary

By definition, the average person is not extraordinary. And yet, paradoxically, the surest path to becoming extraordinary is to be what people would assume to be ordinary. It is only because most people do not do what is expected of all people that, if you do what is expected, you will be extraordinary and viewed as such by other people. All of the following are obvious, but, what is not obvious to most people, is that doing the following will make them extraordinary.

Be Prompt with Communication

People are emotional. Very, very, very, very emotional. Not some people. All people. People assume that the speed with which you respond to them is directly related to the amount that you care about them. And ignoring them is tantamount to telling them that they don’t matter. Don’t believe me? The next time a friend or family member talks to you, just completely ignore them for 5 seconds. I guarantee they will get upset. And even after telling them that it was an experiment, I can virtually guarantee they will still be hurt. And I would say for good reason: an experiment was more important than their feelings? Again, people are emotional. But, respond to someone quickly, and they feel incredibly valued, important, and cared about.

Additionally, promptness of communication is an attribute that is used by people as a predictor of other attributes of a person. If a person responds promptly, people feel that the person is probably more on-point in general. If a person takes a long time to respond (especially if it happens consistently), then people are more likely to assume that a person is less organized and does not have their life together as much. Thus, promptness of communication gives, whether justifiably or not, instant credibility to others: they will feel that you care about them, that you are on-point in life, and that they can rely upon you more.

Be a Decent Human Being

Being an extremely good person can, on its own, make a person extraordinary. But I am talking just about being decent. This attribute, like all the rest, will not make you extraordinary on its own — it’s the combination of multiple ordinary attributes that make a person extraordinary. But, if you listen more than you talk, care about others, demonstrate empathy, show others that you recognize their good qualities, give grace to them about their not so great qualities, put your ego aside, and are quick to apologize when you are wrong, then you will already be more decent than most people.

Be on Time

This is, again, an ordinary attribute that we expect of all people. On its own, it will not make you extraordinary, but it will be hard to be viewed as extraordinary if you tend to be late — particularly in a professional setting. Don’t let all of your other great (or just ordinary) attributes be overshadowed by communicating to others that you are not on-point in life or don’t care about them much by being late.

Do What You Say You Will Do

Again, this is obvious: we expect this of all people. But it’s worth stating: relationships are built on trust. Even if someone loves another person, if they don’t trust that person, then there is no real relationship. The more you follow through on what you say you will do, the more you earn others’ trust — and the more they can have a deeper relationship with you.

If people have the four above attributes (promptness, decency, timeliness, and dependability), they are likely to be almost universally admired. And anyone who has these four attributes is actually extraordinary since most people do not have all four. And yet, these attributes are not only attainable by anyone, but they are far more important than other pathways to becoming an extraordinary person. For instance, a brilliant mathematician might be acknowledged to be extraordinary in their mathematical ability, but they will not get very far in business, friendship, or happiness unless they have at least some of the four above attributes: no one will want to work with them if they are not decent, no one will keep them employed if they’re not dependable, and no one will promote them to a management position if they are not decently prompt with their communication.

However, the person who combines promptness, decency, timeliness, and dependability to any other skills (such as advanced academic or technical knowledge and insight) will not only be extraordinary but likely also highly successful in business, in relationships, and in life.

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