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You Are Not Special, But You Can Be

You Are Not Special, But You Can Be

Is anybody truly special? Short answer: Yes.

Is there anything wrong with being special? Another short answer: Yes.

Very few people are special. You are not one of them. Why? Because there is a downside to being classified as “special.”

Being special in today’s society means thinking that you are an exception to the rules that everyone else has to follow. It has very little to do with self-esteem and very much to do with self-deception.

The downside is that we can be thinking about ourselves in such a damaging way without realizing it. And our unawareness drives us to be ungrateful and even unsuccessful.

Pedestals and Privilege

So let’s be honest for a little while.

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Perhaps you grew up in a family where you were the apple of your parents’ eyes. Maybe you were always seen as the good boy or good girl who never broke the rules, the model student in school, obedient in every way including being home before curfew, and so on and so on.

In short, you were given privileges and people put you on a pedestal. It was assumed that you would be successful because, well, you had such a perfect past (which required very little work from you, of course). It just happened.

Now, here comes the downside. A child who grows up thinking this well of them self will see their self as special. And because he or she has been told in so few words and treated in so few ways — as if they are special — they will begin to expect everything to come easy to them. They can begin to feel entitled to success without any effort.

But sooner or later, you find out that this is not true. You do not have any special powers. You are not too big, too beautiful, or too smart to fail. Everything you do is not guaranteed to succeed.

Conditioning

Children who grow into adults who have been conditioned to think they are above and beyond everything and everyone else will ultimately have to come face to face with reality. You are not special.

Privileged? Yes. Special. No.

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You should never let yourself fall into the trap of assuming that you don’t have to work hard or that life is just supposed to happen perfectly for you. People who think they are special and have been conditioned to think that everything will come easy to them are at a disadvantage.

If it is all just given to you, do you really understand how success really works. Does it just happen? Do your dreams just come to pass? If everything is all there for you because you are already qualified (because you’re special, remember, everybody thinks so), you miss a very important lesson.

The Way It Is

Maybe you are one of those people who has been taught to believe that everything is just going to come to you because of how wonderful and bright you are. Well, I want to make the shock of reality a little less sharp for you.

It doesn’t work that way. Obstacles are the way of life — for everybody.

You are not entitled to a great future because you had such a great past. In fact, for many people, it is the very opposite because they deceive themselves into thinking otherwise. How many rich kids turn out to have completely tattered and torn adult lives. Special? No. Choices? Yes.

The way it is: If you want it to be a certain way, it is within your power to create it.

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You have to choose.

Ego is one of your worst enemies. Thinking you are special is just an excuse to escape the painful reality of responsibility and choice. Avoiding the hard word of owning up to our mistakes and choosing to change is a deceptive tactic that strangles our progress and ruins our future.

After all, it is much easier to sit atop our high horses and look prim and proper than delve into the messiness that is life.

Still want to be special?

Special people don’t concern themselves with being special. They just don’t. Because being special is not important. They don’t try to be the exception to the rule.

Instead, special people do special things. They earn what they have. They put themselves on the line for others. They work hard at meaningful and fulfilling work — work that benefits the larger part of society.

They admit when they fail and struggle because they’re not special. They accept help where it can be found and allow others to gain strength from their stories. They learn and grow because special people actually have time to better themselves.

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Special people know that the world does not owe them anything. Instead, they owe the world something. When special people leave, the world mourns their loss and remembers their legacy. Because it was never about them anyway. It was all about what they could do for someone else.

Life isn’t about you. You want to special? Start giving the world and the people around you something they always needed but never had. Make yourself useful. Make your existence meaningful. Use your perspective and abilities for good. Design a future that others want to emulate.

Why?

Because you’re special. And your “specialness” means something to us.

More by this author

Daniella Whyte

Psychology Researcher

You Can If You Think You Can: 4 Ways to Build Self-Efficacy A Letter To My 50-Year-Old Self: On Grace and Getting Older Never Be the One Who Waits to Give Flowers 6 Questions That Help You Break Out of A Motivational Slump 6 Ways to Use Stress to Your Advantage

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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