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Nobody Is Special, and That’s Great

Nobody Is Special, and That’s Great

It is common to see certain people as wholly unique, that there is something special about them. We look at great innovators like Elon Musk, and think he is special because not many people think they have what it takes to revolutionize travel on land an in space. Even figures like Arnold Schwarzenegger we regard as special, after all, we think, it must take a special person to become the strongest man in the world, a movie star, and a state governor.

Most people imagine them as black swans, who stick out from the others and their individuality is worthy of praise. But very few swans are black, yet does this mean that ordinary swans (or ordinary people) are without value? Clearly not. Each are unique.

But this raises an interesting point. If each of us are unique and special, then that must mean that none of us are. If the norm is special, then being special is meaningless.

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    If this is the case, then where does our obsession about being special come from?

    By Default, Everyone Thinks They’re Special

    We are hard wired to feel special, or otherwise want to feel special. On top of this, our parents tend to see us as special from birth (after all we are their children and are special in that sense). This makes us either want to be special to justify their views, or grow up thinking we are naturally unique and special.

      From childhood we see those who are seen as smarter, more attractive, or charming succeed where most of us don’t. Deep down we all want recognition, its simple human nature. So when we see others getting it, we either get jealous, or think them uniquely special.

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      When we get recognition, our confidence and self esteem grows, this can be extremely good for you, but can also have the affect of having an overly inflated sense of worth and pride, and thus think ourselves special to everyone else.

        Feeling “Special” Is Dangerous

        No matter how much we want ourselves to be the special ones, most of us are just ordinary. Some people are simply better than others at things.

        This might seem as an insult for some, but think about it, it is impossible to be great at everything. Though some people might be better than you at one thing, you might be better than them at something else.

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        Sure, we can look at people like Schwarzenegger or Elon Musk as if they are special. But there are things that you can do that they would struggle with. The issue is, we only see the things that they are great at. I might, for example, cook better than Elon Musk, or write better than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

        This view of only seeing the positives and great attributes can apply to our view of ourselves too. Someone who is extremely prideful and sees themselves as incredibly special, will naturally have a limited view of themselves. They will be blind to their problems and flaws and negative sides.

          This is a major problem in itself, without knowledge of your flaws, after all, it is impossible to improve yourself. The person who sees themselves as special would in fact be in a worse place than most people in the world, people who want to improve themselves.

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            Redefining “Special”

            There are roughly 7.442 billion people in the world right now, and that number is increasing rapidly. Therefore the possibility than any one of us is more gifted than anyone else is borderline statistically impossible. Things I’ve experienced have been experienced by many thousands before me, and many thousands will experience the same after me, it is inevitable.

              So with this, perhaps the only way to be special is to feel good about ourselves. If nobody is truly special, then why need to focus on those seen as greater?
              If nobody is born special then there is nothing stopping you achieving as they have.

              This idea may be disheartening at first, but I think there is something liberating about it. There is no longer any pressure to feel like you have to be special and great at everything.

              Everyone is unique in the sense that there is nobody in world who is them. There never has been before, and never will be ever again. So instead of trying to be better than everyone else and unique, what’s left is to be great in your own way. You might love to draw and are great at it (I’m certainly not!) so why not just celebrate your drawing skills. Maybe you won’t end up being the next Michaelangelo, but why should that stop you?

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              Anna Chui

              Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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              Last Updated on July 17, 2019

              How to Make Changes in Life To Be The Best Version of You

              How to Make Changes in Life To Be The Best Version of You

              Let’s start with the problem:

              You get back from work. You’re tired. It was a long day. You know there’s things you could do, to get out of the rut you’re in.

              But, let’s be honest. You really would rather relax, sit down and chill for a bit. Grab a snack. Watch your favourite show.

              By the time you’ve done that, the day’s over. There’s just not enough time. To make this worse – you don’t have the energy or willpower to make changes in your life today.

              So where do you go from there?

              What you need are some easy to apply actions that are proven to work.

              This article is going to give you 4 steps on how to make changes in life so you can follow today and get closer to success – even when you are feeling tired and lazy.

              These steps have proven to work for me, and many of the coaching clients I work with privately.

              1. Squash Inconsistency by Giving up Motivation

              Now most people, when they want to make changes to their lives, focus on making lengthy to-do lists and plans. They think over and over again about what is going wrong, what is going well and what they want, etc.

              All in a bid to push themselves to getting more motivated.

              Guess what? This isn’t going to work.

              Willpower and motivation are feelings. Feelings are vague and unreliable.

              Instead, what you should do is focus on putting your flawed unpredictable self in the best possible environments.

              If you do one thing first from this list, it’s THIS:

              Find and go to the best possible environment for the area of your life you want to change.

              For example:

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              • If you want to get fit, make your first goal to show up at the gym three times a week.
              • If you want to find a new relationship, show up to a meet up in your city for single people.
              • If you want to be productive and make your business idea work, don’t work at home, go to a co working space nearby.

              The reason people fail to become the best version of themselves is because they underestimate the power of environments to influence behavior.

              Accept that you are flawed, prone to distractions and your motivation and willpower will fail you.

              The best hack at your disposal? Show up to “change inducing” environments and get out of your comfort zone (physically)!

              OK. Next step.

              2. Recruit an Elite Team to Help You (For Free)

              Open up any social media platform you’re active on that contains some positive connections you have.

              Send this message to one person you already know and trust ton help you make changes to your life:

              “Hey [first name]. Can I be really frank and honest with you? I’m having one of those – ‘OMG I NEED TO MAKE CHANGES TO MY LIFE!’ moments.

              And I was browsing the internet, looking for tips and this article I came across suggested accountability. So here I am, messaging you to be part of my accountability system.

              My ask is simple.

              Can we sit together once a week at [x place] but do absolutely no socializing? I’ll buy the [coffee/food] and it will be a space to force me to do [x thing]. You literally have to do nothing other than eat the free coffee/food I pay for lol. But it will keep my accountability high, which is what I need.

              What you reckon? Can you help? Thanks!”

              Now obviously, change the language to suit you but you get the idea.

              Not only are you going to environments that will help you make changes, but by bringing a friend (or two), you make it even likelier that you will succeed. It doesn’t even have to be in person, it could be a video call.

              People fail to make changes to their lives because they try to do it all themselves.

              It doesn’t really work in long term, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

              You can recruit and “enlist” people to help you. By doing this, you’re taking care of the up and down motivation you have.

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              Not only are people happy to help, when they see this type of behavior, they’re also inspired and motivated to change their lives. Pretty soon, you end up creating change in not just your life, but other people’s too.

              So when the next dip in willpower comes?

              You have a friend sitting right next to you, watching your every move, making sure you get things done anyway.

              3. Build Good Habits Effortlessly

              Changing your life means changing your day to day habits.

              Habits are automated behaviors you do everyday, like how a clock works, without thinking or motivating yourself to do them.

              Some habits help you to change, others can stop you. One of the best ways to replace your ‘bad’ habits with good ones is to treat them like old clothes. What happens when your t-shirt gets old, faded and out of fashion? You replace it with something new and improved.

              Do the same thing with your habits – upgrade and replace them with something better. Start small, then slowly graduate to higher levels of difficulty.

              Let me give you a clear example of what I mean:

              A few years ago (before it became mainstream), I was trying to start my own habit of meditating every single day to help boost my productivity and mindfulness. I’d done a mind blowing course called Vipassana. It involved 10 days of deeply powerful meditation combined with noble silence in a remote part of the UK.

              Now it was easy to do when I was there (#1 – environment!) with all those other meditators (#2 – people helping me). All I could do was meditate. There were ZERO distractions. I had NO CHOICE.

              When I got home however, after a few days of sticking with it, I quickly caved.

              Those extra 30 minutes of sleep were just so much easier than waking up everyday at 4am for a long one hour meditation.

              So what did I do to build this really important habit?

              Like with most things, I wanted to make changes to my life. I wanted to become my best self.

              I knew how important it was. I just couldn’t follow through consistently and kept failing over and over.

              Then, it hit me.

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              I needed to start small. I made a tiny change, that made all the difference.

              I made a tiny change, that I could stick to – without fail – that has me meditating daily every single day now.

              What was it?

              Instead of trying to do something BIG inconsistently (1 hour of 4am morning meditation) and failing again and again. I decided to do something small consistently.

              Building any good habit really just comes down to repetition. The way the brain is built works in favour of this.

              My new habit became:

              When I wake up, I will fold my bedding neatly. Then I will sit cross legged for 30 seconds with my eyes closed.

              Eventually, once I did this consistently for a few months. I increased difficulty.

              When I wake up, I will fold my bedding neatly. Then I will meditate for 10 minutes.

              Why does this work?

              What’s important here is that the behavior you want (meditating) is tied to another consistent habit (folding your bedding).

              I attached my new habit to one that already is consistent.

              Making it more likely to happen.

              Secondly, I aimed for consistency, not perfection. This is where a lot of people fail. They have an idea of the change they want, but things become all or nothing.

              When you do this, you fail to realize the power of consistency. The brain you have loves patterns. In this case, I trained my brain to repeat a set pattern every morning when I fold my bed.

              There was no motivation or willpower required.

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              This training has gone so far now that if I miss a day of meditating, I really feel uncomfortable. I’m just as conditioned to meditate as most people are to checking their phones in the morning.

              If you want to learn more about quitting bad habits, Lifehack’s CEO also has a guide on it: How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in Less Than 2 Months

              4. Create More Time by Quitting Social Media

              You know the best thing I’ve ever done for my productivity and it took me 30 seconds to do?

              I deleted all social media apps from my phone and blocked them on my laptop.

              Then, to reinforce it, I told all my friends and followers on Facebook (my most used platform) I wasn’t using it for a while.

              Now, there’s nothing wrong with my social media. Social media is a tool. Tools are neutral. It’s how we use them that is “productive” or “distracting”.

              We each have to judge how healthy our usage is, especially when weighed against unlocking our best self. That said, for most people reading this, including me, I think limiting our usage is a very favorable advantage.

              One of the best ways to make changes in our lives is not to add new tools or tricks. But simply remove things that distract us.

              Social media is something I use heavily for my businesses. Technically I’m a “social media influencer” and “YouTuber”. I need to be posting constantly, right?

              Our situations are unique, so I came up with a unique solution for this. After deleting and blocking these apps from my devices, I installed a social media management software that still allows me to post my updates.

              The big difference, however, is I cannot spend any time scrolling and being distracted.

              Final Thoughts

              Change is not always about more. Sometimes it’s about doing less and getting rid of what distracts or blocks you.

              Trying to do things by yourself is a good way to fail. Share your goals and pitfalls with people, no one helps until you ask.

              Start with small changes consistently instead of big changes failed at consistently. The momentum will give you results over time.

              So what to do next to make changes in your life?

              1. Write down where you are going to GO to create the changes you want.
              2. Message 3 to 4 people on social media and ask them to help you using the message template I gave you.
              3. Choose one small habit to get started with immediately and upgrade it over time.
              4. Delete all, or at least most social media apps on your devices, and notify people you are leaving to make it stick.

              More About Making Changes in Life

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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