What is it that comes to mind for you when you think of exceptional? Can you define it or is it subjective to one’s experience? If it is subjective what has contributed to what you believe to be exceptional? Does what you believe to be exceptional change anything in your life or the expectations you set for yourself and others for what it takes to excel? All these things I ponder as I see great differences in the aspirations of others in my life.
Everyone of course has different perspectives in life and it is based largely on their experiences and understanding of things. People are taught different in their upbringing, develop very different habits and work ethics and build their own unique beliefs around how things ought to be for themselves in life. So of course there is no exact way to describe what is exceptional.
Comparing to the Exceptional
I think the only way to describe something as exceptional is to describe it in relative terms and quite likely, that is how you define exceptional as well. Something that is exceptional is something that is much better than most similar things. The same goes for a person if they are exception in one skill area. They are comparatively better at that skill than most other people. It’s that comparison that makes them exceptional. The perspective comes into play again here though as the people or things you have to compare to are always subjective. To one person, an exceptional athlete could be very different than to another if they have never seen anyone close in comparison in skill level. So one might say they are exceptional and another person could meekly say they are average. This is exactly what draws me to think more on this label of exceptional.
Making Exceptional Personal
Exceptional is therefore a perspective you can share with someone else but since you may have totally different levels of comparison it loses its value, at least with individuals who have a different basis. However, it definitely has meaning to you as an individual based on your comparisons and personal experiences. Making it personal allows you to see and recognize the best from your point of view. After all of this, there is still no way to define what is exceptional but there are ways that individuals look at it and use it for comparisons in their life. Then whether you use those exceptional ideals as an aspiration for future goals and achievements or by you recognizing your own exceptional abilities to be confident in or share with others, you are left with little way to portray it to others.
Perhaps you don’t need to share the definition of exceptional though and instead the value comes from the experience and stories that set the beliefs of what exceptional things are all about. So, asking for the stories from others of exceptional times in their life or career are an excellent way to see and learn what exceptional really is for those people and it shapes your own perspective of what it means as well. One can draw on those stories and share their own for the benefit of others to learn from as well. Ask others to describe their own image of what they consider to be exceptional and encourage them to look for and use stories as the basis for that.
Stories have always been great learning tools and everyone can think of times where a story has inspired them to change or fed them new ideas and hopes for the future. Stories are often remembered and shared because they add to your experiences and to the mind they are remembered as how something happened, even if you were not there directly and so they shift your beliefs and understanding. Because of this ability of stories, they allow one to form the ideas of what exceptional is all about and then models are created based on the most exceptional stories that are heard and shared.
Living to be Exceptional
So finally, my directional with all of this is in looking at how you can live to be exceptional and to experience exceptional things. What if you actually plan to create your own exceptional stories and to do exceptional things? Setting your own goals, standards and life plans around building exceptional things ensures you are striving to be the best you can be. The way it is always your own comparison so you need not answer to the expectation of others. You can build your own stories, set your own ever rising standards and continue to seek out and learn from what you consider to be exceptional.
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