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Friday, June 15, 2012

What makes you remarkable? Part 1

"We should all have a monopoly in what we do."  --Dan Miller

My daughter is beautiful and remarkable (pictured above on her 1st birthday).  I write this with the intention of challenging your semantics.  Of course, she is gorgeous aesthetically.  But more importantly, at the age of 21 months, she is enjoying life.  She loves warm popcorn, cold apple juice, quality time with family, Yo Gabba Gabba, and simply running around aimlessly while making loud noises.  She is beautiful.  She challenges authority, embraces her mistakes, and apologizes to please others.  At 21 months, she is worry-free and praising God (literally, she sings to him; loudly I might add).  I remember the days when I was like this.  I was weird, silly, and curious.  I went against the grain.  I liked to do things my own way for the sake of independence.  So why, 28 years later, am I finally following my dreams?  As I follow my dreams, I am weird, silly, and curious.  It makes me unique.  It makes me stand out.  It separates me from you, you, and you (yes you).  I think I have discovered how I am remarkable.  

To be remarkable, sets you apart from the rest of the pack.  To be remarkable, your creativity and your expertise cannot be mimicked by the masses.  It is the reason why people pay astronomical amounts to watch Jay-Z or Kanye West perform live.  It is the reason why people stampede towards the closest Barnes and Noble to purchase a signed copy of a John Grisham novel.  People that do great things are... (honestly) people.  They are human just like you and me.  So why can't we (yes I am a part of the ambitious, overzealous, and imaginative crowd that wants to succeed on our own terms) achieve greatness?  Why can't we be remarkable?

Whether you are a visual artist, a waitress, a poet, a singer, a businessman, a dentist, a bondsman, a mom, a dad or whatever you desire to excel in, you have to separate yourself from everyone else.  You must strive to be the very best you can possibly be in your niche.  Here are five essential steps you should implement immediately towards reaching greatness in whatever area your dreams, passions, and ambitions fit (think of your goals, dreams, and values as the Big Three):

  1. Change your inner circle.  Stop hanging around childhood friends, relatives and acquaintances who continue to live a negative, stagnant existence.  You are greater than that.  Your success is impacted by the people who you spend the most time with.  Successful individuals surround themselves with positive, successful people (like-minded).  Ensure that your closest friends are "evenly yoked" with your destiny (and your Big Three).
  2. Practice time management.  Every day you should create a list of things that will move you closer to your dreams.  For example, I dedicate one to two hours per day to read, write, and listen at minimum.  As a serial multi-tasker, I would not be able to get anything accomplished if I did not create a "to do" list daily with the focus of moving one step closer to my big goals daily.  Set time aside for administrative tasks (bills, taxes, errands, etc).  Set time aside for creativity (song writing, generating business ideas, planning, collaborating with professionals or coaches, etc).  Lastly, set time aside for consuming (reading, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, exploring the unknown, etc).  
  3. Increase your knowledge base.  The best way to increase your knowledge base is to expose yourself to information you desire to learn or to expose yourself to the information from people you admire.  For example, since I decided teaching was not the optimal career for me, I have been consistently digesting business, career, and self-improvement books and magazines since 2009 (and for those you are wondering, I started teaching in 2009).  From Dan Miller's 48 Days to Work you Love to Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind, I have been pushing my appetite for knowledge to help me grow as a man, professional, leader, and entrepreneur.  I increase my spiritual knowledge with a healthy dose of church and motivation from Joel Osteen. I increase my financial intelligence by listening to Dave Ramsey's podcast and radio shows.  I pay attention to Rachael Ray's healthy recipes.  I tried Tony Horton's P90X to get in shape (keyword:  tried).  Regardless of what area of life I want to increase or improve in, I go to the experts and expose myself to learn.  
  4. Act on faith.  In order to do this step, first you must have faith or develop faith in a higher power.  This is a beautiful universe unfortunately cluttered with daily reminders of evil, selfishness, and deceit.  By surrounding yourself with good people, making time to spend quality time with family and friends, and exposing yourself to high quality information, you are increasing your self-confidence and efficacy.  That self-efficacy will lead to great results if you continue to grow in accordance to your faith.  By acting on faith, you are trusting that there is a supernatural, divine power orchestrating your success and realization of your dreams.  To further clarify, human beings are vulnerable, flawed, and corruptible.  You have to believe in something greater in order to think (which influences your actions) and act in a way unlike any other.  Bill Gates and Steve Jobs dropped out of college.  Kobe Bryant went directly to the pros as a teenager with no college experience.  Chris Guillebeau has traveled all around the world and published two successful books without a college degree or without working a traditional job.  All of these successful people are human beings who overcame their flaws and inhibitions to act on faith.  Believe in yourself, even if, especially if, no one else will.
  5. Dare to be different.  With everyone conforming to the latest trends and conventional wisdom, look closely at the economy and the economic realities of the 2008 financial meltdown.  Where did that get them?  Going to college, earning a degree, interviewing for your first real job, and so on did not bring stability to a majority of conformists students.  I earned a master's degree in teaching, and I don't teach (in a traditional sense).  If you have a brain, you have ideas.  If you have ideas, you have creativity.  If you have a will or a drive, you have the capability of making a difference in life.  If you truly desire holistic success (that is my motivation for everything that I do), you have to be different.  Being different, being yourself, ignoring what everyone else does will lead you to your niche that will lead you to a perfect spot in this universe to be original, creative, and remarkable.  The only marketability you possess is your remarkability (see my creativity in creating this word).  You do not have to drive the fanciest car if that will not make you happy or move you closer to your goals.  You do not have to wear a certain brand of clothes to be considered fashionable.  You decide the world you want to life in, and make everyone else comply.  That is how you make yourself different.
I have learned to love from a distance.  That means I have had to let go of certain friendships and relationships in order to grow.  As a man with huge dreams, I am still practicing the fine art of time management, but I do have a system that works effectively.  I balance work, school, family, and relaxation.  I still need to incorporate more exercise and meditation into my life.  Also, I enjoy the podcasts and websites of Dan Miller, Pat Flynn (Smart Passive Income) and Joel Osteen.  Find your three top successful mentors to follow and learn from.  That is how you will grow.  Next, whether you are a Christian or not does not matter.  What matters is that you believe in a higher power, any higher power of goodness that influences you to be a better person irregardless of the respective religion.  And by having that faith, you will be confident towards being your own unique individual and challenging the status quo.  The way our society is currently constructed leaves too many people homeless, broke, unhappy, miserable, etc.  You can be rich and be miserable simultaneously; this is possible.  You have to decide the type of life you want to live based on your personality, values, interests, etc. (The Big Three), and earn a living by living on your own terms and proving to potential employers or customers that you are remarkable and different from anyone else.  You're welcome (thanks KB24 for the motivation).

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