Life is Exceptional
Everyone will tell you that to be happy and be remembered, you must do something exceptional.
That is the most misleading advice anyone can give.
Here’s the truth: life itself is exceptional.
To embrace this idea, we must have realistic expectations. The ceiling in my living room is nice, however, if I compared it to the Sistine Chapel, I would be disappointed.
I am not telling you not to strive not to seek being exceptional. I am simply asking you to embrace everything around you as an exceptional piece of life’s puzzle. Almost no one is exceptional at something right off the bat. My brother Dusty (I am the only person on earth who calls him Dusty and not Dustin) is an exceptional writer and is noticed by numerous websites and magazines for his talents. But Dusty was not born with this gift from some higher spiritual power.
He cultivated it over thousands of hours of practicing and reading. This is an overwhelming concept for most of society to cope with. The reality is becoming exceptional at anything requires dedication and focus.
Social media distorts our perspective of what it means to be exceptional. We see our friends posting the best parts of their lives, and that can make us feel left out, jealous, or second class.
I am guilty of this.
I used to see a friend post a picture from the beach and feel a rush of jealousy, despite this fact that I live 3 easily walkable blocks from one of the most gorgeous water views anywhere on earth. We spend too many hours looking at the best and worst of other people’s lives. It would be hard for even the most advanced brain to not get jealous, envious, and confused.
A recent study said the average American checks their smartphone one hundred and fifty times per day. That’s one hundred and fifty times that the average American is comparing their life to people who frequently have no impact on their daily life.
I challenge you to think of your life from a different view. Your life is already exceptional, and there’s a good chance you’re missing out on the entire ride.
Think about the moments you share with your friends and family. The funny, sad, or embarrassing stories you share while getting to know one another are usually similar to events experienced by other human beings.
What made them exceptional was that you were present in that moment. When we are at our best is when we devote the current moment to being a better brother, friend, son, daughter, spouse — or just being a better human being. A lunch with a friend that takes a turn and becomes a conversation that is so funny that neither of you will ever forget it–those are the moments that make your life exceptional.
All you need to be exceptional is embracing what’s right in front of you.
The following techniques have made my life immeasurably better:
- Take a breath notice the air and your surroundings. What have you failed to notice right around you because of constant distractions?
- Go out to dinner, or better yet cook something you love to eat for your friends or family members. Make it a game that the first person to look at their phone loses in some way.
- Cultivate the relationships that you value not through looking at Facebook, but by reaching out to the actual person every day. You would be surprised how much a relationship can grow from the simple act of reaching out daily and telling a person you hope they have a radical day.
- Say hi to strangers, help the person at Home Depot struggling to load a sheet of plywood.
Every moment is a moment to do something exceptional — as long as you truly understand what the word “exceptional” means.
Lastly, I have heard people say that when they are sad or in pain social media helps them get away from having to be in the painful present.
Try your hardest not to give in to this idea.
To recognize how exceptional life truly is, we must experience occasional sadness and pain. Otherwise, we would have no idea when amazing moments happen. A certain amount of pain and suffering are going to happen in everyone’s life (even that friend who is always at the beach).
If you’ve successfully cultivated those relationships you value, you will never be alone in the painful moments in life. The friends who will start reaching out to you to wish you a great day will be there for you.
Live in this moment, happy or sad! Make this life, your only life, exceptionally radical!
Written by Cody McKissen Husband Brother and Friend