Behaviors of the Exceptional
Many people are good at what they do. However, a select few are truly Exceptional.
Those who are Exceptional play in their own playground. They don’t compete with anyone but themselves. You never know what they will do — only that you will be forced to respond. Even though they don’t compete with you, they make you compete with them.
- Always Plan and Be Prepared So You Have The Freedom To Act On Instinct
“Just as the yin-yang symbol possesses a kernel of light in the dark, and of dark in the light, creative leaps are grounded in a technical foundation.” — Josh Waitzkin
Become a master of your craft. While everyone else is relaxing, you’re practicing and perfecting. Learn the left-brained rules in-and-out so your right-brain can have limitless freedom to break the rules and create.
With enhanced consciousness, time will slow down for you. You’ll see things in several more frames than others. While they’re trying to react to the situation, you’ll be able to manipulate and tweak the situation to your liking.
- Don’t Be Motivated By Money Or Anything External
Having nice things is nice. But for you, it’s never been about the money, prestige, or anything else outside of you. Take these things away and nothing changes for you. You’re still going to be pushing your personal limits and giving it your all. Give these things to you and they won’t destroy you like they do most people.
- Never Be Satisfied
“The drive to close the gap between near-perfect and perfect is the difference between great and unstoppable.” — Tim Grover
Even after you achieve a goal, you’re not content. For you, it’s not even about the goal. It’s about the climb to see how far you can push yourself.
Does this make you ungrateful? Absolutely not. You’re entirely humbled and grateful for everything in your life. Which is why you will never get complacent or lazy.
- Always Stay In Control
“If the spirit yields to the body, it becomes corrupt; but if the body yields to the spirit it becomes pure and holy.” — Brigham Young
Unlike most people, who are dependent on substances or other external factors, you are in control of what you put in your body, how you spend your time, and how long you stay in the zone.
Act based on instinct, not impulse. Just because you could doesn’t mean you do. And when you do, it’s because you want to, not because you have to.
- Be True To Yourself
“You can have everything you love in life as long as you give up what you hate.” — Dan Sullivan
Have the self-respect and confidence to live life on your terms. When something isn’t right in your life, change it. Immediately.
- Never Let Off The Pressure
“Pressure can bust pipes, but it also can make diamonds.” — Tim Grover
Most people can handle pressure in small doses. But when left to their own devices, they let off the pressure and relax.
Not you. You never take the pressure off yourself. Instead, you continuously turn-up the pressure. It’s what keeps you alert and active.
- Don’t Be Afraid Of The Consequences Of Failure
“We are at our most alert when we are in danger of failing. The greatest growth comes from being alert, scared, and striving.” — Dan Sullivan
Most people stay close to the ground, where it’s safe. If they fall, it won’t hurt that bad. But when you choose to fly high, the fall may kill you. And you’re okay with that. To you, there is no ceiling and there is no floor. It’s all in your head. If something goes wrong — if you “fail” — you adjust and keep going.
- Never Stop Learning
Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning. When you want to become the best at what you do, you never stop learning. You never stop improving and honing your skills and knowledge.
Your unparalleled preparation is what gives you power. No one else is willing to pay the price you’ve paid.
- Don’t Get Overtaken By Success
“Success can become a catalyst for failure.” — Greg McKeown
Most people can’t handle success, authority, or privilege. It destroys them. It makes them lazy. When they get what they want, they stop doing the very things that got them there. The external noise becomes too intense.
But for you, no external noise can push harder than your own internal pressure. It’s not about this achievement, but the one after, and the one after that. There is no destination. Only when you’re finished.
- Own It When You Mess Up
“Implementing Extreme Ownership requires checking your ego and operating with a high degree of humility. Admitting mistakes, taking ownership, and developing a plan to overcome challenges are integral to any successful team.”―Jocko Willink
No blame. No deception or illusion. Just the cold hard truth. When you mess up, you own it. And as the leader, you own it when your team fails. Only with extreme ownership can you have complete freedom and control.
- Let Your Work Speak For Itself
“Well done, is well said.” — Anthony Liccione
Cal Newport’s book distinguishes “deep work” from “shallow work.” Here’s the difference:
Deep work is:
- High value
Shallow work is:
- Low value
Talking is shallow. Anyone can do it. It’s easily replicated. It’s low value. Conversely, deep work is rare. It’s done by people who are focused and working while everyone else is talking. Deep work is so good it can’t be ignored. It doesn’t need words. It speaks for itself.
- Keep Building Your Mental Strength
“Mental resilience is arguably the most critical trait of a world-class performer, and it should be nurtured continuously. Left to my own devices, I am always looking for ways to become more and more psychologically impregnable. When uncomfortable, my instinct is not to avoid the discomfort but to become at peace with it. My instinct is always to seek out challenges as opposed to avoiding them.” — Josh Waitzkin
The better you can be under pressure, the farther you’ll go than anyone else. Because they’ll crumble under pressure.
The best training you will ever do is mental training.
Wherever your mind goes, your body follows. Wherever your thoughts go, your life follows.
The stronger your mind, the longer and harder you’ll train. This is why Kobe Bryant was such a legend. He practiced harder than anyone else. As Richard Marcinko has said, “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.”
- Confidence Is Your Greatest Asset
“Life is a confidence game. Those who create it win. Those who neglect it lose.” — Dan Sullivan
You’ve heard it before: running a marathon is far more mental than physical. A person’s ability to run a marathon — or do anything hard — is more a reflection of their level of confidence than their actual ability.
Your confidence determines:
- The size of challenges/goals you undertake
- How likely you will achieve those goals
- How well you bounce back from failures
If you’re not confident, you will never put yourself out there in the first place. When you’re confident, you don’t care how many times you fail, you’re going to succeed. And it doesn’t matter how stacked the odds seem against you.
- Your environment matters -Surround Yourself With People Who Remind You Of The Future
When you surround yourself with people who remind you of your past, you’ll have a hard time progressing. This is why we get stuck in certain roles which we can’t break free from (e.g., the fat kid, or shy guy).
Surrounding yourself with people who you want to be like allows you a fresh slate. You’re no longer defined by your past, only the future you are creating.
- Let Things Go, But Never Forget
Being exceptional requires carrying no unnecessary mental or emotional baggage. Consequently, you’ll need to immediately and completely forgive anyone who has wronged you. However, forgiveness doesn’t mean you forget. And it doesn’t mean you have to do further business with those who have wronged you.
- Have Clear Goals
“While a fixation on results is certainly unhealthy, short-term goals can be useful developmental tools if they are balanced within a nurturing long-term philosophy.” — Josh Waitzkin
According to psychology research, the most motivating goals are clearly defined and time-bound.
Your goals can either be focused on your behaviors (e.g., I’m going to write 500 words per day) or on the outcomes you’re seeking (e.g., I’m going to get published on the New York Times by June 1, 2016).
For most people, behaviorally-focused goals are the better and more motivating option. But when you crave the results so much that the work is irrelevant, your aim should be directed straight at the outcomes you want. However, results-focused goals are better when short-term and grounded in your long-term vision and philosophy. When your why is strong enough, the how will take care of itself.
- Respond Quickly, Don’t Over-Analyze
“He who hesitates is lost.” — Cato
Just do it. Train yourself to respond immediately when you feel you should do something. Stop questioning yourself. Don’t analyze it. Don’t question if it came from God or from yourself. Just act.
You’ll figure out what to do after you’ve taken action. Until you take action, it will all be hypothetical. But once you act, it becomes practical.
- Choose Simplicity Over Complication
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” — Albert Einstein
It’s easy to be complicated. Most of the research and jargon in academia and business is over-complicated.
Cutting to the core and hitting the truth is hard, because it’s simple. As Leonardo Da Vinci has said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Very few people will give you the truth. When you ask them a question, it gets mighty complicated. “There are so many variables” or “It depends” they say.
- S. Elliot said it best,“Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information.”
Wisdom is timeless and simple. Learn wisdom and choose it.
- Never Be Envious Of Someone Else’s Accomplishments
Being exceptional means you genuinely want what’s best for everyone — even those you would consider your competitors. Jealousy and envy are the ego — which operates out of fear.
The reason you are happy for other people’s success is because their success has nothing to do with you.
You are in control of you. And you are different from every other person. There is no one who can do exactly what you can do. You have your own superpower with your own unique ability to contribute. And that’s what you’re going to do.
- Take The Shot Every Time
“If I fail more than you, I win.” — Seth Godin
You miss every shot you don’t take. And most people don’t want to take the shot. Fear of failure paralyzes them.
The only way you can become exceptional is when you stop thinking about it. Just take the shot. Don’t do it only when it’s convenient or when you feel ready. Just go and make whatever adjustments you need after the fact.
- Think 10X
“When 10X is your measuring stick, you immediately see how you can bypass what everyone else is doing.” — Dan Sullivan
Most people — even those you deem to be “world class” — are not operating at 10X. In truth, you could surpass anyone if you radically stretch your thinking and belief system.
Going 10X changes everything. As Dan Sullivan, the man behind Strategic Coach, has said, “10X thinking automatically takes you ‘outside the box’ of your present obstacles and limitations.” It pulls you out of the problems most people are dealing with and opens you to an entirely new field of possibilities.
When you take your goal of earning $100,000 this year and change it to $1,000,000, you’re forced to operate at a different level. The logical and traditional approach doesn’t work with 10X. As Shane Snow, author of Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success, has said, “10x progress is built on bravery and creativity instead. Working smarter.”
The question is: Are you willing to go there? Not just entertain the thought for a second or two and then revert back to common thinking. No. Are you willing to sit with 10X thinking? Are you willing to question your own thought processes and open yourself to believing an entirely different set of possibilities?
Could you convince yourself to believe in your 10X potential? Are you willing to undertake goals that seems lunacy, to you and everyone else? Are you willing to take the mental leap, trusting “the universe will conspire to make it happen”?
- Set Goals That Far Exceed Your Current Capabilities
“You need to aim beyond what you are capable of. You need to develop a complete disregard for where your abilities end. If you think you’re unable to work for the best company in its sphere, make that your aim. If you think you’re unable to be on the cover of Time magazine, make it your business to be there. Make your vision of where you want to be a reality. Nothing is impossible.” — Paul Arden
If your goals are logical, they won’t force you to create luck. Being powerful means your goals challenge you to be someone more than you currently are. As Jim Rohn has said, “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.”
- Start Before You’re Ready
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese Proverb
Most people wait. They believe they can start after they have enough time, money, connections, and credentials. They wait until they feel “secure.” Not people who are unstoppable.
Exceptional people started last year. They started five years ago before they even knew what they were doing. They started before they had any money. They started before they had all the answers. They started when no one else believed in them. The only permission they needed was the voice inside them prompting them to move forward. And they moved.
- Be Consistent, Don’t Make Exceptions
Zig Ziglar used to tell a story of traveling one day and not getting in bed until four A.M.. An hour and a half later (5:30), his alarm went off. He said, “Every fiber of my being was telling me to stay in bed.” But he had made a commitment, so he got up anyways. Admittedly, he had a horrible day and wasn’t productive at all.
Zig says that decision changed his life. As he explains:
“Had I bowed to my human, physical, emotional, and mental desire to sleep in, I would have made that exception. A week later, I might have made an exception if I only got four hours of sleep. A week later, maybe I only got seven hours of sleep. The exception so many times becomes the rule. Had I slept in, I would’ve faced that danger. Watch those exceptions!”
“From this point on, your strategy is to make everyone else get on your level, you’re not going down to theirs. You’re not competing with anyone else. They’re going to have to compete with you. From now on, the end result is all that matters.” — Tim Grover
When you’re truly exceptional, you will make sure to get what you want. Everything you need to know is already within you. All you need to do is trust yourself and act.