This fist NPN blog post doesn’t have that much to do with using NPN, but rather serves as a ‘first post’ in the blog area. Just a story that I wanted to share…
I WAS BULLIED FOR BEING DIFFERENT. Some called me a geek, a weakling, a nerd, (and several other derogatory iterations of my last name)…all of which hurt emotionally and at times even physically.
Growing up in a home where faith, good manners, boys choir, musical and visual arts, VBS (vacation bible school), church youth group, and at that time a brother who was working through several learning disabilities (for which he was severely bullied as well and I was usually beaten up for trying to defend him)… there wasn’t a day that went by where I knew that I was being different (sometimes by choice and others not so much).
I’m sure however that I would not have been able to articulate the truth about WHY being different was setting the stage for greatness. A training ground if you will for becoming a person of influence. (Not that I’ve arrived yet mind you!)
The awesome privilege my wife and I have been given to parent 3 awesome boys, Josiah, Liam, and Eli, and raise them to be great adults demands that we teach them the value of BEING DIFFERENT.
Probably the best way I have ever understood this has been gathered together in an excerpt of Andy Andrews newest book “The Little Things ~ Why You Really SHOULD Sweat The Small Stuff”
“WITH SO MANY GOOD, HARDWORKING PEOPLE WHO are striving to achieve more, have you ever wondered why relatively few realize—truly realize—extraordinary results? I believe a large part of the reason can be explained this way: everybody wants to make a difference, but nobody is willing to be different.
If you look closely, you’ll see that most of us reach and maintain a level of “average excellence” that aligns rather closely to the achievements of our peers. In other words, we all tend to get the same general results. And not just similar results to those in our office or on our team … no, this phenomenon of similar results occurs worldwide in every industry. It is common in all sports, educational systems, and cultural institutions.
In case you didn’t already know, average people compare themselves to other people. That is, in fact, why they are average. Other people’s finances, marriages, children, houses, vacations, automobiles, you name it—all of these are used by average people to gauge whether their own results are on par. If the average man determines he is a little ahead of his peers, he feels justified in relaxing a bit. If the average woman determines she is somewhat behind, she works harder to catch up. All this happens because average people compare themselves to other people.
In their defense, the vast majority of the things these people overlook are tiny, seemingly ordinary components of everyday life. Further, most folks wouldn’t give these things a second thought if they did notice them. It’s not that these tiny things are not worth a second thought. It’s that most folks don’t think they are worth a second thought.
On the other end of the spectrum, extraordinary achievers do not compare themselves to other people. Instead, they compare themselves to their own potential. And what might their potential be? Whatever they choose to think it is!
One thing is certain: they will not allow you or me to define it for them.
When I talk to people who work with teenagers, I often ask, “What’s the biggest concern teens have in their lives? What do they think about most often?” Their answers almost always have something to do with the overwhelming desire teens have to be accepted or fit in with their peers. There’s nothing a teenager accepted or fit in with their peers. There’s nothing a teenager hates more than feeling different or “weird.” And that’s not surprising. Most adults are still dealing with those same feelings.
The following are a few great questions to ask the teenagers in your life. They are great questions to ask yourself as well. Remember, what you’re always after is a consistent increase in your level of understanding.
1. When you look around at the way average people live—in terms of finances, time to do what they enjoy, being happy with their jobs or families or businesses—do you think they live exceptionally well?
2. Ten years from now, would you be thrilled to live like the people we just discussed?
3. Why do you think most of them are where they are?
4. Is the following statement true or false? Knowing that every physician in America graduated from medical school, if a person desires to be a physician someday, he or she had better enroll in medical school.
5. True or false: if a person desires to be an attorney someday, he or she had better enroll in medical school.
6. Why was the answer to the previous question false?
7. Look back at question number two. Ten years from now, if, in fact, you would not be thrilled to live like everyone else, would it make sense that the more different you are from them during the next ten years, the more likely you are to end up in a different place?
In most cases, extraordinary achievers became comfortable with being seen as “different” or even “odd” long before they achieved the level of success they were after. It’s a distinction that average people often fail to make. If one desires to live life on a different level, that destination will not be reached by traveling the same road everyone else has chosen.
In other words, if you want to be different, you’re going to have to be different!
You will need to act differently as well. For instance, in our world today exceptional manners are different. And while we are on the topic, it is important to understand that different may seem weird at first, even when it’s not.
When I travel, (Andy) I often give books to people I meet. Once, some years ago, my sons, Austin and Adam, were with me on a trip. Before we left home, I packed several copies of my children’s book, The Kid Who Changed the World, for each of them. I suggested they might give them away to children and parents we encountered along the way. Unenthusiastically (l noticed), they agreed to do so.
But they didn’t do it. As we unpacked after the last leg of the journey, I saw that every book I had given the boys was still in their backpacks. Later, I asked why they had not given a single one away.
“Dad … really?” my oldest answered. “We can’t just go up to somebody in an airport and give their kid a book.
“Why not?” I asked.
“Dad…,” Austin said, as if I should know the answer, “because it’s weird.”
I looked at Adam. He raised an eyebrow and nodded, concurring with his big brother.
“Let me be sure I have this straight,” I said. “You see a six- or seven-year-old kid with his parents. You approach, smiling, and tell them you noticed the family and have a book for the child. You hand them a brand-new, very colorful, hardback book that has been signed by the author. They thank you profusely, and walk away.” I paused, then asked, “And that is weird?”
“Yes, sir,” they both said. “It is.”
I took a breath and smiled. “Okay,” I said. “This’ll only take a second. You want to know the truth, don’t you?”
“Yes, sir,” they replied cautiously.
“All right, The truth is this: It’s not weird. You only think it’s weird. The reason you think that giving a book to a family is weird is because no one ever does that. But it is not weird.
“Now I’ll admit that if you ran up to that family and stuck your tongue out, and threw the book at them—yeah, that would be weird. But giving of yourself, being kind, being generous, smiling while you talk, standing when your mother comes to the table, shaking hands when you meet someone—these things are not weird, and don’t ever let anyone make you feel like they are. They are different, yes. And should you choose to pay attention to learning how to behave in these ways, your lives will be different as well.”
In closing, allow me to point out that, as a percentage of our world’s population, there are not many extraordinary achievers. That’s why extraordinary achievers are considered to be different. Their financial situations are different from those of the average person. They possess different levels of influence. They live different lives.
If you want to be an extraordinary achiever, then you really do want to be different!
I encourage you to pick up a copy of Andy’s book HERE
I want you to BE DIFFERENT!! The results are worth it.