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How To Be Exceptional

Updated: Mar 6




We all have a need to feel significant, unique, or talented. This isn’t just a want, it’s one of our basic needs as a human being. Some people are wildly successful at their careers. Some people are much better at parenting than others. I know people who are gifted writers – despite having no formal education or training. When I was in my early 20’s, I knew a guy who could fix any car-related issue and do it so efficiently I literally couldn’t keep up with him while working on the project. It’s like there was two of him. Not only was he incredibly efficient, his work was impeccable.


All the planets align and the stars seem to shine brighter for these folks. They’re exceptional in their respective areas. What’s their trick? What do these people know that others don’t? Whether consciously or unconsciously, these people have discovered some kind of cheat code to life. Here’s what I think they’ve figured out that many others haven’t.


Find Your Lane


The first thing exceptional people have figured out that others haven’t is this: they’ve found their lane in life. Finding your lane means identifying and accepting[1] what you’re truly talented at, then fostering that God-given talent by feeding those aptitudes. But finding your lane can be tricky; it’s a head game. Here’s how:


You have certain passions – things you really want to do. But sometimes these passions don’t align with what you’re really great at doing. Sure, there’s some overlap between the two, but sometimes it’s not much. These exceptional individuals have figured out what they’re good that overlaps with what they’re passionate about, and have accepted that thing. In the process of discovering what they’re good at they’ve found several things they’re not good at (even though they might be passionate about some of those things), and that’s important. This process causes them to look at themselves fundamentally different than many others do. In short,


Exceptional people look at themselves as how they are, not how they wish they were.


These people don’t get jealous over what lane other talented people occupy. They’ve found their own lane in life so they aren’t jealous over others having found theirs. Instead, they’re happy for others when they succeed. They’re genuinely happy for them because exceptional people value exceptionalism in every form. Exceptional people want others to find their lane and become exceptional at whatever they’re talented at too. Genuinely wanting the best for others leads to the discovery of an important social dynamic: the need to reward talented people.


Why should we reward talented people? Because talented people figure things out others can’t, and it’s smart for societies to reward them for their hard work and ingenuity. We should reward exceptional people so they will continue to do exceptional things which in turn makes life better. We should want to “wring out” every drop of talent these people have to offer because they make life better for everyone. If you’ve just read this and are thinking this idea doesn’t sound fair, you’re right. It isn’t fair, it’s equitable.[2] We shouldn’t reward everyone equally because not everyone is talented in the same areas equally (gasp!). That’s a bold statement so allow me to explain this idea.


Not Everyone Is Equal[3]


The second thing exceptional people have discovered is a delicate, nuanced concept. Any thinking person would agree that everyone is equal in their humanity. That’s not up for debate in any serious circle. But if you observe people, you’ll quickly come to the conclusion that not everyone is equal in their attitude or abilities. Sure, people are equal in their value as human beings, but they’re not equal in math aptitude, athletic ability, creativity, business sense, speaking skills, or a long list of other skills. We’re not all equal in that sense, and you have to accept that fact if you’re going to base how you live on reality. But once you accept that fact, something interesting happens.


Once you are really good at something, it’s much easier to accept the fact that you’re not good at a lot of other things. When you find what you’re good at it will give you a proper sense of self-worth – a healthy sense of confidence.[4] Once you realize you’re good at some things, you don’t need to be good at everything. You understand that some people are way better at reading than you are, but that’s okay because you’ll rock their world at math. You can accept the fact that your friend makes you look silly on the basketball court, because you destroy them on the soccer field. It doesn’t bother you that you’re not great at what others are great at. You’ve found a way to level the playing field and it has given you a healthy sense of self-confidence. Instead of envying other people who are really good at something that you’re not good at, you enjoy watching them, talking to them, and learning from them. You appreciate their talent because you’re confident in your own. Now you might be asking, ‘I want to find what I’m great at so I can be like that. How can I do that?’ The first step is the most important.


Repair Your Personal Truth


Let’s say that your home life was a total dumpster fire growing up. Chaos, abuse, alcohol, drugs, poverty – the works. Because you grew up in a tough home, you’ll most likely have a damaged personal truth.[5] You feel second class. You think you’re subpar. Because your personal truth is damaged, your self-talk is distorted; it doesn’t accurately reflect reality. You tell yourself things about yourself that simply aren’t true. You do the same with other people and the world around you. In order to find out what you’re truly exceptional at, you’ll first need to figure how your damaged personal truth is messing with you and fix it.


Let’s say you’re in 8th grade. You grew up in a tough home, so as you’re sitting in class at school the next day, you think to yourself,


I know that my parents had a massive fight last night.

I know that the cops got called on mom over the weekend.

I know the utilities got turned off yesterday.

I know that uncle Jimmy got blackout drunk and started a fight with dad.


You know these things. They really happened. These are your personal truths. The problem happens when you compare what you know to be true about yourself to everyone else’s public mask.


You look at your classmate and see a bright-eyed student that’s wearing cool clothes. They talk about their family in positive ways. They seem to have it all together. (They don’t have it all together, but when you’re young you don’t realize that.) You’re comparing what you know to be true about yourself to what you think is true of those around you. This creates a damaged personal truth because you aren’t comparing apples to apples.


One of the great truths in life is this: we get what we look for in life. If you have a damaged personal truth, you will, by default, think that you’re damaged. And the problem with holding on to damaged personal truths is that you tend to generate the results in life you think a damaged, second class person deserves. Call it whatever you want: poor self-esteem,[6] bad self-image, etc. If you don’t fix your damaged personal truth, you’ll never see yourself as exceptional or being capable of anything exceptional. Fixing your damaged personal truth is the crucial first step toward becoming exceptional.


Hierarchies of Power or Competence[7]


Notice the subtitle doesn’t say, “Hierarchies of Power and Competence.” You can play the game of life using one or the other, not both. These are two very different ways to view life: as hierarchies of power, or as hierarchies of competence.


If you view life through the lens of a hierarchy of power, you likely see the world in harsh terms. You’re unsympathetic and you have difficulty seeing things from the other person’s point of view. You’re skeptical about your friendships and the future. You don’t see a problem with exercising your power over others by taking things from them because they (according to your view of life) have taken the things they have from someone else. You’re just doing to them what they’ve done to someone else. If you have to lie or “step on some necks” to get where you want to go in life, so be it. If other people get mad, oh well; they’re only mad because you did it to them before they could do it to you.


The fundamental problem with this point of view is two-fold: first, it reduces humanity to the level of animals. Chimpanzees, lions, and chickens all operate on hierarchies of power. Are we no better than beasts? Second, transitions from one leader to another are usually very violent.[8] This system doesn’t work well for chickens and chimps, why do you think it will work any better for you and I? To loosely quote Shakespeare, those violent ideas will have violent ends.


If you view life through the lens of hierarchies of competence, you will see the world in a very different way. You’ll be more apt to be sympathetic and see things from another person’s view. Because you view yourself as competent, you can use your competence to help others become more competent. You want as many competent, exceptional people in the world as possible. You know the game of life isn’t fair, but it’s not completely rigged against you either; you know that you have some sense of say in life. And sure, power plays some role in life, but competence plays a much, much bigger role. You understand that there’s two ways to build the tallest building in town: you can run around tearing everyone else’s building down and then by default you’ll have the tallest building in town, or you can focus on your own building and work as hard as you can to build the tallest building you can. (Which one do you think takes less intelligence and less effort?)


The fundamental problem with viewing life from this standpoint is burnout. You’ll have to be careful to avoid becoming a workaholic. Other than that, knock yourself out. If you find your lane and work hard in that lane, you’ll make something exceptional of yourself. There will be setbacks, but you’ll also get lucky a few times too. If you view life as a series of hierarchies of competence the only serious question you need to answer is this:


If you really applied yourself, how exceptional at _____ could you be?




Endnotes:

[1] Accepting what you’re really good at seems to be more difficult than identifying it in many cases. I’m continually meeting people who are great at things they don’t want to be talented at. Example: I know a guy who is one of the most talented woodworkers I’ve ever met. He’s an incredible craftsman. There’s just one problem: he thinks he’s a missionary. He’s found his lane but he hasn’t accepted it, and his life reflects his choice. [2] This idea of unfairness is echoed throughout Scripture. Prov. 23:29 says, “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before ordinary people.” In the New Testament, Jesus provides two formidable different examples of perceived unfairness in Matt. 20:1-16 and Matt. 25:14-30. [3] This section is taken from the following podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65epASHLblo&t=0s. [4] The English word, confidence, comes from the Latin word, confidere, meaning, “with faith; to rely firmly upon.” So, the implication is that if you have a healthy sense of self-confidence you also have a healthy sense of faith in yourself. [5] Don’t stop reading! I’m not talking about the current socially accepted nonsensical doublespeak. Cliches like, “You do you, bro!” Or, “That’s good for you, but not for me.” Just keep reading. It gets better, I promise. [6] Lots of people talk about self-esteem but I don’t hear many people talking about what, exactly, it is or how we get it. Food for thought. [7] This section is taken from the following podcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyZkP0WrrsA. [8] A challenging Chimpanzee male will often castrate or beat the former dominant chimp so badly they die soon after. Likewise, when a new male lion takes over a pride, he will immediately kill all the cubs who are the offspring of his predecessor.




We are just 20 days away from the 1st day of Spring and we will be closing our 1st quarter shortly after that. It seems like the days just pass by so quickly and we want to thank each donor for the part they play in allowing us to provide high-quality, affordable counseling services for at-risk children and families. We couldn’t do it without you!

  • Thank you, Stephen Barber, for your first-time gift and matching gift that we received from Benevity on your behalf.

  • A special thanks to Roger & Laura Neir for your continued annual contribution.

  • Cory Young we are thankful for your very generous gift.

  • We are grateful to Jason & Val Shram for your generous annual gift that will help make a lasting impact in the lives of so many.

  • A special thank you to Mark & Cathy McGaughey for their new monthly recurring donation commitment.

  • We are so grateful to the Children’s Services Fund of Jackson County for their quarterly contribution on behalf of our in-school counseling program.

A special Thank You to our faithful monthly supporters: Brandon & Vanessa Blanchard, Jenny Glasgow, Craig & Samantha Compton, Roger & Jennifer Madsen, John & Vicki Hefner, Tamara Stroud, Church at Coffee Creek, John & Keshia Otradovec, Zane & Melissa Morerod, Matt & Kristy Newton, Jondy & Heather Britton, Rick & Jan Britton, Nancy Shea, Diane Smith, Rick & Kathy Daulton, Scott & Lydia Hurley, Kevin Quinn, Dan & Gigi Rippee, Mike & Tracy Pruitt, Lee & Debbie Miller, Linda Hartman, Lone Jack Baptist Church, Brent & Amanda Miller, Clayton & Pam Wooldridge, Demi Raveill, Stan & Deb Oglesby, Jeff Cherry, Andre Fantasma, Jon & Naomi Thompson, Jon Brody, and Greg & Jennifer Spears.

We appreciate you!

Click to Partner With Us!


UPCOMING EVENTS!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!


In March 2021, Jersey Mike’s will again join forces with Peace Partnership for the Month of Giving campaign which raises money for hundreds of charities coast to coast in 31 days. We are honored to be the designated non-profit of Jersey Mike’s Subs in Blue Springs. The month-long fundraising will culminate on Wednesday, March 31st, with Jersey Mike’s nationwide “Day of Giving.” On March 31st Peace Partnership will receive 100% of the day’s sales. PLACE YOUR PRE-ORDER TODAY for March 31st! Do you want to order lunch and bless friends, family, co-workers, or a local first responder group…maybe a local school? You can also give an event donation that we will apply towards lunch for the selected recipients in our community. If you would like to get involved or nominate a group of selfless individuals, please email athena@peacecounseling.org. Now is the time to get your carry-out order placed. Orders over $50 receive FREE delivery!

Order Here!


Registration and Sponsorships are now available for our 1st Annual Sporting Clay Tournament. Our event will be held on Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Powder Creek Shooting Park in Lenexa. If you’ve been to our golf tournament you know this will be a top-notch event with some stellar swag bag gifts. At the event you can expect breakfast, lunch, 100 clays, prizes, team golf car, swag bag and 1 raffle entry per person. You won’t want to miss this! We only have room for 20 teams and we only have 11 team spots left, so get registered TODAY!


REGISTRATION:

  • Team Registration – 4 Person ($500)

  • Individual Team Registration ($125): Playing on a team but paying fees individually.

  • Individual Registration ($150): Individual shooter, not yet on a team. Will be placed on a team prior to event.

SPONSORSHIP LEVELS:

  • 12 Gauge Sponsor ($2,500): Logo on All Printed Materials, Logo on Event Participant Gift, Logo on Event Banner, Logo on 1 Shooting Station Sign; 1 Team of Four Included

  • 16 Gauge Sponsor ($1,250): Logo on Event Banner, Logo on 1 Shooting Station Sign; 1 Team of Four Included

  • 20 Gauge Sponsor ($750): Logo on Event Banner, Logo on 1 Shooting Station Sign

  • 28 Gauge Sponsor ($250): Logo on 1 Shooting Station Sign

Register Now!




REGISTER NOW for our 5th Annual Golf Classic on Thursday, September 23, 2021 at Adams Pointe Golf Club in Blue Springs. This is a sold-out event every year, so start getting your team together.


To secure your team or to become an event sponsor, click the link below.


Golf Sponsorships & Registration



2021 Golf Tournament Silent Auction Packages Needed!


Peace Partnership would like to invite you, your friends, family, or small group to create a package for our 2021 Silent Auction. Your package will help us raise funds so we can continue to help those in need, by providing quality mental health care at affordable rates to an underserved community. We are also accepting other new donated items for our silent auction.


How Do I Make A Silent Auction Package?

  1. Pick a “theme” for your package.

  2. Ask each participant to bring an item that fits the theme.

  3. Items can be merchandise, gift cards, entertainment, services, etc.

  4. The package should be valued at $50 or more.


Here Are Some Ideas To Get You Started!

  • Amazon Gift Card

  • Apple Products

  • Country Club Plaza Gift Card

  • Grill-Out Package

  • Home Decor

  • Date Night Package

  • Spa Day

  • Sports Memorabilia

  • Outdoors Package

  • Yeti Products

  • Car Guru Package

  • Fitness Package


For questions or package drop off, please contact Athena Brattin at athena@peacecounseling.org or call 816-272-0653.


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