To be extraordinary?!
Now that's a big promise, Lior!
Yes it is, I know. I'm not here to waste your time after all.
I love the word "extraordinary". It's an extraordinary word. It's much better than "pompous", "great" or "enormous" - because it gives you a hint about how to be extraordinary.
The word comes from Latin (duh...) - Extra Ordinem - literally it means "outside the normal course of events". Or simply - outside what's normal.
So how can you be extraordinary? Apparently there are two ways.
The common way, and the WTF-why-no-one-told-me-about-this-before way.
Hi Dilbert :)
I assume you know Dilbert. This popular comics is illustrated by Scott Adams. Since its launch in 1989, over twenty million Dilbert books were sold. Plus, it's been the first website with a daily comic strip. Respect.
Adams isn't just the illustrator behind Dilbert, he also directed the animated TV show and he's currently a co-founder of a startup as well.
Why am I talking about Dilbert?
Well, here's how Scott Adams explains his extraordinary success:
I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes.
Adams figured out a way to have an extraordinary career. One that is not being taught at school unfortunately:
Become very good - not the best - only very good, at two or more things.
Not the best comedian or the best illustrator. Just very good in both.
You see, here's what they teach us at school and university: To have an extraordinary career you have to be the best at something. Be the best illustrator or the best art director or be the best kids' doctor or the best race driver.
Being the best is really hard. Forget hard, it's almost impossible. Because there's only one, or let's say ten, OK - even a hundred "The Best" of something. There's only a few Michael Jordans and a few Kasparovs.
Being in the top 1% of anything - well that's soooo hard! You need not just to be super talented, you also need loads of luck, and know the right people, and... well statistically most of us will never get there or even close.
Not the best this or the best that
The alternative is much more achievable. You can be good, say in the top 25% (that's what Adams suggests) in two things or more. And it will make you stand out more than the others in your field(s).
You can be a good designer and a good writer - then create a great design blog that will attract you so many clients. Or you can be a good developer and a good speaker - which will get you to appear on conferences and get known.
You can be a good chef - not the best one - never own a Michelin Star. And if you're good at communicating with kids, then you can disrupt the kids' food industry. You can be a good lawyer who's really into storytelling and then write the first book about law that common people can read.
Well, you got it.
The world is looking for people who stand out. People who have uncommon remixes of talents and skills. IMHO those are also the most interesting people and the ones who can make a change.
So what are your two things? Or three?
If you're already good enough at one of them, but only mediocre at the other one - you know what you have to do. Go improve that second one.
Thank you Scott Adams for this super awesome advice and I'm off to work on my extraordinary Pizza eating skills.