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How To Be Incredible

You are, of course, a special person. You have many talents and skills. Of course you also have weaknesses—everyone does—but your strengths count for much more. However, if being special is not good enough for you. If you want to be more than special, if you want to be incredible, you can. But you need to work at it. If being incredible were too easy, everyone would do it. On the other hand, it is not impossible. So, get to it!

Define Your Incredibility

The very first thing you need to do is to define your area of incredibility. As we noted, no one is super-skilled at everything! We all have our strengths and weaknesses. In most cases, you will want to focus on one of your strengths. After all, it is easier to be incredible at something you are already good at. That said, sometimes people make an effort to be incredible at something in which they are handicapped. Painters who have no hands, musicians who cannot hear and so on.

Don’t Be A Follower

You will never be incredible by imitating someone else. Sure, you can learn from others and, for a time, you may need to follow mentors, teachers and great examples. But at some point you need to step out and be unique. You need to be the incredible person other people follow.

Take Risks

To be a leader, to do things your own way, to set the incredible example that others follow, you need to take some risks. You need to try things that could fail and you need to be ready for that. Fortunately, you are incredible. So, you can cope with occasional failures. You are happy to acknowledge your failures, learn from them and move on. Incredible people take personal responsibility for their failures. To blame someone else only indicates you are not in charge of your own incredibleness.

Be Unconventional

Although you can be incredible by following conventions, it is typically a lot more work. Many people achieve greatness through conventional means. One example is the corporate leader who goes to the best schools, gets an MBA, joins a big company, works long hours and perseveres until she becomes the CEO of a massive company. Another example is the pianist who practices night and day in order to achieve technical mastery. But frankly, that’s a lot of work. Taking an unconventional approach to what you want to can save you time and help define your incredibleness. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are examples of chaps who were, and one still is, CEOs of massive, successful companies before they reached 30. Many great musicians establish themselves while still young.

For really incredible people, such as you could be if you tried, conventions are obstacles that prevent them from achieving their aims. Hence, they take unconventional approaches. The Sex Pistols and many other early punk bands had little actual talent. But they had an unconventional idea, that was a reaction to the music scene at the time, and a great deal of audacity.

Very often, when someone takes an unconventional path to be incredible, that path soon becomes the conventional one. Untalented musicians with audacity are nothing special these days.

Work At It And Work Hard

Even if you take a short-cut, unconventional approach to being incredible, it takes work. No one has ever become incredible by watching television all day. Messrs Gates and Zuckerberg have both worked long and hard at building their businesses. Incredible musicians, football players and acrobats practice for hours daily in order to achieve incredibleness.

The psychologist Anders Ericsson has hypothesized that anyone can become a master of anything provided she practices it for 10,000 hours. This is about 10 years of practizing three hours per day or five years of full time practice. This is a somewhat controversial hypothesis—in part because of the difficulty of putting it to clinical testing! Nevertheless, it is unlikely that you could spend 10,000 hours practizing something and not become damned good at it! Indeed, such devotion to a skill is incredible in itself.

On the other hand, being incredible may not be about mastering a skill. Playing incredible chess or violin doubtless takes 10,000 hours of work. Launching an incredible company, writing an incredible book or building an incredible house usually takes less practice, but still requires a lot of work!

Do It

Many people spend too much of their lives dreaming of doing something incredible and somehow never get around to doing it. There is always a reason to put off getting started, to avoid the risks, to keep life easier—even if it is also a little more boring than it could be.

Clearly. If you want to be incredible. You need to do it. Get started. Take action. Now!

Cover image and top image from Shutterstock

This is a cross-post from Jeffrey Paul Baumgartner.

Jeffrey Baumgartner is the author of The Way of the Innovation Master and Report 103, creator of Jenni innovation process mgmt software, founder of jpb.com & father of two great sons. Follow him on Twitter at @creativeJeffrey.

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