When Jack Canfield and I were writing The Success Principles for Teens we knew the first chapter had to be “Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life” because without a full understanding and application of this concept we’re merely reacting to life and observing from the sidelines.
By definition a ‘norm’ is common. Thus, being ‘normal’ means being common (Tweet this quote). It means thinking and doing in the same way as the majority. Yet, being ‘normal’ is still encouraged by society.
After a decade spent observing human behavior I’ve noticed some patterns that have led to a surprisingly simple theory of mine: The sources of our greatest problems are two fold: One, a lack of information and two, perhaps most importantly, a plethora of wrong information. Accordingly, we can divide the majority of the population into two camps:
It’s not sexy. It’s not glamorous. And it’s not fun so it’s often cut from the narrative.
But behind every success story is a arduous journey of preparation, of mistake-making, of embarrassment, and of pain — a side of the glamorous end result we seldom hear about or see.
Apart from the rare exceptions (that, for better or worse, also get the most exposure), one’s true passion in life is most often preceded by a passion to do excellent work.
And it all begins, somewhat ironically, with an often self-initiated passion to become passionate about giving your all.
Both the hammer and the nail appear on the job site, but one is at the mercy of the other. One is hammering and one is getting hammered. Technically speaking, this isn’t always negative. After all, nails are needed to build structures — but nails are rarely Mavericks. Why? …
The world is better only because some people are willing to follow through and execute an idea they believe in.
“For entrepreneurs, finished is an F-word,” say Ben and Reid. “Great companies are always evolving. Finished ought to be an F-word for all of us. We are all works in progress. Each day presents an opportunity to learn more, do more, be more, grow more in our lives and careers. You will need to adapt and evolve forever — that’s permanent beta.”
Innovation and progress requires testing the rules and assumptions that most people believe are inescapable and unchangeable. And in the process, new perspectives often present new approaches that change the way the rules effect our lives.
For instance, we all know gravity is a very real thing. But while many people thought this meant it would be impossible for humans to fly, there were some Mavericks who decided to challenge that ‘rule.’
Contrary to popular belief, ambitious individuals trying to make a name for themselves don’t suffer from a lack of resources. They suffer mainly from obscurity. And by definition, obscurity always increases at the norm. Why? Because “common” literally means widespread – it’s the peak of the bell curve; the home of the majority.
In a monarch society the ruling faction is determined by bloodline. But beyond the royal palace, success is impartial. The crown of great accomplishments can be claimed by the hardworking, innovative, and resourceful individual — whatever their background or bloodline.
Ah, the bell curve. There are few better mathematical representations of mediocrity. The most obvious message? The majority performs at roughly the same level.
Thus, the norm is the majority. So if you truly want extraordinary results you need to free yourself from ‘the norm.’