Why success has nothing to do with being part of the ‘elite’
written by Kent Healy
⇒04 Oct 2011
Uncommon: “I appreciate the message you share on your blog Kent,” said Maria in a kind, but uneasy tone, “but what if some people just aren’t cut out for an uncommon life?”
“What do you mean?” I asked digging for specifics.
“Well, the idea of leading an exceptional life is exciting, but it’s also really demanding—and maybe for some, reaching the top tier in certain areas is simply out of their skill set or social caste. Being part of the artist elite or business elite or any elite is tough—that’s why it’s such a small segment of society.”
Maria raised an interesting point, but there was more to it. A few more exchanges made something very clear… she was rationalizing an inner sense of overwhelm, self-doubt, and boredom.
I discovered that she felt living an ‘uncommon life’ was both daunting and senseless. And Maria was definitely not alone in her thinking.
There was never a more important time to revisit and reset expectations and definitions about what life should be about…
Comparing apples to oranges
Being uncommon means many things, but it has absolutely nothing to do with reaching the ‘top’ or being part of some arbitrary, hyped-up faction labeled as ‘elite.’ This concept is both illusive and ridiculous. The terms are never clearly defined nor are they mutually agreed upon. This, of course, makes it a race to nowhere—a complete waste of time.
Being uncommon is not about comparing super yachts—or anything for that matter. In fact, it’s the absence of ‘comparing’ that leads to the ‘uncommon.’ Comparing requires that part of us retain assumptions and metrics from the ‘old game’ to know where we stand in relation to one another.
But the real question is: Does it really matter where you stand compared to others? Would you rather travel more and earn less? Do you prefer working from home to seeing your name on the coveted corner office door? Have no interest in trading your 10 year-old Honda CRV for the newest BMW?
So be it. And if, in your internal playbook, that promotion, corner office, or new car, is invigorating, more power to you.
But the point should be made clear: There are no external metrics for an uncommon life because such a life is centered on our own (internal) terms, not those borrowed from the majority. That would defeat the purpose.
But what is it, Kent?
A lot of people ask me what an ‘uncommon life’ means and I try hard to subdue my desire to define it. It’s not up to me. It’s a question we should all ask of ourselves for ourselves, because by creating a universal definition it’s no longer personal; it’s no longer our own pursuit.
We shouldn’t feel the need to play someone else’s game of life and we also shouldn’t pressure others to play our own game either. The social, artist, business, or ____ (fill in the gap) ‘elite’ are just higher levels within the status quo. That’s not what I’m about, nor is it what this blog is about. That’s an elitist’s game.
Aiming for ‘elite’ status is comparing apples to oranges. ‘Best’ is personal opinion.
Instead of putting life’s requisites on a socially-ranked pedestal, define your own terms about what matters and what doesn’t. Go on, I dare you. It’s the only path to contentment and the fastest route to realizing your true potential.
You’ll soon find that making your own rules creates a new game entirely—one worth playing… and winning.
Do you agree or disagree? How would you have responded to Maria?
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