Most of us have encountered people in our lives that truly inspire us. Whether it was a favorite aunt while growing up, a teacher, a colleague or a friend, there are just some people who manage to do things differently from the norm and certainly differently from us. These people seem to have something others don’t — a faith, a method, a secret of sorts that somehow has eluded the majority and due to their ability to navigate what appears to you and me to be an ordinary world in an extraordinary way, we are inspired!
These people are exceptional and they are the ones we love to be around the most. We feel awake and alive in their presence. We feel anything is possible. We feel nothing is so big or worrisome that it can’t be overcome. We feel seen. We feel safe. We feel confident. We even feel that maybe, one day, we could become exceptional too! The presence and essence of these people is so big and powerful and reassuring that we feel “all is right with the world,” if even just for this moment. And that’s sometimes about as long as it lasts — for however long we’re in their presence.
Eventually, we have to return home to what we know. To our tried and true methods of dealing with the icky-ness of everyday life – our patterns, our roadblocks, our dysfunction, our attachments, and our unmeetable expectations. Or perhaps we have to navigate these same uninspiring qualities in the people around us, the people we deal with on a daily basis, knowing all along there is a better way but not knowing just yet how to access it. And so we slip quickly from the pillar of becoming exceptional to the backwaters of being normal.
Fortunately for us however, simply being a witness to exception (knowing what it’s like and that it actually exists) plants the seed of possibility within ourselves. And, because of this awareness, we will never again be the same. I can’t help but to ponder (and I’m guessing the same is for you) what is it about these people that makes them so? What are the qualities of an exceptional person and how do we become one ourselves?
After great contemplation, I’ve hand-picked a few common attributes I’ve found in the people that inspire me the most. I feel that by practicing with these qualities in our own lives, it will lead us closer to becoming the exceptional person we’ve always wanted to become and at one point, were absolutely certain we could be!
They are: Love, Compassion, Generosity, Inexhaustible faith, the Fostering of others, Patience, Positivity, Humor and Gratitude.
Love – this attribute crosses all boundaries. Love of life, people, nature. Love of self and others. Love of one’s work. Sense of purpose, fulfillment, respect. In awe of life!
Compassion – this is a sincere wish for others to be happy. Within this wish is a heartfelt sadness when people you know are suffering. Compassion is felt without regard to your own needs. It is selfless. From the tiniest most helpless creature to even your enemy — compassion encompasses all beings everywhere. It is one’s true wish for the betterment of humanity.
Generosity – giving freely and selflessly for the benefit of others. Giving because it makes others happy. Giving without any agenda. Giving of time, resources, knowledge and wisdom. Deep understanding of the principal, “it is greater to give than receive.”
Inexhaustible faith – knowing that life, and its inner-workings, is much bigger than just you and me. Faith in the magnificence of existence. Seeing the bigger picture and leaning into it. Bad things happen to exceptional people, but they see them for what they are –mere incidences on the journey of life. Faith in the fact that one day everything will make sense — but, until then, one should just keep going.
Fostering others – giving of your time, resources, knowledge and wisdom to help others along their way. Knowing that “it takes a village” to make life harmonious and having the willingness, dedication, heart and commitment to help cultivate the good qualities and traits of others.
Patience – knowing that the Universe has its own timing and being in concert with that. Acceptance. Non-resistance to that which is not going your way. Inventive. Trusting.
Positivity – understanding the cycles of life and choosing to see possibility. Understanding how intention and perception work. Familiarity with the dark side of things but choosing to see the bright side of most circumstances and conditions. Not digging your head in the sand but knowing how to “turn lemons into lemonade.”
Humor – life needs rejoicing, laughter, lightness. Humor eases the difficulties and helps us to not take ourselves so seriously. Humor lightens the burden of our unmeetable expectations. Liberation from trying to hold-on.
Gratitude – deep and sacred thanks for the opportunities before us. The opportunity to learn, to laugh, to love, to share, to grow and to overcome. The opportunity to stand in awe and wonder of the beauty on this earth. The miracle of our own breath is enough to be grateful for in itself!
There is a saying about becoming rich and it goes like this: “If you want to become rich, surround yourself with rich people” but I say, “If you want to be surrounded with exceptional people, you must strive to become exceptional yourself!”
Most exceptional people don’t think of themselves as such. They simply do the best they can everyday, to be the best person they can be.
By using these very mindful principles you too will be on your way to becoming exceptional!