How to become better than normal

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Muhammad Ali was a one of a kind champion.

For some reason the word normal makes me think of average. Middle of the pack. Not up front with the fast burners, or in the rear with the turtles.

Being average or normal has never been that appealing to me.

Last week I described the reasons why I choose not to be normal. Rather I prefer to be interesting.

In this post, I will briefly describe three ways to become better than normal.

First — you need to know who you really are

It is important that you truly understand who you are.

Not who others think you are, but who you really are.

What is your personality?

How did God design you? What inherent traits did He put in you?

I am a big fan of diagnostic tools. They are a great source of data for personal growth. When it comes to personality tests the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a great starting point.

There are other tools available, but I recommend the MBTI first. This website (https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test) allows you to identify your MBTI.

The site also provides a detailed description of each personality type. The descriptions are well worth reading. I learned a lot when I read mine.

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There are 16 different personality profiles.

Why I had you take the MBTI test

I had both of you take the MBTI test so that you know your personality type.

Some people do not know their MBTI. I did not know mine until much later in life. The earlier you identify your MBTI the better.

This data point provides insight into your personality. It helps you understand what makes you tick. How you respond to certain situations.

Now that you know your MBTI, spend some time reading about it. Learn more about yourself.

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Commander is one of the more interesting personality types.

Why knowing your MBTI matters

Understanding your personality can help make you more successful in many situations. Make the most of these insights.

Just so it is clear — I am not saying that your MBTI is 100% accurate.

After all, we are all unique souls. The entire human population cannot be placed into 16 specific categories.

Rather I believe the MBTI helps provide you a fundamental understanding of your personality.

If you want to be better than normal, you must first know who you are.

The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself. Thales

Second — you need to know your strengths

Everybody is good at something. We all have strengths.

The challenge is that not all of us know our strengths.

There are many different ways to identify what you are good at, to discover your strengths. The tool I recommend is the Stregthsfinder Assessment.

We use this tool at work. After completing the assessment you receive a report that lists your top strengths. The report also includes a detailed description of each strength.

The reason I recommend this tool is its accuracy. I have yet to hear someone complete the assessment and dispute the results.

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I have never seen the same Strengthsfinder results for different people.

Why discovering your strengths matters

You have heard me say it before — life is hard.

Achieving success can be challenging. One way to increase your likelihood of success in this world is to play to your strengths.

Some will say that you should work on improving your weaknesses. Nonsense I say. While working on your weaknesses will improve your performance — there is a better way.

Focus on your strengths instead. Become the best at what you are already good at doing, rather than become mediocre in your weaknesses.

If you don’t agree, then I recommend reading the book about Strengthsfinder. It does a much better job than I will do explaining the theory behind the assessment.

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Quick read that explains the theory.

Third — build your expertise

Now that you know who you are, and what you are good at, it is time to build your expertise. In other words get really, really good at what it is you do.

Become the best you can be.

I don’t care if that is strumming a guitar, playing soccer, running a business, selling real estate, or being a dad. The goal for all these endeavors should be the same — become the best you can be.

It is much easier said than done. Trust me. If being great at something was easy, everybody would be great. The reality is that most of us are not that great at anything.

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Usain Bolt was the world’s best sprinter for years.

Why it is so difficult to be better than normal

It takes a lot of time, energy, and dedication to be better than normal.

It is grueling to become great at anything.

Few us are born with enough God-given talent to simply become great without the enormous amount of practice time required.

Instead, most of us have to spend years and years becoming great. One day at a time, one week at a time, one month at a time, one year at a time.

Given that requirement, mediocrity is more normal.

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Messi spent years practicing his skills before becoming the best.

The pursuit of greatness is worth it

But like I said at the beginning — who wants to be normal?

Who wants to settle for average?

Go above and beyond to become great. It is worth it.

It is the reason I keep practicing over and over the things I am good at in order to become great one day.

It is this pursuit that fuels my motivation. I hope it does the same for you.

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Michael Phelps is well-known for his grueling practice schedule.

The formula for how to become better than normal

It is simple to learn, but hard to follow.

Know who you really are, discover your strengths, and build your expertise.

Let me know how I can help. Hopefully, you prefer to be interesting, to be great, rather than settle for being just normal.

After all, who wants to be normal.

Where to read more

I write a blog for my sons called Doug Keating Letter to Sons. I am starting to share relevant content from my blog here. This is my fifth post on Medium. I hope you enjoyed it. All feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading it

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Originally published at www.lettertosons.com on February 26, 2018.

Leader and learner. Father of two young men. Novice blogger, www.lettertosons.com, Founder of All The Way Leadership! http://www.allthewayleadership.com/

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