We have all heard of those people that are so insanely great at something that we categorize them as flukes or outliers. We describe them with phrases like:

“Well, yeah she can do that but she is the exception”
“Yeah he did it, but he is crazy”
“Well everyone except for her, she doesn’t count”

People that come to mind include:

  • Thomas Edison
  • Britney Spears
  • Lance Armstrong

Somehow these people have attained outlier status and as such don’t follow the same rules that everyone else does. The popular perception of them becomes less that of a real person and more that of an idea.

Yesterday it occurred to me that this is a trait that is not only reserved for celebrities. It also can happen to everyday normal people in abnormal circumstances.

Be it the person in the office who is just insanely good at getting through e-mail or the person at the gym who can lift twice as much as anyone else. These people make themselves “real life outliers” through natural talent and an incredible amount of practice and determination. Once they become “that guy”, they no longer need to follow the same finite rules that govern the rest of the world.

What gives! I want that super power! How do they do it?

Well I think I have an answer. While attaining outlier status is possible for anyone, actually moving toward it is extremely difficult. It takes something more than just a lot of inspiration, it takes the determination and work ethic of someone with sweaty, bloody and uncomfortable passion. It takes risk and it takes danger.

Chris Guillebeau is a writer that I admire who is just about to complete his mission of visiting every country in the world. While others talked about it, he worked the system, built the company and ignored the excuses that prevent the rest of us from doing the same. He became an outlier.

Steve Kamb (of NerdFitness) is a new traveler who left his job, traveled the world and started a rebellion that is producing real fitness results all over the world. He became an outlier.

John Cole is a talented Internet Marketer. He pushed himself to the limit, put himself to work and produced insanely great marketing results for his employers. Last month he landed his dream job running Internet Marketing for the NFL. He became an outlier.

These people aren’t celebrities (yet!), instead they are the outliers who blend in with the rest of us. But they are not like us, they are able to ignore the laws of nature that hold most of us back. They have become the type of people who others simply shrug off as exceptions.

They attained outlier status and are proof that this possibility (and its many advantages) are open to anyone with the right mixture of passion and work ethic.

This brings me to you. You have all of the raw ingredients necessary to become a changing force in the world. Bursting out of the league that the rest of us occupy is a possibility. It is just a possibility to required an uncommon amount of work and dedication. It requires moving forward when your brain screams for you to stop, taking risks that will scare your loved ones and putting yourself in dangerous situations. Even still, the potential is there.

You have a chance to change the world for the better. Take it. We need you, we need more outliers!

You may have noticed that I updated the look and feel of this blog. I am really excited about the update and enjoy the fact that this site is evolving in step with my own personal life list journey. I want to give full credit to Calin, the designer on this project for creating the best blog layout I have ever seen. (I am a bit biased, the new layout includes a giant photo of me on the homepage ;-p) His design skills are only trumped by his even more impressive Calgary SEO skills.