a note to the anti-special crusaders

I’ve been seeing a trend develop lately…one that’s gained a flurry of articles, blogs and talk show topics.

I’ll call it the, “I’m Average Movement.”

My generation gets a lot of flak, from not only our elders, but from our own peers as well. We’re told that we’re self-entitled. Or that we’re lazy with no real drive. But most often of all, we’re told we think we’re special, when we’re not.

I don’t know about you – but I think I’m special. In fact, I think most people are. I’m not talking about the “everything should be handed down to me on a silver platter” kind-of-special, but rather the intrinsic self-worth of knowing you’re not ordinary. That you’re inherently unique and nobody else in the world is like you.

I’m very lucky to have the parents I have. Growing up, I was always encouraged to be whatever I dreamed I could be. Over the years, I have gone through my phases, like every other child. From astronaut and ballerina, to archaeologist and veterinarian – my parents gave me the encouragement and support I needed every step of the way. They told me I was special, and they also told me that dreams don’t come easy – they come with a lot of hard work and due diligence.

It was with their help that I was able to take risks, make mistakes and fall. I’d try something and realize it wasn’t the right fit and then move on to accomplishing my next big dream. I knew there were things about me that made me different from everyone else…things that made me special that would allow me to find my niche and blossom.

Webster’s defines special as:

spe·cial [spesh-uhl]

adjective

1. of a distinct or particular kind or character: a special kind of key.

2. being a particular one; particular, individual, or certain: You’d better call the special number.

3. pertaining or peculiar to a particular person, thing, instance, etc.; distinctive; unique: the special features of a plan.

4. having a specific or particular function, purpose, etc.: a special messenger.

5. distinguished or different from what is ordinary or usual: a special occasion; to fix something special.

With so many variations and understandings of one word, it’s hard to imagine how each and every person isn’t some kind of special. I’m not condoning the whole, “let’s give every kid a trophy, even if they lost” trend – but I am saying that each person should feel they are capable of achieving their own personal idea of greatness and should not ever settle for being mediocre.

Just as special comes in many forms and packages, so does greatness. You don’t need to be a Nobel Prize winner or the next president of the United States. My dad always says to us that his greatest accomplishment was having three kids with the courage to pursue their dreams.

Whether your idea of personal greatness is raising a family in a small suburban town in Pennsylvania like my dad, or traveling to central Africa to educate impoverished children like a friend of mine did, or finding a career where you can advocate on behalf of animals around the world like I was fortunate enough to – I am a firm believer that we are the creators of our own destiny and fully believe that with hard work and a never-accept-defeat attitude – we can make our dreams a reality if our dreams are based in reality.

So I’m choosing to ignore the anti-special crusaders who have accepted defeat by choosing mediocrity.

I am a certain-kind of special. And so are you.

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