I’m a part-time professor on the side. A few weeks ago, during a faculty gathering of about fifty people, we were asked something interesting we had done. I had just finished an obstacle course race called the Warrior Dash and mentioned that to the group. They started clapping and afterwards several people came up to me and asked me about it. Doing this event had made me the center of attention.
The Warrior Dash is a roughly four mile mud run that includes various obstacles. Although they are well attended, they still represent an achievement that most people can’t do. So, running something life this made me look excellent. And everyone — this includes your friends, teachers, parents, and even strangers — naturally wants to know excellent people.
If you look around you, most of the people who are popular are probably talented and excellent in some way. They might be great at sports, natural leaders, or simply beautiful. Whether you like it or not, exceptional beauty is a form of excellence, even if it only requires having great genetics.
If you don’t have an area where you stand out as being excellent, then you’ll need to find a way. Likely you have a few general talents. If so, then it’s time to work hard and become even more talented. If you can’t identify any discernible talents, then you’ll need to find some. To get started, explore your interests and find ways to turn those into talents.
Once you’ve identified a talent, then you’ll have to work to be excellent in those areas. For example, if you love the guitar, then practice like crazy and take lessons. If you are into soccer, then get yourself into the best shape of your life. Whatever you want to shine in, put in the necessary effort.
I’m running the Tough Mudder this weekend. It’s a twelve mile obstacle course that emphasizes team work and donating to charity. You bet it’s going to be fun. It’s also going to make me look good when I tell others about it. What are you doing to become more excellent and popular?