I’m American but I’ve lived
in the Czech Republic since 1995. Now, I have a Czech husband and a son and you could say I have a unique perspective on Czech society – as both an insider and an outsider. I’d like to share my observations with you.
normal Being ‘normal’ seems to
be really important to Czechs. But, we all have an idea of what ‘normal’ is, depending on the groups we belong to. This ‘normal’ affects how we dress, the gadgets we buy, how we act and think.
Flickr Elvert Barnes …or a
banker group. The people in these groups tend to look like each other because the group tells them what is ‘normal’.
Flickr Rich Lem So, you
could say that ‘normal’ is being like everyone else. It’s worrying about what others think of you, it’s trying to fit in and not stand out. I think you should start rejecting ‘normal’.
Flickr tamara ‘Exceptional’ is not
caring what other people think about you. It’s going your own way, doing your own thing. Being exceptional is standing out. And, I think it makes for a much richer and more interesting life.
four changes I think there
are four changes you can make to start rejecting ‘normal’ and start being more exceptional. (Although this talk is directed at a Czech audience, I think the changes can be applied everywhere.)
Flickr benimoto At many events,
I see lots of people just standing by themselves or only staying with their friends. They are missing out on a great opportunity to meet new people.
It’s not what you know.
It’s who you know. This statement is usually talking about succeeding in business, but I think it can apply to life in general. Meeting new people can really enrich your life.
Flickr Stephanie Giner But, most
people are afraid to meet new people because they’re afraid they will be rejected. It can happen, but remember that some people are just jerks. Don’t worry about it, just move on and find great people.
Flickr Phil Moore Don’t let
the fear of rejection hold you back from meeting fun and interesting people. This will make for a much more interesting life.
Flickr Mark Nye Mr. Jones
could be your neighbor. But, he has a better job, is in better shape and his kids go to a better school. ‘Schadenfreude’ says that if his house burns down, you would feel better about this situation.
Flickr imagemanhunter But ‘keeping up
with the Joneses’ is all about you. What can you do to have a better life? The focus is on making things happen for you not hoping something bad happens to Mr. Jones. This is the reaction to envy I want you to have.
Flickr kk+ Czechs have an
amazing talent for finding the negative in almost every situation. It’s strange for me because I’m just a naturally sunny, optimistic person. I believe that being positive and friendly can affect the experiences you have.
Flickr jon.hayes I believe in
being especially nice to ‘invisible people’. These are people that we see every day and we don’t think they have much power. They are cashiers at the grocery store…
Back in 1997, I took
a taxi home after my birthday party in the city. The taxi driver and I had a great conversation, even with limited language skills on both sides. About 20 minutes after he dropped me off, I heard him calling to me outside my window. I looked out and there he was holding up the camera I had left in his car. He had driven all the way back to return it to me. Amazing things can happen when you expect the positive from people.