The exception does not prove the rule


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Excellence is often seen as a rare occurrence. Everyone knows the phrase: "it is the exception that proves the rule". We are so used to it, that when we see an exceptional performance or person, maybe doing something we would like to do, we treat them as "exception" to the rule of being average. Wrong. And Dangerous. Exceptions DO NOT prove rules. They DENY them.

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The exception does not prove the rule

  1. 1. The exception DOES NOT prove the rule Becoming Exceptional in a flat world
  2. 2. A popular proverb says: the exception proves the rule. An effective way to remain average and never express authenticity and excellence.
  3. 3. If we dropped a ball and this, instead of falling to the ground, shot up to the sky, do you really think scientists would shrug and say: “this is simply the exception that proves the rule!”?
  4. 4. Until 1954 athletes believed that running one mile in less than 4 minutes was impossible. Nobody did it, so everyone thought the human limit had been reached. No Exception
  5. 5. Image  courtesy  of:  Sura  Nualpradid   Then Roger Bannister showed up. In 1954 he went down in history running the mile in 3’59’’4. He had just become the exception that DENIED the rule.
  6. 6. 6 weeks later an Australian runner beat his record. A year later, twenty more athletes managed to run the mile under 4 minutes. Today, good high-school athletes manage to stay under 4 minutes. Runners simply saw that the exception was the new rule. The old rule had become an undesirable exception.
  7. 7. Artists that wow us, writers that make us dream, entrepreneurs working hard on something they deeply believe in, volunteers that help those in need are all exceptions. Who made the Exception a rule of life.
  8. 8. We do not need to be exceptional in everything, and we do not need to be different just for the sake of it. Being authentic, though, means being an exception– it means expressing our uniqueness in a world that risks to be flat.
  9. 9. Sometimes we do something exceptional and we treat it like an exception. “I got lucky”, “I didn’t expect to make it!”, “I’m surprised with myself!”, “It will never happen again!”. The rule, according to many of us, is that we need to stay average and avoid expressing our true potential. Many unexpressed artists. A real shame.
  10. 10. One day Erik Weihenmayer went into a restaurant to ask for a job as a kitchen hand. “You’ll never make it boy,” answered the restaurant owner “go home and let someone take care of you.” That was the rule. Erik did not follow it, climbed all the highest peaks in each continent and reached the top of Mount Everest. Oh, I almost forgot…
  11. 11. •  …. Erik is blind.
  12. 12. So stop treating your dreams, you life projects and your challenges as exceptions. He has a great job…he knew people He opened a company …. He was lucky She is a successful designer…. She has talent and I don’t. She wrote a book… I don’t have time for it. If the average is your rule, you will not have the change to express your full potential.  
  13. 13. If you see someone doing something exceptional, something you would like to do, don’t treat it as an exception. Do as any good artist would do. Imitate her. Imitate excellent behaviours to become an exception. So that your personal rule is to give all you’ve got in something you believe in and to be authentic.
  14. 14. Every dream, challenge, life project of great value need, to be reached, “exceptional” actions. 1.  Think about your project. 2.  Find exceptional behaviours you need. 3.  Turn them into habits. 4.  Make the exception a rule to live by.
  15. 15. Reaching great goals and being excellent is not matter of “winning that competition” once. Excellence is a habit. It is a rule of life we follow every single day. We can be artist. Or we can follow the rule that makes us bury our authenticity.
  16. 16. The choice is yours. Have a nice trip
  17. 17.   Lorenzo Paoli Coaching for Highly Performing Habits Excellence is a habit.   www.novaxia .it Milan office - Tel.+39 02 87343236 Pesaro office - Tel. +39 0721 1790232