I am a beautiful and unique snowflake... and so are you.


I've been helping a friend of mine plan a video application for an internship with VICE magazine. The first thing that came up in the process is that it's often hard to talk about yourself without feeling like you're bragging. In response, this quote came to mind:

"It's not bragging if you can back it up."
                             -Muhammad Ali-

My friend is amazing and VICE would be lucky to have her and I'm ... Well, I'm pretty ok as well ;)

Coming up with answers to questions like "What are you better at than anyone else?" brings up another quotation: 

"You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.  You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile."  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

While this quotation might at first seem harsh it speaks to my journey, to who I am and to what makes me unique. 

I'm a guy who's come a long way to find out that what makes me great is that I'm just like everyone else. My power comes from surrendering the desire to be the greatest and adopting a belief in a shared greatness. 

Like many people I have spent a lot of my life striving to be something special, the irony is that there are few things more common. I don’t think that it’s a stretch to call it a universal desire in human beings.

The problem is that while we strive for “specialness” we know that everyone else is doing the same thing and nothing we do is ever enough. Brene Brown talks about this in one of her TED talks. She says that the challenge many people face is not that they don’t think that they’re good enough, it’s that they don’t feel extraordinary enough. 

It amounts to the same thing and it’s a crushing and debilitating state. 

It’s in recognizing our shared state that we can truly be with our own little corner of the human experience. Being special is an alienating state as it compares to others and demands that you not be similar to them. It is a state that demands that you be set apart. 

Being great however has a little more leeway. Are you great because you’ve done something others can’t do or haven’t done? Perhaps, but I think that greatness is found in people striving to grow themselves and push at the boundaries of their experience and their potential.

 A baby taking its first steps is doing something almost every other human being on the planet has done and yet it’s an exciting moment, every time.  We don’t have to be world beaters to be worthy, we just have to be us and once that sets in, we’re free to be great. 

Once we surrender to our sameness, we are freed to be fully ourselves, ‘a beautiful and unique snowflake’. 
Now... how does that play out in who I am?

A friend who I hadn’t spoken to in nearly a year recently wrote this to me after we had a short talk: 

“You know, Sometimes I think you are an angel sent to me from on high. You pop your head up out of nowhere when i am at my darkest and soothe my tortured soul.”

Another friend called me “the most stubbornly open bastard he’d ever known” after being a stand for him to take care of something in his life that led to a renewed relationship with his mother after a period of them drifting apart.

In both instances, all I did was show them who they were through my eyes. I mirrored their higher selves and they saw it for themselves. I saw the greatness in them as I see it in others.

I don't think that everyone is BEING great but I'm a stand that they have greatness in them. 

Now on to the blog challenge questions from the Suitcase Entrepreneur:

Q: What are you better at than anyone else?
A: I’m better at connecting random elements than other people. I see connections where others don’t and then I make bridges. 

Q: What do you enjoy doing the most?
A: Next to sex, sailing, and SCUBA diving, I enjoy seeing people stepping into who they really are and being a part of that process is my favourite thing in the world. 

Q: What do (or could) you provide that no one else is providing?
 A: One thing that sets Life Athletics apart is that I’m not pushing any one particular agenda other than that life is yours to craft and it can be trained just like a muscle. I don’t have to run down anyone else’s system for getting fit, or handling finances or building relationships, because any system can work inside of the Life Athletics model. 

Q: What annoys people the most about your industry or blog area?
A: What annoys ME the most is that advice givers are fighting each other with smiles on their faces. There’s a lot of chest thumping in the “self help” industry as people are trying to carve niches out for themselves by claiming that their methods are better than others. I also dislike the connotation that something’s wrong with you if you’re seeking “self help”.  People are great and are entitled to work on every area of themselves, be it mental fitness, financial fitness or relationship fitness the same shameless way that they might train their bodies. 

Q: What is remarkable about you?
A: I’ve been weak and I’ve been strong and I’ve been weak again. There’s strength to be found in going through a range of human experiences and continuing in an effort to grow and develop. In the face of crippling self doubt I have built myself into someone I’m very happy to be.

Q: Do you have an unusual combination of elements?
A: I’d say that this is my defining characteristic... I’m an athlete/artist, Half Nicaraguan, half Canadian, giant kid. 

Q: Do you have a big personality?
 A: I’m 6’6”, everything about me is big. When I want to, I can fill a room with my personality, but I also like to stand back and observe.

I am unique and different because I provide a mirror for people's greatness which no one else in my field provides. No one else can or will provide this because they reflect the world in a different way. I an a beautiful and unique snowflake... and so are you.