Since the fundamental structure of society and how the common good can be achieved has been determined, it is important to investigate what separates the 95% from the 5%. The great and extraordinary within any society is few. Thus it is important to understand the characteristics and elements of personal character that differentiate the majority of the population from the exceptional few. What elements make an individual a member of the 5% versus the 95%? What gives the 5% the legitimate authority or right to dominate the 95% for the purpose of the common good? Who are the 5% and how can one recognize them? The answer is found in seven questions which determine the fundamental motivations and character of the exceptional few within society…
1) What do you want out of life?
Yes, this seems like a very basic question, but one would be surprised by the amount of people, young and old, who have no idea what they hope to get out of life or what their purpose is, if any. If you do know, the question is ultimately is what you want a personal good or a public good? Is your vision to make yourself rich and famous, or to help others, and contribute to the protection, sustainment, and improvement of society? Are you looking to take from society, or add to it? A key characteristic of the ignorant is first, what they want out of life is a selfish good, with little value to the overall community, if not completely detrimental to its overall health and stability, and two, what they feel they want out of life is not what they REALLY want out of life. Meaning, what they think they want is not actually what they want. Compare this to the problems facing the ignorant masses that continually and willingly behave and operate contrary to their self and collective interests. The fact is, most people do not know how to get what they want in life, thus they settle for traditional methods of unfettered materialism and self-interest in hopes of achieving the goals and attitudes of success defined for them by the rest of the ignorant majority. Thus, not only is it a problem to not know what one wants out of life, but one can spend their entire life going after something only to realize once they got it that it was not something they wanted in the first place.
Who told you what you wanted out of life? Where did your vision for the world and your role in it come from? Parents? Teacher? Pastor? Society? Taking what you want out of life from someone else is the first way to end up being someone else, and falling short of any expectation of greatness. Most importantly, listening to someone’s vision for you means that if successful, you end up accomplishing the vision of someone else, not an original or innovative idea of your own. Part of one’s legacy of greatness should be in the ability to turn an abstract thought into a physical reality; turn what one believes about themself and their community into actual existence.
What is your vision? Do you dream big or small? Do you strive to stand out from the rest or do you take pleasure and satisfaction in being like everyone else? The greatest achievements are those done for the public (ex. Establish government, create states, or give the people education, culture, language, etc.). An important characteristic of the exceptional is the conscience choice or decision to accept the responsibility of greatness; it begins with the choice to be exceptional. Making the choice to be exceptional requires that one adopts a vision that achieves the highest attainable good.
2) How hard are you willing to work to attain your vision?
The most important thing that separates those who are great from ordinary people is work ethic; great people and those who accomplish great tasks work harder than everyone else. People fail in their ability to accomplish their goals first, because what they want is ridiculous and unworthy of expending any serious effort, two, what they want is NOT what they actually want (a key characteristic of the ignorant), and finally, they are not willing to put in the time and effort, or make the sacrifices necessary to accomplish their goals or achieve greatness. People want a lot of things: they want to lose weight, go to law or medical school, quit smoking, etc., but once faced with the reality of what it takes to accomplish these things, or when it gets to the actual doing part, most people will be unwilling to do what it takes. They want to accomplish a task but they want to expend as little amount of time and effort as possible. Thus they eventually look to take short cuts, get rich quick schemes, costly surgeries and other methods to take hard work out of the equation. This gets us to the next question…
3) How do you plan on getting what you want?
Do you have an organized, clear-cut plan on attaining your vision or do you spend your life waiting for the “moment”? Do you have a socially acceptable way of getting what you want or are you planning on taking the easy road (perhaps an immoral or unrighteous path)? Once people decide what they want in life, which for a majority of the population means fulfilling their materialistic needs and fetishes, they attempt to accomplish their goals by taking the shortest route possible; looking to exploit every possible advantage and loophole to circumvent the hard work and effort it actually takes to accomplish great things. What the ignorant want out of life is meaningless, short-lived, and personal, they are not willing to work very hard to get it, and thus, they develop and conspire a terribly ineffective plan of short-cuts and questionable behavior to get what they want out of life. On the contrary, exceptional people want to provide a public service and attain the highest possible good, they are willing to work harder than everyone else to get it, and thus, they are committed to a disciplined plan of consistent work ethic to attain their vision.
4) Do you plan on being mediocre?
If so, that’s ok. The majority of the population is mediocre and perfectly ok with it. They thrive in mediocrity where the expectations and standards are low. In fact, the great and extraordinary people of the world need mediocre people just like you. Everyone has a role to play in society; the role of the extraordinary is to lead by example and govern, and the role of the mediocre is to allow them to govern without obstructing justice and do the “nuts and bolts” labor that produces goods and resources for society. Every team needs quality no-name players in the trenches who have no interest in being out-front, understand that it’s not their place, and more importantly, do not impede the progress of the team by getting in the way of the person whose responsibility it is to be out-front and lead. Thus, the keys are: if you plan on being mediocre, that is ok, just do not impede the progress of those who are not mediocre or who are trying to be extraordinary. Society needs average people and their role in society is valuable. The great and extraordinary could not accomplish great things without you.
5) What does it mean to be extraordinary?
What makes one extraordinary is first: what they want out of life is a public good; done for the stability, protection, and improvement of society. They have a big vision and a goal to attain the highest possible good. At their foundation is the drive to be great; it’s a decision that they made or chose to accept for themselves. Second, they work harder than everyone else. They understand that to accomplish great things takes great effort and sacrifice. While the rest of society is unwilling to make the kind of sacrifices necessary to accomplish greatness, extraordinary people commit themselves entirely to attaining their vision. Third, since they work harder than everyone else to attain their vision, they have a clear, yet flexible, plan that they are committed to, and are realistic in what it takes to accomplish it. They are willing to take chances when fortune presents itself, but understands there are no short-cuts to greatness; you put in the work, commit yourself, have a plan, and devote yourself to following it through to the end. An important characteristic of the extraordinary is that they despise mediocrity. Not that they despise the majority of the people who happen to be mediocre, only that they despise being associated with mediocrity and the promotion of mediocre values. The last thing they want is to be victims of guilt by association with a mediocre, selfish, and materialistic society from which they are fleeing and attempting to liberate simultaneously. Additionally, when you promote mediocrity as if it’s the good, and reward mediocrity, the drive for greatness and the will to be extraordinary is diminished. It’s ok to be mediocre and average; again, the great people of this world and society needs them, but mediocrity should not be celebrated and cannot be promoted at the expense of the common good. Finally, extraordinary people commit themselves to greatness whether they have to do it alone or not; they set out to accomplish their vision of the world with no inhibitions about any ensuing loneliness or lack of appreciation from society. Hated or not, appreciated or shunned, extraordinary people exercise any and all means to achieve greatness. Achieving the highest possible good is good for its own sake, not for any appreciation that one may receive from society. The reward of attaining one’s vision is its own reward.
6) Can you do it alone?
Can you accomplish great things without a “pat on the back” or the praise of others? Are you unable to achieve what you want because “someone” is missing from your life? If you cannot attain your vision or accomplish great things because of lack of companionship, or because you’re single and lonely, you have committed yourself to a life of mediocrity. Many times in life there will not be anyone to congratulate you, reward you, or offer you praise and encouragement when you need. Thus, one must always be motivated and inspired, recognizing their worth and contribution, without recognition or appreciation from others. The road to greatness is a long and, mostly, lonely one. And that’s ok. Part of the rewards of greatness is setting the standard or creating a path of your own for others to follow. To genuinely and sincerely know thyself to the point where you can successfully overcome any and all adversity that one may encounter along the path to greatness requires that you spend long periods of time in isolation so as to not become dependent or attached to the affection of others. It is in these periods of isolation where the decision to be great is made, and knowledge of one’s boundaries can be investigated.
7) People will hate you no matter what…
The exceptional few expect and overcome the hatred and despotism of others. Do not let a fear of hatred or being unpopular keep you from attaining your vision. Life is not a popularity contest and those willing to live without the acceptance and gratification of others will find themselves closer to achieving greatness than those who cannot succeed without the love and support of others. What it takes to accomplish the highest good (common good) generally means shaking the people out of their comfort zone and making them uncomfortable at first, which will ultimately lead to unfavorable opinions towards those responsible. If you’re too worried about what others think of you and have a fear of being disliked, then accept a life of mediocrity and allow those with the courage to take bold stances and actions lead and be great for your benefit and the overall benefit of society.