If everyone is special then everyone is similar and then ‘special’ is not so special anymore. Special denotes a separation, a distinction from the norm. It is not average. With that in mind, are there people who are special? As the seasoned learner knows well, inherent talent and genes, perhaps our socio-economic platform in life all may serve up advantages setting the stage to easing the ability to be ‘specialized’ in something, like a trade, a craft or a unique ability. Becoming very effective and efficient at something while being able to smoothly adapt to changing ground conditions is a special trait that can be flexed and made muscular according to practice. The more we stick at doing something, especially if we are passionate about it, the more we move into that specialized territory.
Recently, I was perfecting a basic skateboarding ollie (which I managed to do over and over again), yet Brian, who has been practicing street course skating far longer did an ollie while flipping the board in some 360 degree kick flip motion and then landing on it like he was something special. He did it effortlessly, as if it was nothing.
In and of itself, being special is of no significance, nor is pointing this out. What is of value is what we do with our specialization for others. The easy winner is he or she who uses a specialization in healthy ways for the community. In my neck of the woods this implies creating and setting goals that serve a pressing need which needs specialized attention. A parent of a child on the autism spectrum may be looking for the right kind of holistic early intervention for their child and this requires a special kind of person. Not a person who is better than others, but a person with a specialized ability to bring about unique successful outcomes for a specific construct or situation.
Dedication Brings out Specialization
Through practice (experience) I am able to reach new ability levels in skateboarding. Through practice, by listening to the students, the players I coach and learn from, by taking the time to process and reflect I, like others, fail forward, or move forward in my specialization. At first I am doing only what is possible but with consistency and an eye on challenging myself, I am soon doing what I previously thought impossible.
Making the impossible possible is an ocean we can swim in. It is filled with challenge, uncertainty, risk, failure and the possibility of success. With clear purpose and a dedicated heart though our work that use to be just average becomes doomed to succeed and that is quite special.
How are you special for others? What small thing is unique about you that can make the day special for someone else? Sometimes the specialization we bring can be insight, humor or a kind word. Other times it is our presence, how we say what we say. It can be a work we perform, a duty we uphold, a responsibility we adhere to. I believe that everyone is born with something in them that is distinguished. It needs to be drawn out, polished and put into practice.