10 Common Traits In Uncommon People

By Craig Hysell


People choose to pursue mediocrity (and it is a choice) for four reasons:

  1. They have no idea what they want to do with their life
  2. They have no idea how to do what they want to do with their life
  3. They have an idea but are afraid to try
  4. They have an idea, they “tried” it and “it didn’t work” so they quit

Mediocrity is easy. It’s comfortable. And it’s bullshit. The pursuit of commonality and the avoidance of adversity, criticism and the unknown are the surest possible way to die without expressing your full potential. Or worse, to die feeling like a failure. Is that you?

Here are 10 Common Traits in Uncommon People:

  • Uncommon people believe they have a purpose, know their “Why” and live their dream. Think about that. Do you know why you’re here, do you have enough balls to live your most passionate calling and do you know what conviction(s) you will fall back on when things get hard? To establish these answers you must accumulate life experiences and then sit down in the quiet and think. There is no timetable on this accumulation and introspection. It could take years or decades. It is constant.
  • Uncommon people are not absent of fear, they just do not let fear make their life become absent. Fear exists for all of us. But fear is bullshit. It is not real. It exists only in our minds. When you face your fears daily, you conquer fear. You realize that fear is indeed bullshit. It is the main control mechanism for commonality. You must not let fear, any and all fear, hold you back from pursuing your purpose.
  • Uncommon people practice self-mastery. Uncommon people work relentlessly at mastering their mind, body, emotion and spirit (the four pillars that make up your life). They harness these things through daily study and practice. They understand that without a strong mind, all else will fail. They are patient. They enjoy The Process. They are positive. They structure the development and awareness of these four pillars- their emotional content- into a daily practice. They reflect upon these four pillars daily.
  • Uncommon people are self-reliant. This does not mean that uncommon people do not ask for help, on the contrary, being part of a team is vital to growing and sharing larger success. To be self-reliant is to trust that your critical eye, your logic, your reason and your wisdom are tools enough to help you continue to grow. This is not absolutism. Absolutism is folly. This is the ability to understand what is worthless to you and what is not, no matter what the crowd may think, and pursue this relentlessly.
  • Uncommon people have an unwavering discipline. You cannot learn anything worthwhile if you are not devoted to it fully. Uncommon people “burn the boats”* and go all-in. Uncommon people are disciplined with work, with rest and with play. They make time for all of it and they are fully present at each exploration. This is a lifetime pursuit.
  • Uncommon people are obsessed with the cultivation of their purpose. Uncommon people do not bitch about trivial things. Nothing matters except what matters. They are focused on where they want to go, paying attention to each deliberate step along the way. Silly things like the accumulation of stuff and then complaining when the stuff isn’t just right or gossiping about others is not part of an uncommon person’s life.

  • Uncommon people are extremely durable. Uncommon people remain undeterred by setbacks, failure or defeat. They recognize these things as learning tools and nothing more. They do not falter or waver for long. They do not wallow in self-loathing. They possess supreme confidence in their ability to continue forward. They persevere. No matter what. They are fully accountable for everything that happens in their life. With accountablity comes control and with control comes the ability to change.
  • Uncommon people inspire change. Uncommon people inspire others to follow suit. They show what is possible and make it possible not only for others to come with them, but for others to improve upon what they have provided. Uncommon people hack out the avenue for others to become uncommon as well.
  •  Uncommon people act. Uncommon people understand that you are what you do. That’s it and that’s all. Whatever you are doing, no matter what you are thinking or dreaming, is you who are. Best to link your actions with your dreams and your purpose. Best to pursue greatness daily. Best to ask of yourself often, “Is this the best I can do?” Otherwise: a thought without action is simply a wish.
  • Uncommon people do not give a shit what others think. It is tough in the beginning to find your voice. As soon as you begin to talk, others want to talk over you, critique you, tell you how you should do things, twist your voice or use your message against you. Uncommon people persevere through this. They learn not to give a shit about what others might think and realize that you cannot be all things to all people. Uncommon people speak their mind and follow their heart. Their honesty, especially if clear, concise and principled, attracts others who are like-minded. And things begin to expand, slowly at first and then… BOOM!

You must have fun with the practice of becoming uncommon. It’s serious business to be sure, but if it isn’t something you love and enjoy, what’s the point?

You must practice uncommonality daily. All the time. You must be patient. You must shut out negativity and seek the mentorship and guidance of others who have been there before you or teach what you desire to know. You must look long and hard at yourself and those around you. Is this who you want to be? You must be accountable for everything, and I mean everything, in your life. It’s all, every little bit of it, up to you. Any thought to the contrary is commonality in its many devious forms.

Listen. Observe. Act. Adapt. Evolve. Repeat.

Uncommonality should be a lifetime pursuit. There is no timetable save this: realize that you are going to die one day and you have no idea when that day will come. There is no time to waste. Meet your death with the satisfaction that you gave this life all you had to give. That will be enough to die well, perhaps even unafraid.


*When Alexander the Great crossed the Hellespont into Asia Minor with his army he ordered the ships burned. The message was clear, there was no turning back. What followed was one of the most impressive military campaigns ever recorded. It lasted ten years.

Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects to this incredible feat was when Alexander’s army came across ascetics praying in the street and blocking the army’s passage. The ascetics would not be interrupted and Alexander was summoned. One of Alexander’s generals pointed to Alexander and proclaimed to the ascetics, “Do you know who this is? He is the conqueror of all the world. Who are you to stand in his way?”

To which one of the ascetics replied, “We have conquered the need to conquer the world.” 

It is said that Alexander spent the rest of the day with these men and upon returning to his army remarked that if he could be anything in the world, he would choose to be with those naked men practicing uncommonality in the street.

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