You’re Not That Special

I’ve always been led to believe that I’m special. Perhaps this is a side effect of being the only child to a single mother or being the first in the family to graduate from college or from winning the grand prize in middle school for my essay on Uncle Tom’s Cabin (granted, no one else finished the book). Whatever the reasons, I’m old enough now to understand that most of us have been conditioned to think basically the same way. Then it clicked one day while hitting the pipe and watching The Incredibles; if we all feel special, can any of us truly be special?

It’s not my goal to rob anyone of feeling unique; we all have individual talents to offer the world and no one can tell our story better than we can. However, when I committed to the idea that I might not be that special I realized something very important — I actually have to work to get to where I want to go.

It’s kind of a freeing concept. There’s no mystery to success, just persistent, annoying, mostly unseen hard work mixed with fortuitous timing and the ability to not be an asshole when someone gives you a chance.


I hear you saying, “But Julian, I really am special.” You know what? You might be; but if there’s any doubt, I’ve developed a few ways to tell if you’re actually more special than the rest of us.

  1. If you can make a sex tape and parlay that into mainstream relevance, maybe you’re special.
  2. If you drove a better car in high school than all your teachers and you didn’t have to wear a Hot Dog on a Stick uniform to pay for it, maybe you’re special.
  3. If you can read a defense so well that you don’t have to read a book, maybe you’re special.
  4. If you share the same blood and last name with someone famous or at least wealthy, maybe you’re special by association.
  5. If you’ve ever been in the drug store and someone just offered you Hollywood representation (and it wasn’t a ploy for a quick handy j in the stock room), maybe you’re Lana Turner.
  6. (If you’re a man reading this and you know who Lana Turner is, maybe you’re gay).
  7. If you feel as though life owes you something, maybe you’re confusing special with delusional.

For those of you who, like me, are chasing dreams or just trying to survive without killing somebody on your job, remember that you’re not that special. Everyone has stress. Everyone poops. And we’ve all been told by our mothers at one time that the world actually revolves around us. So suck it up and put in the work it will take to help you differentiate yourself from the pack.

Now, the next time someone comes up to you on some bullshit, review the checklist and see if anything applies. If not, you know what to tell them.

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