5 Counter-Intuitive Traits of Extraordinary People

The bar is shockingly low.

Kyle Chastain


We love to destroy our heroes. Such is the mood of the age, we look for reasons to tear down men and women who do great things in life. If their lives don’t mesh with our modern sensibilities, we take sadistic joy in seeing them crumble.

What does it take to be a great man or woman? This isn’t some esoteric question for scholars and philosophers. The traits you value can make your life rich and full, or leave you empty and meaningless.

In ages past, a person proved their greatness by serving in a worthy cause. By making sacrifices for their family, their beliefs, or their country, a person could build their reputation and secure a place in the halls of communal memory. But with social media, anyone can create and control their public persona.

These days, the bar for becoming an extraordinary person is very low.

As shocking as it may sound, there are only a few traits that separate average people from the extraordinary. They are not easy traits to acquire, but if you do, they can set you apart from the selfie-addicted, inspirational sound bite crowd.

This sets you apart from ninety percent of people

It seems we have lost the single quality that makes civil discourse possible — kindness.

Kindness makes it possible for us to function in society. But as society becomes more individualistic and self-serving, too many people view kindness as a weakness. Kindness has become so rare we celebrate “random acts of kindness” as if they were something special instead of the decent thing to do.

If you want to be an extraordinary person, be a kind person.

I’m not talking about being kind when it’s convenient. I mean showing kindness to the cashier after you’ve been waiting in line for too long. Or being kind to your spouse and kids after a hard day at work. It is no credit to you to show only kindness when it is convenient.

Showing kindness doesn’t mean you allow people to walk all over you with their opinions and agenda. Kind people set boundaries and aren’t afraid to say “no” when they need to.