Sunday, January 29, 2006

Curious about Exceptions - To the Rules or Otherwise

“There are no exceptions to the rule that everybody likes to be an exception to the rule.” - Charles Osgood

“How glorious it is - and also how painful - to be an exception.” - Alfred de Musset

I am sure that you have heard it as often as I have
- and have even said it as often - “There is always an exception to the rule.” Yes, as Osgood stated, we all not only like being an exception to the rule, we also feel that we are. This can be both good and helpful or bad and damaging.

Growing up, I was one of those young women who loved horses and horseback riding. I was taught from the beginning that if you were thrown off or fell off your horse for any reason, it was important that you climbed right back on. Otherwise, the next time you rode, you would be apprehensive, and, of course, the horse would know that and take advantage of the situation. This served as a good lesson for leading life with exception.

What do I mean? I feel that anytime we experience a failure or a setback, without exception, we get back up and keep on trying. In most cases, this exception to the norm works. Many give up. I have found, however, in reading about success and successes that a majority of those who succeed have already experienced the pain of failure(s) and just got back up and kept on keeping on.

I like to consider myself an exception, so three weeks ago when I fell down before teaching my three scheduled fitness classes, I got back up and proceeded to teach all three. Not only did I teach them, I tried to keep on working out. After all, I felt that I would heal faster from working out than sitting or lying around (remember, I am an “exception”).

After the pain became unbearable, I went to Sports Medicine, had new x-rays taken, surgery for my hip fracture, and am presently pursuing non-active projects. I am not suggesting that we shouldn’t get back up and keep on trying. I am suggesting, however, that in most cases we should take the time to examine our fall, failure or setback:
  • Is there a better and different direction we should try?
  • Or, do we just need to do some tweaking?
  • What did we learn from this?
  • How can we apply what we learned in the future?
  • What is our attitude? Whining, moaning and groaning won’t get us anywhere.
  • What good will or can come from this?

When I looked up “exception” and “exceptional” I found some interesting quotes, so here are a few:

  • There are two great rules in life, the one general and the other particular. The first is that every one can in the end get what he wants if he only tries. This is the general rule. The particular rule is that every individual is more or less of an exception to the general rule.” - Samuel Butler
  • When the imagination and will power are in conflict, are antagonistic, it is always the imagination which wins, without any exception.” - Emile Coue
  • You can only govern men by serving them. The rule is without exception.” - Victor Kiam
  • Now the medical profession is saying something different. Every one of the doctors without exception is saying, ‘Build muscle.’” - Jack LaLanne
  • With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere.” - C. S. Lewis
  • For example, I tend to personally reward myself for specific acts of exceptional discipline.” - Robert Vaughn

To leave us all with some inspiration, Jean Huston wrote, “I firmly believe that all human beings have access to extraordinary energies and powers. Judging from accounts of mystical experience, heightened creativity, or exceptional performance by athletes and artists, we harbor a greater life than we know.”