Seth Godin, Jason Cohen, people locally that I look up to.
One thing stands out to me, that I believe makes them exceptional:
They have learned to question everything around them.
The status quo, new trends, researches, best practices, what people say.
And while questioning it, they try hard to see the argument within a larger context and create their own independent narrative around it.
And I honestly believe this is a key element to improve ourselves in whatever we are doing.
Too often we bluntly believe things that other people say, things that are written on the internet or we continue to go with the narratives that we grew up with.
And a lot of those things are completely wrong, lack important context or are simply fulfilling the hidden agenda of the person who gave us the information.
Either to sell us something or increase their social status.
Or even we subconsciously know that the argument is lacking important details, but it goes along with our own goals so we make ourselves believe it.
Even if it might be wrong.
For whatever new information comes to your head:
Think about it.
Think if it is really the only possible explanation.
Is there even enough data to make any kind of conclusions?
Does the person who we got the information from benefits in any way if he gets us to believe what he is saying?
Practice thinking everything through.
Build your own narrative.
And then execute on it.