Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

The Reason to be Secret and Incredible

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In the series Secretly Incredible You, I tell you the stories of amazing people. People whose lives do not fit the category of normal.  People that blow me away.

Their lives, especially their decision to live for something bigger than themselves, inspire me to do more with my life. And so I have to ask myself, “What does it take to be Secretly Incredible?”

The title is also descriptive and gives us the two main features of the stories.

photo by Trey Ratcliff (creative commons)

They are Secret

Over the last two weeks, our presidential candidates have made certain that you are fully aware of every good thing each one of them has ever done. Everything.

In telling their stories, and why you should vote for them, they put themselves on a stage. Spotlights focused. Speeches given. Applause signs held up.

Just in case you didn’t catch how amazing they are, they drop thousands of balloons at the end.

The stories of our contest winners didn’t include any stages or lights or speeches or applause. Although I wish there had been a few balloons. Their goal isn’t secrecy, but such stories are likely to be so.

The reason is because their motivation is something greater than being seen or heard by you.

For each of these stories, the motivation is for the good of people who are in need. The poor. The oppressed. The abused. The unwanted. The unreached.

The goal is to love those that society ignores. The marginalized.

And this is why you have never heard the stories of each person highlighted here. They don’t choose their story for you to know who they are. They do it for those who need them to do it.

When our stories are about something that really matters, especially something that matters forever, we don’t need lights and balloons.

Seeing one person benefit from the work is reward enough.

They are Incredible

Dictionary.com defines incredible this way:

1. so extraordinary as to seem impossible

Really good stories, the incredible ones, can be described as improbable. Unlikely. Inconceivable. Absurd. Preposterous. Impossible.

If the work was easy, anyone, and I hope everyone, would do it.

If the work was easy, every orphans would be adopted. If the work was easy, everyone on the planet would have clean water. If the work was easy, everyone of our neighbors would have enough food and clothes. If the work was easy, everyone in Africa would have adequate healthcare.

If the work was easy, everyone in the world would know about Jesus.

But these stories are about people who, knowing how impossible the task is, choose to do it anyways.

Everything inside of them urges them to quit. To give up. To be practical. To be realistic. But they don’t.

It would be easy for us to label them as heroes who are made of something different than us, because it would let those of us who don’t feel like heroes off the hook. They aren’t supernatural. They just understand what is important in life.

Such people are doing the incredible for the same reason it is a secret. The work is too important not to do.

Seeing one person benefit from the work is reason enough to tackle the impossible.

Is Your Work Secretly Incredible?

None of the heroes in the stories set out to be secretly incredible. But their stories are because they focused not on becoming, but on loving.

Love is the only reason you will hand your life over without the expectation of reward or acknowledgement. Love is the only reason you will try the impossible for the good of someone else.

You are spending your short time on this earth doing something. Work. Hobbies. Relationships. Sleep. Every day seconds pass that you will never see again.

If you wan to make your time count, don’t focus on what you are doing, but focus on why you do it. Only those who get the “why” right become secretly incredible.

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About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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6 Replies

  1. Have you ever read Start with Why by Simon Sinek? Great book and its about creating the “why” you mentioned.
    Great post Jeremy. It’s always a good reminder to acknowledge that I’m not the greatest thing out there. If there’s one thing I don’t like about a team member I work with, it is if they think of themselves as the highest being that ever existed. In humility comes incredible results because it is so rare these days

  2. I know of Simon Sinek but haven’t read the book. Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. Heady

    Love this: “their motivation is something greater than being seen or heard by you.”

  4. “They focused not on becoming, but on loving.” A great reminder for us all!!

  5. I wrote that because I struggle with it. I want to be seen and heard. And if I focused less on that and more on the work, I could be more incredible.

  6. I love the ‘why’ part Jeremy. It’s what makes people pursue impossible dreams. it’s not about popularity or convenience. Just that someone has to do the job. It’s about obedience, more than ‘calling’.

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