The important thing to remember about statistics is that they describe historical trends. They say nothing about the actual outcome for an individual. That means that while you may never be exceptional, you can still achieve excellence.

First, you need to acknowledge that you are not exceptional. Chances are, you fit well within the cultural norms for your geographical area, socio-economic group, race or ethnicity, and generation. You are not the exception to the rule. Then, you need to figure out what the rules are. Find out what successful people in your chosen field have done that has helped them. Find out what the requirements are for success in your field or at your school. Spend time evaluating your skills, but also your weaknesses. Once you know what is likely to trip you (and others) up as you try to achieve your goals, you can make a plan to avoid disastrous mistakes, a plan for acquiring new skills and habits, and a plan for coping with setbacks.

To take another example from education, it was once thought that if an academic institution wanted to graduate a high number of ill-prepared students, the only way to do this was to lower the academic standards. Certainly, there is nothing the institution can do about a student's prior preparation, short of not admitting them. But recent studies by the Carnegie Institute, among others, have shown that in fact, when a college lowers its academic standards, it loses students. The good students leave because they are bored and frustrated. And the under-prepared leave because they are insulted and frustrated. It has been shown that the only way to graduate many students who are ill-prepared for college work is to maintain rigorous academic standards and provide much additional support for students who need it.

We at The Endowment for Unexceptional Humans believe that with support, and a plan for maintaining that support, everyone can achieve excellence. We are here to support aspirations backed by good plans. If you would like our support in order further your education or to help you create a project, invention, organization, or product, please see our application guidelines on the Apply page.


Perhaps you would like to do good work in the world. Chances are, you cannot save all the starving children, rebuild the infrastructure in poor nations, or solve the debt crisis. You are not that extraordinary. But you are a good-hearted, hard-working unexceptional human. And you too can help. You can do real and lasting good to a person who needs some help by donating to The Endowment for Unexceptional Humans, and seeing your money support an ordinary person who is making a go at success. Please visit our Support page.


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What in the world we're doing

Resilience, perseverance, character, support. Excellence for all.

"We workin on my future. Why you need to know my history?" --Cam'Ron

"Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the world." --Archimedes

"When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to live an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself." --Jacques Cousteau

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©2010 The Endowment For Unexceptional Humans
Amy L Clark, Jeremy P Bushnell, and Scott Thomson.