What is personal exceptionalism?


Personal exceptionalism refers to individuals' belief that they are inherently special and destined for unique outcomes beyond the norm of their peer group. This concept contrasts with arrogance and excessive self-confidence by reflecting a sense of extraordinary capability without unnecessary ego.

In the context of startup founders, explains that personal exceptionalism involves taking significant personal risks and making unconventional choices that lead to outstanding achievements. These individuals often critically evaluate themselves and their work, aiming for exceptional outcomes 1.

further emphasizes that individuals with high personal exceptionalism believe their odds of success are different from those of their peers. These people are often highly coachable and exhibit a strong growth mindset, contributing to their potential as top performers 2.

Therefore, personal exceptionalism is a crucial trait for those aiming for success in highly competitive fields, as it motivates them to surpass average expectations and continuously strive for excellence.

Personal Exceptionalism and Arrogance

Michael Dearing discusses the importance of personal exceptionalism in founders and how it distinguishes from arrogance. He emphasizes that personal exceptionalism is about breaking out of the bounds of normal and achieving unique outcomes, while arrogance is easily identified through the people they attract and their networking behavior.


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