|Dedicated to Martin Luther King|
an ordinary man who changed the world
Just Be Ordinary
Our society worships celebrity. It seems wherever we turn we are being told that we must be on TV to be exceptional. In reality, you are actually more interesting, meaningful, and special than most celebrities. I know, because I’ve met, lived, and worked with them.
I worked for many years in the music business. I met famous people and even worked with a few ‘celebrities.’
Here’s what I learned about fame:
1. Authenticity is rare: Many famous people are very private and isolated. The reason is most people kowtow and kiss up to you. It’s hard to know if someone likes you or just likes your status.
2. Honesty is rare: Not many people will tell you how it is. They want to groom your ego. This may sound great. But people need honesty to develop trust and maintain sanity.
3. Deep satisfaction is rare: Fame is a game of comparison. There is always someone more famous. There is always a bigger tour. Even though they are catered to, very often ‘famous’ people aren’t happy.
Whether or not someone is famous it's their ability to be ordinary that sets them apart. By far the most amazing people I've ever met have been ordinary people first and last.
What does it mean to be ordinary?
Being ordinary is about being human. Being ordinary is realizing that talent alone doesn’t make greatness. Being ordinary is a vital step on the path of transformation.
Being ordinary doesn’t mean resigning yourself to fate. It doesn’t mean giving up. Being ordinary means relying on your humanity.
What makes people like Mother Teresa, Ghandi, and Martin Luther King amazing is how ordinary they were.
None of them were super human. They were ordinary people who were devoted, passionate, and wouldn’t give up.
Don’t Be Superman
Trying to be super human doesn’t work. Just look at Lance Armstrong, or Barry Bonds. What If they had accepted their lives and their abilities without enhancement?
Would they would have been amazing figures of sport? Probably. Maybe not as amazing, but they would have achieved great things.
But instead they tried to be something more and ended up being something less.
Being ordinary is about embracing the everyday. It’s about affirming our life, just as it is.
Embracing the ordinary is a skill. Here are 3 tips to help you be more exceptionally ordinary today:
1. Stop Comparing
We only get into trouble, when we compare ourselves with others. Ordinary life can seem disappointing compared with a semi-scripted television show. But ordinary life is extraordinary.
That’s one problem with comparison. When we compare, we always find ourselves lacking. When we compare we put others on a pedestal.
I would encourage everyone to stop comparing. Only compare if it motivates to go further. Just remember it usually does the opposite.
Run your race. Train the way you need to. Don’t worry about what that other person is doing at the gym. Focus on the work you have to do. Because only you can do it.
2. Practice Satisfaction
In the U.S. it seems like being dissatisfied is a pass time. We proclaim our preferences loudly and proudly. We complain, we sue, and we act offended.
We don’t have to do this. Instead, we can learn to be satisfied with less. When we learn to be satisfied, we learn to be content.
However, we have to practice satisfaction.
Try being satisfied with the substitute yoga teacher. Try being satisfied without your iPod on a run. Try being satisfied with your performance, even if it isn’t perfect.
3. Express Gratitude
Write down one thing you are grateful for everyday. Sit down with your partner, friend, or family member and tell them why you are grateful for them in detail.
Say thank you to servers, bus drivers, and most importantly yourself.
Thank yourself for running, for doing your best to eat right, for trying something new, and for transforming your life.
These 3 simple things will change how you look at your life, how you feel about your life, and how you live your life.
Be amazingly ordinary, because it takes many ordinary people to change the world. It takes one ordinary person to transform their life. That ordinary person is you.