Friday, August 20, 2010

Anything But Ordinary

I’m just going to ask this up front because it comes to mind. Who makes the rules, or gets to decide on what—in life—is considered ordinary? And what does ordinary even really mean? Cuz, I think the definition varies from person to person.

And really. Does anyone on the planet actually want to be that ordinary person? That boring person? Maybe. Maybe some people do. Most likely, those are the people who are anything but ordinary.

Is it just me, or are we all born with a deeply ingrained need to do something big, with our life, or in our life?

It’s not like we set out to change the world—or at least, not all of us. More likely, we need to do something memorable and special. Something good, so that when we die, people who loved us or knew us can look back and say, hey, that person did this huge, amazing thing. They made a contribution to the world, and we’re all better for it.

Maybe it comes back to not wanting to be ordinary, or boring. The problem is, doing something big, something special, takes not only effort, but courage. And courage doesn’t come easily for all of us.

That doesn’t mean we can’t find courage, just that it might take more effort for some of us to dig it up and put it to use.

Maybe courage is the difference between being ordinary and extraordinary. Courage, mixed with strength. Definitely. It takes a certain amount of courage for an artist to show his work to critics, or for an author to send his or her book to a publisher, agent, or even the reading public. Or think about a musician playing in front of an audience. It takes something we are not born knowing how to use, but which we all have buried somewhere deep down.

Do you agree? Disagree? Is there some other important ingredient that I’m forgetting to throw into the recipe? Because I have to tell you. Right now, I’m that person. I need to make my contribution to the world. I even have some ideas on how to do that. The trouble is I’m terrified. And what if that terror takes over and steals away my resolve before I get it done?

I know I’m not the only one, so spill. It takes something else. What is that thing and where can I get it?


Carolyn V. said...

I think many people have great courage. I also think it's easy to forget to use that courage and all of us have to reach down from time to time to find it.

Christine Fonseca said...

Writing is definitely an act of courage - and finding the spaces between ordiary and everything else is as well. Great post.

Stephanie McGee said...

I think that at some point it takes a sort of "Devil may care" attitude. And maybe that's courage, too, but you hit the point where you just have to say to yourself "So what? What's there to lose, really?"

Still searching for that point

Bethany Mason said...

While I would say that courage is possibly useful (though that may be because I'm so open I don't really feel I need courage), I think the most important part of doing something big is motivation.

However, I also believe that the definition of 'big' differs from person to person. For some people it's writing that novel or creating, for others it's simply getting from day to day, and for others it's having a family. But this is certainly a good thing as otherwise we'd all want the same thing and that would make the world a very boring place.

Angie said...

I does take courage. And it doesn't even have to be something big to change the world. It can be as simple as raising a child, but the effects can last forever.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Really good thoughts here. Since self-publishing my book, I've realized how much courage it took to do that, and I'm amazed at how good it feels to finally have it done and over with - at least those initial stages. It's amazing to see what courage people have when they are motivated enough to make those big impacts - even if they seem small at first, the effects can last forever, as Angie says. I think creating and keeping a family is one of those things, for sure.

ali said...

I agree Nichole. I live by the motto that life isn't worth living if you aren't willing to take risks. You only learn and grow, only find out what you're capable of achieving, only realize your dreams, if you go out on that limb and see what you can do. Sure, sometimes you're gonna fall off, but now and then? You'll find the right branch and make your way all the way to the top. I'm not there yet, but I KNOW that view is totally going to be worth it.

So yes, Courage and Strength. And a little sense of adventure too ;)