Today’s society pushes for us to be extraordinary in all things.
We compete to be the heads of companies or countries, and sometimes resort to ugly and deceitful tactics to get there.
We compete to win the championship and be known as the best, and that pressure can lead us to use drugs or other enhancements to get us there faster.
We push to get our kids into the best school and give them an edge, and in doing so we can unintentionally teach them that our love is attached to their performance.
We go to ridiculous lengths for fame and riches, and for our fifteen minutes we allow ourselves to compromise our integrity and our values.
We strive to keep up with the increasingly rapid pace of social media and connections– posting our status on Facebook, showcasing how we’re going to decorate our house on Pinterest, sending a quippy, cleverly-worded tweet on Twitter, snapping a dashing photo and instantly posting it with Instagram, proclaiming our exact location in the universe via Foursquare.
But what does it really mean to be extraordinary? To have the biggest salary, the most medals, the largest amount of “friends,” the top hits on Youtube? Sometimes, maybe those things happen to an extraordinary person, but those things do not make one extraordinary. To me, being extraordinary is more often than not about living our lives as ordinarily as possible – showing up for each authentic moment and giving it our best shot. Forgetting about what our “friends” think while making sure we are tending to our friends. Letting go of our dogged pursuit of the medal and remembering instead to just have fun in the race. Not obsessing over how we look to the world, but rather focusing on what we’re contributing to the world. Mother Teresa once said: “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” To be extraordinary we must first remember to be extra-ordinary.
Children (it always comes back to the children, doesn’t it?) are extra-ordinary. Children know the secret. They believe that they can fly, and so they put on their wings and disappear into magical lands. They see things that are funny, and they laugh. They imagine themselves artists, and they paint. They notice the bugs in the grass and the wrinkles on our skin. They cry over hurt feelings or skinned knees and then they quickly move on. They choose spectacularly mismatched outfits and wear them with pride. Without the burden of their “status,” they live their lives fully present in every moment, armed with those wings of magic and thoughts of whimsy, believing that the world is their playground. And until society gets busy with the telling them otherwise, they are absolutely right.
How can you live your life as extra-ordinarily as possible, on flights of wings and whimsy?
Interested in having Erika’s blog come directly to your e-mail each Tuesday? Have comments to share? E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org!