“‘Normal’ is the cruelest of all insults”
― Mike Snelle
Nobody wants to be ordinary. Nobody. We all want to be exceptional or extraordinary at something. It’s the reason why the hero archetype from so many movies, books, and TV shows is so popular. The guy or girl who have been relatively unimpressive their entire lives suddenly begin to exhibit extraordinary abilities. Abruptly and without any real effort, they are able to accomplish amazing things.
It’s comforting. It gives us all some measure of hope that we can be amazing – no matter how mundane our lives have been thus far. The problem (beyond that progression being a tool to advance the plot in fictional stories), is that the probabilities are against us. To be markedly unusual, abnormal or extraordinary, a deviation from the usual/normal/ordinary is required.
Being called ordinary isn’t an insult. It’s math.
But if we think we are special, it’s not always a positive. In fact, it can stop us from putting in the work that would allow us to actually accomplish things.
For example, I once knew a guy who was constantly talking about all of the projects he had going on. What was maddening was that he never framed them as works in progress, longshots, or purely aspirational. To hear him talk, all of these things had pretty much already been accomplished. It’s been so long I can’t remember the entire list, but supposedly all of these “businesses” were being run almost simultaneously:
- Graphic designer
- Marketing expert and consultant
- Web designer
- Comic book writer
- Fashion line owner
Unfortunately, because he thought so highly of himself he never put in any work in any of these areas. He didn’t shadow photographers, take lessons in dancing or web design, or actively do anything to enhance his abilities in any of these fields.
And because of that he never actually did anything. Last I heard he was still working a minimum wage job and living with his parents. All because he thought he was too special to have to put in the work.
We can all accomplish spectacular things. We just have to be realistic about it and understand it is much more likely we will do this through hard work and dedication, not extraordinary talent.
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