We can talk about Motivation and stories about Michael Jordan will flash before our eyes. How he was rejected for being shorter than the required height at 5'9" and how he worked hard , practiced every day , day after day and shot up to 6'3" and made it to varsity basket ball team to script history thereafter.
" I can accept failure, everyone fails at something, But I cannot accept not trying " - Michael Jordon.
We can talk of Inspiration and stories about Lance Armstrong will spring up. How Armstrong diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer at age 25 , with less than 40 percent chance of recovery did not let his spirit die. How he came back with his sheer will power and dedication and turned odds in his favour when everyone thought that his life was over.
" Make every obstacle and opportunity - Always work hard and good things will happen - Don't believe it when other people say you can't. " - Lance Armstrong
We can talk about changing our lives and reaching for our true destiny and stories of J K Rowling will fill our ears. From living as a single mother on state benefits to a multi millionaire , she has come a long way from her early days of struggle and is the true epitome of the classic rags to riches story. She has always attributed her success to her ability to focus all her attention on things that mattered most to her and a gentle reminder that everyone has a hidden talent within him or her.
" We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of that power we need within oursleves already " - J K Rowling
Now statistically there are about 7.2 million people on this planet and really only about 10,000 of them have major worldwide influence at any given point of time. That leaves 7,199,990,000 of us to come to terms with the limited scope of our lives and the fact that the vast majority of what we do will not likely matter long after we have died. This is not a fun thing to accept or think about.
So we are actually left to think about whether being mediocre, being blase, boring and average is okay. Not pursuing or advocating medicrity mind you - because we all should try and do the best we possibly can always - but rather accept mediocrity when we end up there despite our best efforts.
So let us accept some raw facts. Everything in life is a trade off. Some of us are born with high aptitudes for academic learning, others are born with great physical skills. Others are athletic. Yet others are artistic. In terms of skills and talents humans are a wildly diverse group. Sure, what we end up achieving in life ultimately depends upon our practice , perseverance and effort, but admittedly we are all born with different aptitudes and potentials.
Let us consider this bell curve. Those who have taken statistics and loved it , survived , or plain hated it would understand.
A bell curve is quite simple. Take a population of people - say those who like to cook. The horizontal axis represents how good they are at cooking. as we move to the right we find people who are really good and as we move to the left end we find people who are really bad at it. You would notice that it gets really thin at either ends. Which means that there are a few people who are really really good - the masterchefs and all and a few people who are really really bad - those who can't boil a pan of water if their life depended on it. The majority however fall into the mediocre middle.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses. But the fact is, most of us pretty average at most things we do , no matter how hard we practice. Even if we are truly exceptional at one thing we are pretty average or below at others. That is a fact of life. And because we have limited energy and time few of us ever truly become exceptional at more than one thing , if anything at all. It is the extremes that get all the publicity. The vast majority of us will never be truly exceptional at anything perhaps. And that is okay. Should be.
Which leads us to an important point - Ordinary as a life goal - sucks . But Ordinary as a result is okay.
Few of us get this. and even fewer accept it. Because problems arise - serious " My God, what is the point of living " type problems, when we expect to be extra ordinary. Or worse we feel entitled to be extra ordinary. When in reality it is not viable or likely. For every Michael Jordan there are 10 million people stumbling around parks and playing pick up balls and ... well losing. There are a million dads playing the game in their back yards with their kids and being the hero. For every Lance Armstrong , there are millions of people out there who cycle to work , hard and fast , hardly recognised for speed and endurance. There are a lot of people who pursue it as a weekend hobby and are happy and healthy about it. For every J K Rowling there are millions of creative people out there sharing their ideas and thoughts through social media - FB status, blogs, twitter feeds etc etc. And then there are a lot of , well me , scribbling and playing at writer.
And yet there is this psychological tyranny in our culture today , a sense of needing to prove that we are special and unique , exceptional all the time. No matter what. An urge to have that moment of exceptionalism which eventually gets swept away in the current of all other human greatness that is constantly happening. For instance ... think of that perfect selfie we get to see on the social media. What we see is perfection. What we don't see is the time spent in perfecting it. Shots and reshots - lots of practice clicks. We're merely exposed to a persons absolute finest moment . We watch it and forget about it within minutes . Because we are onto the next. And then the next.
It is an accepted part of this psychological tyranny to believe that we are all destined to do something truly extraordinary. Celebrities, Tycoons, Politicians say it, Even Oprah does. Each and every one of us can be extra ordinary. We all deserve greatness. The fact however is contradictory. If everyone is extraordinary , then by definition there is no extraordinary.
So the best thing to do is accept and celebrate being ordinary and average. Because a world enthralled to best , a world that is increasingly equating being extra ordinary with the right to exist is disastrous. The push /pull to be extraordinary , the madness of practice till you perfect works for a puny minority. What it does to a vast majority of others is it breaks or squanders our individual gifts when we need them the most.
If we believe being average = being nobody then we never develop the gifts we have. We think who cares ?
If we believe being ordinary we can't impact this world we fall into resignation , bury ourselves into shadow comforts.
If we believe being ordinary and average no one will love us or everyone we meet is ordinary we are condemning us to loneliness.
Perhaps most tragically we end up working so hard , practicing relentlessly to be special to reach Carnegie Hall that we do no really have time or energy to be alive !!! No time to open our arms to the simple, the average , the everyday. Which is where 99.99 % of life happens and where we get to be who we are.
As for me ... I work hard, I have a multitude of interests ranging from reading , writing , dancing , occasional singing, gardening , cooking, sketching, painting and so on. I do not exceptionally excel in any - the proverbial jack of all trades, master of none. But I do not let go. I constantly try new things and am so happy with my attempts.
I am average. I am ordinary. And I am wildly proud of it.
( This is my entry for LJ Idol Season 10 - Week 3 of Second Chance. The prompt given to us was Getting to Carnegie Hall. If you could connect to my opinions here ... do give your opinions and comments ... concrits are as always accepted. )