“We were made for so much more than ordinary lives. It’s time for us to more than just survive. We were made to thrive.” Casting Crowns
I truly believe that I am thriving. I think I am lucky enough to be living my greatest possible life. But if I were honest, I’d have to admit that there are times I wonder if I am doing all that I am capable of doing or contributing all that I could.
I’ve been thinking about something a friend said to me this week. “When is it enough?” When have we earned enough? Acquired enough? Achieved enough? At what point do we settle into our lives and stop wishing for more?
Since I was a child, people have been telling me that I am extraordinary. Now, lest you believe that I am in some way unique in this, rest assured that parents and teachers all over the world have been saying the same thing to children for centuries. I’ve said it to my own children…both biological and those I’ve taught. And I meant it.
What does it mean though to be extraordinary? And what’s wrong with being ordinary? I think our society has become captivated by the idea that some people are leading lives that are by some measure more. Celebrity, power, wealth are often times the mark of this extraordinary life. As if people who make an average salary and spend their lives raising a family and/or working in a job that lacks visibility are somehow less extraordinary.
In his book, How Will You Measure Your Life?, Clay Christensen talks about the limitations of our human mind that lead us to create a hierarchical system for measuring the lives of people. As if we could somehow create a system to rank people as more or less successful in living a good life. As a professor at the Harvard Business School and TED Talk presenter (talk about extraordinary), he compares this to what businesses do. Too often businesses and people pursue “the most immediate and tangible evidence of achievement”. If I just get that promotion or if I were just on that committee, my life would be worthwhile.
There is no single achievement that will move our lives from ordinary to extraordinary. A bit cliché, I know, but I looked up ordinary in the dictionary. It is defined as “with no special or distinctive features”. Well, we are each by design unique and therefore extraordinary. “When is it enough?” Now. It was always enough. I am extraordinary. So are you. Let’s start spending our time and energy enjoying this ordinary life.