Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. – Ralph Waldo Emerson We are our most potent at our most ordinary. And yet most of us discount our “ordinary” because it is, well, ordinary. Or so we believe. But my ordinary is not yours. Three things block us from putting down our clever and picking up our ordinary: false comparisons with others (I’m not as good a writer as _____), false expectations of ourselves (I should be on the NYTimes best seller list or not write at all), and false investments in a story (it’s all been written before, I shouldn’t bother). What are your false comparisons? What are your false expectations? What are your false investments in a story? List them. Each keep you from that internal knowing about which Emerson writes. Each keeps you from making your strong offer to the world. Put down your clever, and pick up your ordinary. (Author: Patti Digh)
Three things block us from putting down our clever and picking up our ordinary:
False comparisons with others (I’m not as good a writer as _____):
I don’t have this sense of competion. If I begin to compare, I would surely shrivel and die in some corner somewhere. Just know that I am different writer, that’s all.
False expectations of ourselves (I should be on the NYTimes best seller list or not write at all):
Don’t reach this high either, just happy doing my thing and ‘hoping’ for the big break…all mine.
False investments in a story (it’s all been written before, I shouldn’t bother):
Don’t have this either. There are no new stories, only new story-tellers. I am just one of them.
I do make comparisons however, with younger achievers, with more ‘settled’ people, more healthy and mobile and ‘on the go’ people, so yes, such differences glare at me.
People may find me ordinary or extraordinary, it does not matter. I am content in myriad ways, discontented in a few and clever enough to know that making extra-ordinary comparisons would ruin me. So I never go there. Even if I do make comparisons, they are momentary, not important enough for me to bury myself into my ordinariness.
So, ordinary in many ways, and extra-ordinary in many ways, I don’t know when or where the two merge to become me. I do know I am whackily different. I am happy with that.