Before you attempt to answer the question “Are You an Extraordinary Person?” read this story.
After my mother-in-law watched our interview with Jonathan Fields on Career Renegades she mentioned to Christine, “I wish Steve wouldn’t talk like he was this regular ordinary guy. Why does he do that? We know that he isn’t ordinary at all.”
Let me explain why I describe my past that way.
For the first 30 years of my life I viewed myself this way:
I grew up in an ordinary family, in an ordinary middle-American city. My dad had an ordinary job. Just like every other boy I knew, I did shitty in school and I hated it. I was told by authorities that I’d never amount to anything, that I’d be lucky to get a job that could pay the bills, and that my generation was the first generation who would have it worse than their parents. I worked jobs I hated so I could come home, sit on the couch, drink beer, smoke cigarettes, and watch TV. I wasted my weekends watching televised sports. I was in debt and I couldn’t see myself getting out.
I was told that without a higher education I would never amount to anything. I saw myself as working class. I accepted the social sorting our schools and institutions had applied to me. I became what I believed I was. I felt like I was an ordinary working class guy and that’s all I would ever be.
I felt guilty when I wanted more. I should be happy, right? At least I had a job. I had a cracker box to live in. I had a wife who loved me unconditionally. I had so much food I was getting fat. When I’d dream for more, I’d hear a demon in my head shouting “What do you want more for? You ungrateful little bastard, you’ve got everything you need. Quit feeling sorry for yourself.”
Was I ordinary? Yes, I was ordinary because I thought I was ordinary. Who am I to presume I am extraordinary?
If you listen to the news and the lessons taught in our schools you’ll hear the same message again and again. Ordinary people are helpless victims.
Do you want to know the truth?
It’s a lie. There are no ordinary people. You are all extraordinary. You are all gifted creators. Everyone of you has amazing things to offer.
I’m a slow learner. It took me almost 30 years to learn this.
It is my story and I am compelled to share it with you in the hope that it won’t take you 30 years to figure this out.
I was what I thought I was. And now I am what I think I am. And that’s what you are too.