Are You An Extraordinary Person?

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.

15 thoughts on “Are You An Extraordinary Person?”

  1. Steve,
    Well said. I’m reinventing myself as fast as I can. Each and every day I tell my son “You’re going to be a great guy”. I think he’s beginning to believe it. Confidence is born of encouragement. My parents did pretty normal things that I’ve since come to believe were extraordinary. I grew up in a rural setting that taught me so much. We were encouraged to be anything we wished to be and to be responsible for our actions. Most of all we were encouraged to be honest , (and to play outside). We can all give so much to each other and have so very much to share. Good post. I’ll think on it for some time.

  2. I too grew up in a rural area. I was free to play outside which taught me so much. I ‘used’ to think my parents were ordinary, my town was ordinary. But I was wrong, my parents are extraordinary people, my dad had an extraordinary job, in an extraordinary place. I lucky I am to be witness to such extraordinary things.

  3. I have always seen life, and myself, as extraordinary. I was always good at seeing what was unique and special in someone else. What confused me and held me back was than nobody else seemed to see life in the same way I did. Over the years, I abandoned my mindset and conformed to the rest of my world. Although inside I still felt like I was missing something. Then I got pregnant. While most wouldn’t consider pregnancy to be anything special, for me it was an extraordinary experience. That I could actually conceive and nuture a life (in my case two!) was amazing to me. Every day, to this day, my children, now almost 6, continue to provide me with proof of exactly what you said – we are all extraordinary.

  4. This post is really a good way to motivate people and to give them some self confidence. Many of us were grown as you were. Once that you were considered ordinary it’s difficult to change something. And at one point even you believe that you are ordinary not only the people around you.

  5. Excellent post. With your words you’ve described the lives of so many people. If people could just come to see and learn that they truly are special and unique and have wonderful things that only they can offer the world. You are right in that we are creators because we have been given the power to creat with our thoughts. We really are what we think we are and become what we believe we can become.

    Thank you for writing this.

  6. Man, this is deep. I can relate. I use to settle in life. Believe I would get a job after college. I didn’t consider living an abundant life. My mindset was twisted. I didn’t focus on my talents. Perfecting it and going after my dreams. I was in a fog. I was always happy on the outside, but I wasn’t happy on the inside. I believe that by me not living my life to its full capacity that my body became unsightly. My body was disfigured and I lost a lot of weight even though I was already slim. I thank God I made it through. God is good. I changed my attitude and till this day I am going after my dreams. It’s my duty to have a fantastic life.

  7. Steve, I just stumbled across your blog about 10 minutes ago, and I already have a ton of things swirling through my head. I guess the notion that I could be an extraordinary person is nearly impossible to get my head around. Admittedly this lack of self worth is fueled by fear. There is a part of me that dreams of doing something great. Unfortunately this part of me is constantly in a fight with the side of me that feels the need to play it safe, because drawing attention to myself can only lead to rejection and failure.

    While you and I had similar upbringings, I never received affirmation from my parents. To this day my mom still jokes with people that I was the “ugliest baby” she had ever seen and adds that she actually cried when she first looked at me. I only bring this up to give a little perspective as to where the negative thoughts in my head come from.

    I continue the daily fight, as I sit at the cubical in a job I find meaningless. The question I have is how do you find a passion? My wife makes fun of me because at home i will pace back and forth for no reason. Meanwhile she can feel completely happy and serene, reading a book or watching TV. Maybe it comes down to better meds. I don’t know.

    Thanks for letting me vent. GREAT BLOG!

  8. When I was young, I always thought that I was extraordinary, but the world or the people around me keep on telling me or reminding me that i”m an ordinary folk. Now, I’m getting older, honestly, I”m truly lacking of strength to believe that I”m extraordinary. Anyway, I”m happy to hear that someone is truly believe in “everyone is extraordinary”.

  9. Extraordinary person comes from believing in your self when no one does. It begin with a strong character and integrity for who you are as a person.
    This article is deep , because deep down we are all people who are extraordinary, but just have been told repeatedly that we aren’t as children.
    This is the reason why adult are so angry and stressed. They don’t believe in them selves as much as they should. Instead they blame, hate and get depressed. While life passes them by and the miracle of time doesn’t stop for no one!

  10. Hi Steve, I like your post. The flipside of everyone being extraordinary, is we establish the expectation for young people that everything in life is extraordinary, when it isn’t. I agree with your perspective because you are talking about the mindset, and overcoming personally set mental obstacles. In that sense yes, everyone has the potential to be extraordinary. At the same time however, I want my kids to see me as an ordinary guy. I don’t want me or them to think that we are short changing ourselves because we don’t go on the most extraordinary vacations, socialize with tons of “extraordinary” people. I live in a new subdivision, and there is so much of the whole “keeping up with the Jones'” and materialistic consumerism, that I want my kids to learn to be ok with not being that way. That being “ordinary” in your day to day, might be ok and you can be happy. Even if you don’t wear the 200 dollar jeans, just the 20 dollars ones from costco. IN that sense, I guess that would make them extraordinary. There’s more than one way of looking at it I guess. I really enjoy your blog and can relate on many levels, thanks.

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