It felt like a sheet of glass dropped from a height. Slicing clarity. Ten minutes ago. The world flipped upside down.

You know those moments when you suddenly see so clearly. The new view is so right but it’s hard to explain just yet. It’s odd, and unfamiliar. Let me try.

The hope for more

I had just switched off the TV. I had gorged on junk TV, too much chocolate and gossip. As I turned off after a night of sloth, I realised that I hope for more. I hope to be more, to do more, and yet I’ve just spent the night doing nothing.

Culture of self-improvement

We have a culture of self-improvement. All of us in privileged First World countries. We’re a bit weird. It’s a culture of neurotic achievement. And, strangely, escapism too. I guess we need to take the pressure off somehow.

Does it spin off all those corporate KPI’s? Does it spin off the noise and speed of our lives? Does it come from our lack of real survival problems? Does advertising feed our discontent?

Wherever it comes from, it’s a bit sick.

This is it

I am so used to looking at what to improve, what to aim for, what next, what I want to be when I grow up. What about you? You too?

In that moment of clarity though, I realised that maybe this is it. I may never be any better than I am right now. I may never achieve my dreams. I may always have the same old faults. And I think that has to be ok.

Being average

Just like everyone else I am an average person. My dreams may never come true. I may lose sight of what they are. I may never be any more than I am. I may never be particularly special. Oh well.

Special sickness

After a night of junk TV, I realise that we’re fed images of “specialness”, of extraordinary people. Advertising shows us what we should hope for. Reality shows give us extremes; fabulous people and some awful ones.  They’re edited too. Caricatures of people.

On the news are the famous, the infamous, the angels and the devils, and those who have achieved greatly. Nelson Mandala. But that’s not most of us. Most of us are ordinary people. We try and fail, or succeed, on a smaller scale. Our lives are not written across the sky.

And that’s ok. When we stop hoping so fervently to be better than we are, maybe we can all just relax into being human.

Why embrace ordinary?

Don’t get me wrong, it can be a really good thing to seek excellence, to struggle against the odds, to learn from life. Where it goes wrong is when we pin our self acceptance on being better than we are right now.

To understand that you’re ordinary is to love and accept that you’re human. Right now, I am good enough, no better or worse than anyone else.

We are all ordinary

We are all ordinary. We all have our disappointments, our fears and our failures. We have failed to live up to our potential, no matter how it looks to the outside world. Our harshest judge is internal. In our own minds we are also the centre of the world. That’s a lot of pressure and it’s just not true.

This week I think I’ll drop the ball a bit. I think I’ll drop any efforts towards self-improvement. Let this week be messy; socks on the floor, the dishes half done.

  • What could you drop this week?
  • What could you leave messy?
  • Honestly, which of your faults would you rather keep?
  • Why is it great being ordinary?
  • Why are you ok, special, good enough, just as you are?
  • List ten reasons to burn your self-improvement lists!

We’re all special and none of us are. One little person on a world with billions of them. A world orbiting one of countless balls of fire in the sky. Count the stars. Breathe in, breathe out. It’s good being human and ordinary.