In pursuit of the (extra)ordinary
“The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.” Michelangelo
Many of us like the big picture. We want to make impact.
We make meaning by linking what we are doing to something we believe is worth pursuing.
You may be building a product that will change the lives of a million people.
You may be building a run-way for a new airport that cuts travel duration by several hours.
You may be working on your dream which one day will be very big reality.
You may place food for your family at the table.
These are all extraordinary outcomes. They look grandiose when they are done.
However when you are pursuing these outcomes, everyday does not look like extraordinary.
It just looks like chiseling away dust. It looks very messy.
It looks like it will never finish. It almost looks like you are wasting time in the ordinary - in the thick of thin things. It looks unglamorous & boring.
What does it take to pause for the ordinary in pursuit of the extra-ordinary?
1. Grounding: While our head can take us for a ride in a jiffy, our feet are a lot grounded in reality. Whenever you find yourself wondering whether life is boring, take a minute to put your feet on the ground. That gives a sense of being present to what is instead of the stories in our head. Breathing deeply and being with the breath also gives a sense of being available to the now.
2. Gratitude journal: If you write three things you are grateful about every day, you will have a collection of so many things you are grateful for. This also gives a sense of how far you have come. This can be a checkmate to your notion of lack of progress.
3. Take a cue from nature: In nature, tremendous events happen with no pomp and show. The sun rises and sets every day. A flower blooms. The sea rises and falls. The seasons come and go. Even though these events are extraordinary, they happen in a series of small ordinary steps.
Next time you feel bored, look at the very ordinary things around you with extraordinary set of eyes. They will appear effortless and give you tremendous joy!