Saturday, October 13, 2012

Are you extraordinary?

A few days ago, I talked to a friend about university which somehow turned into a not very serious discussion about whether he was exceptionally smart (he said he wasn’t). Eventually, we ended up arguing about the meaning of being extraordinary.

So, in his opinion, to be extraordinary you have to belong to the absolute top of something, regardless of what we are talking about, for example, you have to be a Einstein or Newton or Shakespeare to be really great and extraordinary in what you do. His definition was rather very exclusive. In contrast, I said I believe that there are a lot of ways to be extraordinary and that we can all be extraordinary in something.
This whole discussion made me think a little further. I mean, is there really something like being extraordinary? Are we not all at some point extraordinary? No one of us is the same and especially for friends or loved ones we are unique. In fact, we are all unique. But, on the other hand, what about persons like Einstein? Would you say they were ordinary, nothing special? You certainly can’t say that either.
Anyway, what is ordinary? There certainly is an average height or age of all persons you can measure, but it is more difficult when it comes to the personality or abilities of people. Besides, what does an average age say? Relating to this, are you extraordinary when you are younger or older than the average number? I am certainly not a statistics expert but you don’t have to be one to know that the mean average of something doesn’t necessarily indicate much without further information. And even if there is, this is not about statistics. How would you measure a person’s uniqueness?

Moreover, do we really have to be extraordinary? Do we always have to belong to the absolute top? Do we have to be better than everyone else? There is always someone that is “better”, so if you really want to be the best at everything, you will never be happy.
That friend also said that to be content or proud of himself, he would need to be the best and, for instance, not just the best in his university but in the whole world. He also admitted that this is very unlikely to happen but that it is a good way to improve his accomplishments constantly. Maybe it is, but I think you can be happy with what you have achieved and improve at the same time.
Instead of being the best compared to everyone else, would it not be better to focus on your own aims? I think we automatically always compare ourselves to others, I do that too. And maybe this is the only way to evaluate ourselves and improve what we do. But instead of looking at the other ones, sometimes it would just be better to focus on our personal aims. When my friends and I graduated from school, we had all very different grades, but we were all happy because we had all managed to reach our own personal goal (or at least most of us). And isn’t this enough?

On the other hand, of course, without comparing, there wouldn’t even be such things as grades, thus it is necessary to value anything.
In my opinion, it is in human’s nature to always strive for more, but in the end we’ll just have to accept that we can’t always be the best.

So, even if we can’t be the best, can we be extraordinary? Are we all extraordinary persons because everyone has something at which he or she is especial compared to others? Or is this something that refers to very few persons only? After all, the term extraordinary indicates this.
Is there such a thing or are we all unique? Or is being unique something totally different? Maybe everyone is unique but not everyone can be extraordinary.
Do you think you are extraordinary? Do you want to be?
What does being extraordinary mean to you?

My friend and I still didn’t agree in the end and although there is probably no right answer and it all depends on different definitions and points of views, I would love to hear some other opinions, ideas, experiences or whatever you have to say.


  1. In my humble opinion (Trite and boring sentence when you try to tell the real value of it) :)

    The reason you cannot agree about this question is because the answer is:

    YES, and NO.

    Human beings are not mensurable.

    They are, that's it.

    The common situation is that we tend to be gregarious and that tendency brings as a collateral damage the need to pigeon-hole each one of us, in such a way that some of our individuals can take advantage of this organization, and because the simple existence of each one of us makes necessary an order .

    Even in the case of beings with challenged aptitudes, you find you cannot measure their abilities, you may remember Mr. Stephen Hawking who despite the tremendous handicap he faced he developed a quasi-normal family and a scientific life. To put another example, autistic who are mathematical (or any other field) geniuses.

    Even cases not apt to live in society, or considered to be borderline can surprise with their "activities".

    I got the impression you worked with children, then you may have a wonderful experience of what I am trying to describe.

    In extreme, the idea is that the concept of extraordinary is a social indicative, not a personal description.

    This is the YES part of the answer.

    The moment you enter into this last field, (Personal Description) you spread the movement of Uncertainty Theory:

    You can approach the being but you cannot know what's inside the aura who makes that being be.

    Or you can access to the being of the being (if you let me use this serendipity) but you will never "touch" the projection this being has into Eternity.

    So you see, if you want to show to society and posterity the weight into the tissue of the gregarious matter that define any of us, we must relinquish the "unique values" of the human in question and watch the actions and reaction society had to this particular existence.

    We are talking about science, arts, or crafts. If we want to express these ideas in less "pragmatic" fields as philosophy, religion, or mythical situations, there is no way to relate these concepts to reality. Unless you try to prove that Raymond Ruyer is writing the truth in his "La Gnose de Princeton" :)

    This is the NO part of the answer!

    I guess all this is arguably, of course! :)

    1. I guess you are right with your assumption that the answer is yes and no.

      Yes, I have worked with children and during that time I have made many diverse experiences, so I think I know what you are trying to describe.

      Unfortunately, I do not know what Raymond Ruyer is writing in "La Gnose de Princeton" but I'll have to read up on this to know what you are talking about! :)

      Thank you a lot, I like your answer to this! :)

    2. I love AND hate it when I read an article and think, "Okay, I have a great comment for below," then you see Untony or Rum-Punch-Drunk has already came by and thrown down a better comment.... *sigh*

    3. I see what you mean, I love their comments. :)

    4. Tony, that was a hell of a answer! Can't resist to linger that Yes, and No part. :))

      Try to solve some problem, most of the time, there will be someone come out with some un-ordinary solution- and guess- it'll always pull something extra from most if not every- ordinary people. At times, that gist of that person who done it known as something extraordinary!! Yes.

      Since, anything we compare we scale it with time, what is extraordinary today, tomorrow its a very ordinary. And what if Mozart was ordinary enough to just do his job as he see fit but we labeling that for our own many many reasoning- No?

      Forwarding one step brings more steps- if Einstein or Newton or Shakespeare didn't shake their parts- there would someone else would do what they've done!! :))

  2. Great post :)

    Thank you for commenting on my blog. To answer your question, there should be a follow box on the side, or you can follow by email by typing your email in the box in the top 'write' corner! (That was an attempt at a pun)

    1. Thanks. :)

      I had to read this three times to get the pun, apparently my English is worse than I thought (or maybe I just take everything too literally). :)

  3. I think I'm extraordinarily ordinary. And uniquely unremarkable.

    1. Well, that's also a way to be extraordinary. :)
      Thanks for commenting!

  4. Awesome post reminded me of when i got my final grades at end of highschool last yr! i mean i got one of the top ones but this thing about being "EXTRAORDINARY" did bug me cause i wanted to be better or best than i just goes to show that humans just find it hard to arrive at a point and be happy..we always want to be better & better & better...hihihi ok u get thee point :)

    1. Thank you!

      I agree, we always want to be better than we already are, even if we have already reached the goal that we thought would make us happy.

  5. In the end, I have to agree with Untony. Human's are not quantifiable or measurable. Its all relative. Everyone is extraordinary, and everyone is plain. I have a 'talent at writing' where as some people don't. Others can draw, I surely cannot. The best way to be, is to not try to measure yourself against anyone else, just be yourself, and enjoy your own life.

    1. You are right, it's all relative. And I totally agree that it would be best if we were just ourselves and enjoy life but I guess we will always measure and compare ourselves against others.

      Thank you for your comment!

  6. All the discussions about being ordinary or extraordinary I always remember a specific scene from Grey's Anatomy when Meredith's mom wakes up from her Alzheimer, has some lucidity moments and she says "imagine my disappointment when I wake up after five years and discover that you're no more than ordinary. What happened to you?" Those words hit really hard and somehow I can related to what Meredith says later back to her mom "You, you happened to me".

    In one of my previous articles, one from almost two years ago, back then I was still writing in romanian, my native language, I said that none of us is ordinary, I can't accept the fact that some people are just ordinary, I wanna believe that everyone is extraordinary at something, somehow agreeing with you with some of your points. I also said that none of us is ordinary and we shouldn't be ordinary, we can be extraordinary and let's choose to be so in a positive way. But now I get to think that we all are now, or we are going to be at some point in our lives, either for a short period of time or for a long one, we are going to be extraordinary.

    I guess this term doesn't only apply to amazing math skills, or being great in physics, or being a talented actor, if you're doing good to people and they have you to turn to for help at all times that makes you qualify for this title as well.

    Here are the links of the scenes I mentioned earlier, I know you'll appreciate them as much as I did. In the last few moments of Ellis's life she says to Meredith "don't be such a damn ... you're anything but ordinary" words that we will never hear from our mothers/parents, but you'll hear them from me, that should count for something :)

    Dear Kleopatra, you're anything but ordinary, more than that, you're extraordinary :)

    P.S. This is addressed to all of you who comment here every now and then, let's support this amazing blogger by clicking like for her facebook page, she's a beginner, let's make sure she hits highs as soon as possible, also there are sharing buttons, if you really like her posts hit as many as you can as often as possible :)

    1. I wanted to attach the links but failed to do that, short memory sometimes :) and this one

    2. I agree, I think everyone has something at which he or she is great and maybe that makes him or her extraordinary. And if you define it that way, it is true that everyone is extraordinary.
      I enjoyed the scenes. :)

      It's so kind you think that way. Thank you so much! I can return this. :)

      Thank you!

  7. great post and quite a blog. I am following you. :)

    1. Thank you so much for your comments and for following! :)