Nature, nurture, and choice
Ok, this time, I’ve gotten myself into big trouble, I know. What the hell does that mean, “the way to being extraordinary”?
Well, I guess it means when you’re born, and the doctors say you are a normal kid, your parents breathe a sigh of relief. That’s the part that doesn’t depend on you. What happens next depends a lot on your parents, but then, at a certain point, it’s up to you. Will you remain “normal,” or will you find your way to being extraordinary?
A few things got me to this subject today, which makes me have a lot to say about it. Maybe this is the first in a series of two or three posts. I hope you’ll bare with me. I think it will be worth it in the end.
Finding your way to being extraordinary is a choice, a life choice, one of the most important ones.
My son’s choice
My son has his 16th birthday next Sunday. A couple of weeks ago, he came up to me and said he knew what he wanted for his birthday, he said: I want David Goggins
‘ book: Can’t hurt me
. This is extraordinary in a couple of ways.
First, my son is not in the habit of reading books. He insisted on having the actual book, not the digital version. He wants to hold it in his hands and have it for life. Then it’s extraordinary because I read that book three years ago, and it touched me in ways that, until today, move me. Like physically move me.
Every morning when I go out running, or every hardship I face in my training, that book is living in me. When I think I can’t go on anymore, I think: If David Goggins did what he did, you can undoubtedly go on
with what you’re up to.
The thing is, you see, David Goggins made that choice. A choice to be extraordinary or “not average,” as he calls it. Now my son wants to have and read his book. That’s a choice—a very distinct one.
So, what is extraordinary?
Among the things that brought me to this subject is that I was in Landmark Education’s IFLP – Introduction to Forum Leaders’ Program about twenty-five years ago. There were a few extraordinary things about that program. One of them was we were constantly occupied with this question: what is extraordinary?
That’s where I learned to leave toilets cleaner
than when I entered them after leaving, for the person after me. We actually practiced it. At the time and many years after that, I traveled extensively in airplanes. I remember cleaning the toilets for the people after me every time I used them. It stuck with me. Now I automatically do that all the time.
I still find it extraordinary when I do, and I take pride in having the privilege to think of other people
I don’t know in that way. I realize I can do something for them they will not even know about, for which I will never be acknowledged, but by myself
That is, for me, extraordinary.
Being extraordinary makes a difference for others and for you
Being able to live and act this way, relating to anyone as someone you can do things for that make a difference, without being acknowledged for them, just because you can. So I’ll end this first part of the series with no other than the man himself, David Goggins:
“The most important conversations you’ll ever have are the ones you’ll have with yourself. You wake up with them, you walk around with them, you go to bed with them, and eventually, you act on them. Whether they be good or bad. We are all our own worst haters and doubters because self doubt is a natural reaction to any bold attempt to change your life for the better. You can’t stop it from blooming in your brain, but you can neutralize it, and all the other external chatter by asking, What if?”