I hesitate to write this for many reasons. I am still slightly confused about maneuvering the terrain of humility and indisputable extraordinariness. And so I have chosen silent awe and quiet observation for the longest time. However, it seems the time has come to acknowledge the elephant in the room -or the giant, magnificent light of extraordinary essence.
While considering gentle ways to address this not so gentle topic, I was reminded of this paragraph in Living an Inspired Life.
“Dr. Abraham Maslow… is quoted as saying: “What is necessary to change in a person is to change his awareness of himself.” Consider how you might want to follow his advice. You can never be mediocre because you are magnificent in every way. So seek ways to change your awareness of yourself so that you’re fully aware of your magnificence and can become receptive to inspiration, your ultimate calling.”
– Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
So I googled Dr. Abraham Maslow. I had vague awareness of his hierarchy of needs. I could have gotten by with the little I knew. You see, for the most part of my life, I have managed to get by with the minimal amount of effort -at best producing exceptional mediocrity. But not today.
The three minutes of effort took my breath away. As I read, I learned that his work built upon the successes of humanistic psychologists who believed that all humans had an innate desire to achieve their fullest potential. They called it “self-actualization.” I call it extraordinary existence. Maslow himself was extraordinary for so many reasons, a scientist who chose to recognize the undeniable role of spirituality as a navigation for our behaviors. As a doctor, his extraordinariness manifested in his choosing to examine healthy minds -self-actualizing people as he called them.
I see extraordinariness clearly. Dr. Maslow writes of it. He documents how extraordinary humans are able to be “reality centered”, recognizing authenticity from bypassing. He believes they are “problem centered”, well adapted and comfortable with who they are, with being alone, and having healthy relationships founded on honor. He talks about spontaneity, creativity, and wildness, especially carefree impulsiveness. He describes extraordinary traits like truthfulness, goodness, beauty, wholeness, transcendent acceptance of polarities and contradictions, aliveness, uniqueness, justice, fulfillment, lawfulness, richness, playfulness, independence, effortlessness, and simplicity.
Effortlessness and simplicity catch my eye. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines effortlessness as the appearance of ease and implies the prior attainment of artistry or expertness. Simple and smooth are suggested synonyms. It dawns on me that we have confused effortlessness with laziness. Take the Sherpa people -the ethnic group from Nepal who have resided in the high altitudes of the Himalayas for generations, serving less extraordinary humans as guides and porters- as the perfect illustration of effortless effort. They have been studied extensively by the medical establishment to learn more about the “effortlessness” of their extraordinary prowess. It’s been found that their bodies have adapted to the high altitudes by ensuring efficient absorption and distribution of oxygen. They still climb. They still carry their gear. They still carry your gear. And they conquer the highest peak in the world a multitude of times in a seemingly “ordinary” existence, without fanfare.
The effortlessness Maslow speaks of is that which comes after attainment of artistry. It is when you have walked those extra steps beyond the ordinary, when you are entitled to celebrate that artistry for a moment or two. It is when your body adapts to its new “extraordinary” vibration. Then the extraordinary becomes ordinary, and the story continues.
Simplicity is my favourite trait. It’s what has helped me grasp humility. Changing your awareness of yourself and recognizing your extraordinariness is the key to unlocking simplicity in every aspect of your existence. A wise man once told me that the issue with the world today is that the ordinary think they are extraordinary, and the extraordinary think they are ordinary. It is really simple -no pun intended. Lazy, inauthentic, conceited effort is the bright red flag of ordinariness. Sweaty, genuine, simple effortlessness is the mark of an extraordinary existence -a Sherpa existence.
Don’t waste any more time. Acknowledge your extraordinariness. And start running down the list of Non-Negotiable Steps to Living Your Extraordinary Potential.
1 || Sweat everyday. I thought the hundreds of hours in plank have inspired this earth-shattering realization. But it turns out scientists, philosophers, healers, and guides have talked about this incessantly. (Takes me right back to ordinary.) Figure out a way to sweat every day. No exceptions. Call it effortless sweating.
2 || Always go two steps beyond your edge -in everything you do. I tried it today. I googled Maslow. It opened my eyes to an entire new world. If you are in plank, and think you are going to die, stay in plank. For two really long breaths. You will not die. And if you do, you will be dying a great death. If you are invited to give a talk on whole, plant-based nutrition (aren’t we all everyday?), do your homework really well. Don’t rely on work done by other people. You are extraordinary and you have so much to offer. Just by your presence. So make it count. And make it extraordinary.
3 || When you recognize your own extraordinariness, remember that every one around you is extraordinary too -in their own quirky extraordinary way. This will allow you to function from your well of compassion. We are all working our way onto the path of extraordinariness. Some slower than others. Bring to mind the Sherpa guides. Hang a poster of them on your fridge.
4 || Be militant…in your commitment to living your extraordinary existence. Trust me. There is no gentle, softer way to tell you this. It is not easy -at first. But just as quickly, the ease dissipates into sparkles. Stop making excuses for your laziness. Some other wise -most likely extraordinary human- once said that we always like to hear good news about our bad habits. This my friend is the very crux of “fake news”. The only good news you will hear is the good about your extraordinary habits. And laziness is not part of the headlines.
5 || And lastly, do not settle for mediocrity. Go for all or nothing. Head on. Wear a helmet if you need to. But do it. At worst, you will fail. Extraordinarily. At best, you will have helped yourself and others up the mountain.
“When you are inspired…dormant forces, faculties, and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
P.S. You should read 'Living an Inspired Life' by Dr. Wayne Dyer.