Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

In Praise of the Ordinary Person

Whether it’s intentional or not, many of us are made to feel like we’ve failed or are falling behind if we’re not a ninja, a Jedi, a rock star, or a superhero at something. At anything.

A current that seems to flow through the professional world is a focus on, and exaltation of, the big. Big achievements. Big gestures. Big ideas. Unless you do something on a grand scale, it’s not worthwhile.

Not everyone is destined for greatness. Not everyone is going to be a hyper achiever.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

All of those ninja/rock stars/superheroes/Jedi didn’t do it alone. They bask in the glory and often the profit, but they couldn’t do what they did without support. Without the people in the background who toiled away to make their ideas and concepts a reality.

Those people generally don’t get noticed, but they play an important part in the story. What they do matters, no matter how small a part they played in the creation of something.

I liken this to my own career as a writer. When I was in journalism school back in the late 1980s, I knew I’d never be one of those writers who’d be consistently going for the front page or the cover. I just wasn’t that driven or ambitious. Instead, I saw myself as one of the people who fill the pages of a publication around the main features. Without what I and those like me were doing, those publications would have had a lot of blank pages each day or week month.

Don’t worry if you’re not one of the exalted. You have a role to play in whatever you’re doing. While you might not reap the glory or the profit that some others do, you can be sure that it would have been a bit harder for them if you hadn’t been toiling in the background.

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