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Can the ordinary achieve the extraordinary?

I have heard many a times, geniuses doing things no other man or woman could match at their time. Their caliber and determination. I am certain that all of you have heard similar stories. Well today was certainly not a good day for me, as i was hit hard by reality. I am by nature, ignorant and like to think too much of myself, no matter what consequences be. I recently gave a competitive exam, and well it didn't turn out well as i was 500th of the 4000 people who gave the test. People have their highs and lows, however the question i intend to ask here is, can an ordinary person like, me, do something greater than simply living in melancholy and perish? Is a life full of discoveries are reserved for the extraordinary and the ridiculously hard workers?

Is there a way to be extraordinary and do you know some ordinary people who have achieved extra ordinary feats?

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    Oct 12 2013: The ordinary achieve the extraordinary on a very regular basis.

    What constitutes 'ordinary' and 'extraordinary' is so variable from person to person and from culture to culture, that the things that seem ordinary to you, might actually be extraordinary to others.

    The way we measure intelligence and capability is highly suspect, and judging yourself (and the rest of your life) so harshly on an exam result I'll wager has little to do with your own capabilities and intelligence, but rather illustrates a huge flaw in our education systems. Exams measure memory ONLY. They therefore measure what we think, rather than how we think - and in a ridiculously short space of time. They do not account for the multi-faceted nature of intelligence, nor can they measure where someone's natural aptitude lies.

    I'll have another wager: I'm willing to bet that you do have an extraordinary, innate talent that hasn't been discovered yet. The fact that it hasn't been discovered is not your fault, but rather the fault of the system that is supposed to efficiently facilitate that personal discovery.

    The life full of discoveries is yours for the taking. You just need to "know thyself" first - that's where the real work is, and the clearer path to the extraordinary.
    • Oct 12 2013: Excellent words, and i suppose you speak with experience. I as a kid with none, have tried a billion different things, to name some; guitar, basketball, swimming, table tennis, singing, physics, math, debating, programming and writing.
      I love all of these things. I can do any of the things i listed above all day with absolutely no hesitation. However, as i have already assumed you speak with experience, how would you discover where your true passion and aptitude lies? I have tried, and i have found that i am very good at all of the things i have claimed to do above, yet i cannot find a clear path to follow. As an Indian, i am expected to do engineering to have a secure future, like a million other youths. Which i don't mind much, because i love physics and mathematics, and i think i can handle chemistry for the next 3 years.

      Nevertheless, i always find something missing. Its like a part of me is just not open to the world. When i do anything, anytime, it feels like a small part of my mind is closed, as if i cannot utilize my true mental abilities. It is very annoying, because for that very reason, i am never at my best. I always find within myself, something kept safely inside a box, something vulnerable. I am not sure if it is actually my mind which is closed, or if its simply the 'individuality' which we experience, the reason i can differentiate between the laptop i am typing on and me. Yet, i feel that once i can, 'open' this box, i would be better off, both mentally and physically. This close mindedness has become really bothersome and whenever i do anything, i always curse my brain for feeling so lonely and closed, making me furthermore inefficient.

      Do you feel the same and is this normal, or its just a wrong mindset i have adapted? :/
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        Oct 13 2013: Yes, what I said is loosely based on experience. It took me a long time to find out that how I see the world is very different to how I was expected to see the world, and those expectations from my parents and my education were more powerful than anything I could possibly contemplate intrinsically. Those expectations were for me to enter the sciences, but my natural leanings were (and still are) in the arts.

        I did not recognise early enough, the power of what came naturally to me, which I now know with some certainty, positively affects my competence, happiness and self-esteem.

        Finding the thing that is missing - the part of you not open to the world - is not easy in an environment where expectations of you to be a particular type of person, and to study what everybody else is studying, is perhaps too strong...? I get the impression you are better than that, not least because you are recognising that something is missing at this early stage in your life - an important first step towards a 'self-actualised'** future.

        ** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierarchy_of_needs

        I think it's important now for you to find out in more detail what that "close mindedness" is about, because it could be part of the same thing - ie it could also be concealing what it is that is missing in your life.

        How to do this? There are no set rules, but my feeling is that taking time out to think introspectively, positively and constructively in a supportive environment, could help you open the box to find that thing that is missing. That might mean taking a year out from studying and the pressure of expectation, which I expect may be difficult for you.

        I do feel the same, and yes, I think it is entirely normal. In my view, a "wrong mindset" is one that conforms blindly to external demands, without consulting the "inner voice"

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