This conversation is closed.

If everyone is special - is it TRUE then, no one is? Can you speak to the beauty of being "normal," of life lived without spectacular drama.

There is so much PR in the world today - personal and professional "buzz" created to get us noticed, get us ahead, to make us stand out. Is that really a desirable quest, or even one that serves any purpose? What are the benefits of a life, well lived, in normalcy. (and I use the word normal very loosely)

Closing Statement from Libbey Koppinger

Dear Ted commenters below :)
thank you all for your insight - and I must say, wonderfully phrased thoughts and notions about living life.
I must apologize though! I somehow contracted a serious case of double conjunctivitis, which was resistant to 4 different courses of antibiotics - around the same time I posed this discussion... needless to say - I was practically blind for a time and for a few days too boot - and didn't get to read these comments or respond in a timely matter ;(
All is well finally {whew} and I learned how very much I value my sight! Finally reading your posts gave way to the following: A connected line of thought here - or at least on the topic of "normalcy" - there is really no such thing. If we could contemplate how incredibly lucky we are to have use of our senses, to own our intellect, and to interact in world {whether virtual or tangible, local or global}, we might "see" our place in the cosmos as pretty amazing. It took a stubborn and actually scary eye infection to remind me how complex and critical vision IS - what a gift! If with all used our senses and abilities with true appreciation for them, I doubt we'd be consumed with "standing out in the crowd" - we'd be too busy, too immersed in the miracle of being human, reaching potentials, enjoying the journey and each other.

And I found too - the lack of one ability DID strengthen other senses, so I think; it isn't about being a perfectly tuned and functional human machine that seems important, but rather doing even the smallest things, with great joy, great interest, great enthusiasm. Like voicing YOUR thoughts on TED. So I thank each of you - never have I enjoyed reading comments as much as I did today, when I regained the better part of my ability to see the computer screen! Cheers!

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    Feb 5 2012: Hi Libbet , i get your drift.
    I think there are young ideas of greatness that manisfest themselves in the developing mind. And probably some evolutionary advantage to thinking and being this. (Think of the women or men greatness might bring!) Perhaps we have all at least once contemplated greatness? Perhaps we have been lucky enough to have ever thought it possible.

    i dont think there is any harm in this thinking (presuming there is some moral add on) and I'm sure some great things have come from people wanting to be great.

    Spectacular drama? There is enough of that I'm sure in even the normal lives. I like to avoid it these days. I have learned that the special moments in life are often small unheralded happenings and that great things are well , not so great after all.

    Of course you have those that would crave "normalcy."
    Just not to stand out in the crowd. To not be different.

    The "I" can crave greatness to make its mark so permanent so as to escape its mortality but hey I'm happy for others to aspire to that.

    Enjoy your day Lib, if i may?
  • Feb 2 2012: I am not now nor have I ever been normal...but then again people call me a normal kind of guy. I have been in the place of standing out and I have been in the place where no one knows. I am not sure now which of those is better qualitatively.

    Standing out, being outstanding at something can be a great gift, if and only if it is finally a gift to others, not self.

    I love cross-cultural experiences and thinking. One of the basic ideas about that study is the normalcy that the world really lives. Billions of us live every day just going about the things that matter: people we love, wonderful and boring things we do, and experiencing that moment of beauty. Normal isn't overrated, it is seldom rated at all. Yet, all around the world, right this instant real people are living normality.

    I read a blog this morning about living well, instead of living richly. There is something to be said about that. Living well and enjoying life is an incredible search.
  • Feb 2 2012: Everyone can be special. People are just special in their own way. Drama does not equal standing out, just as leading a mudane life does not mean you will blend it. If a person can really see beauty, they will see it in the little things that make the world a better place, the smile on a childs face, an artists expression as they find a new way to express their passion, the sounds and sights of nature, etc etc. There things are small beauties and special things we witness everyday, but many do not notice. My point is, those seemingly normal things are really special things. If you open your eyes you will see it everywhere in everything. In my opinion striving to be special and different, if done right, can helps to achieve great things that change the world...or just the life of one person. Either way it can help us make a difference, and that is what I think many people truely strive for to solidify their purpose and existence.
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    Feb 2 2012: Watch the film "Ikiru", by Akira Kurosawa, and you will never ask that question again, imho.... : )

    Beauty exists, because we can find it in the mundane.
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    Feb 1 2012: Normal, huh well okay first of all in a world of the traumatized and overdramatized you would be a truly valuable commodity personality wise, BUT it seems to me that if you are not finding happiness and beauty in normalcy then there is no limit of opportunity to do something dramatic
  • Feb 2 2012: Libby,

    'Autonomous' may be closer to the type of existence you are trying to portray than 'normal'.

    I think everyone should strive to 'stand out,' in the form of being their best, helping their community and attempting to do something to help mankind at large. There are big and small ways to do that.

    The problem of celebrity arises, in my opinion, because of some people's need to be privy to other people's private lives. We used to think this was resigned to entertainers, politicians, socialites, etc. but reality TV has shown people are also interested in seeing other random people interact on television. It's a strange hobby.

    Successful people ought to be able to do extraordinary things and still be left alone in their private lives. In a sense, everyone would be 'normal' when they were doing what is common to us all - being with their family and friends and doing the things they enjoy.

    Do you want to be special or normal?

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    Feb 1 2012: Saying that everyone is special is just plain wrong, not because they are not special but because thinking you are special can make you believe that you have achieved something you have not.
    The people who motivate me the most are the ones that say i am not special.
    there is nothing wrong with being normal some people just have greater ambitions that make them different or special or whatever you want to call it.

    I think the sentence everyone is special should be removed from the equation completely it just creates pretentious people.

    Be who you are, trying to be unique is misleading if you are not doing what you want to do, you will not be happy as a celebrity just because people say that celebrities are happy.
    be who you want to be not what people tell you, that is how you truly become special.