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It is Hard to Become Extraordinary if You Cannot Be Ordinary
(Translated by Conglong and Edited by Kaer)
Ordinary means common and normal; that one does not have any special abilities or talents. Extraordinary means not common, but outstanding; that one has an extremely special or good quality. Most people are ordinary, but a few great people are extraordinary. The behaviour of an ordinary person does not show any special qualities and everything they do is very common and usual, but one who is extraordinary demonstrates uniqueness and distinction and their behaviour is special. Everything about the ordinary is foreseeable, however that of the extraordinary is often hard to understand or describe. The ordinary is like a flower on the meadow while the extraordinary is like a blooming exotic flower on the cliffs.
In ordinary there is extraordinary; extraordinary comes from ordinary. Without ordinary, there is no extraordinary. Ordinary is the foundation; extraordinary is the building on it. Ordinary is the solid vast land, extraordinary is the vegetation and flowers growing on the land. Ordinary is being down-to-earth, extraordinary is flying above the clouds.
One who is extraordinary must first be ordinary. If they cannot be ordinary, it is difficult for them to become extraordinary. Without materials such as oil, salt, sauce, vinegar, cabbages, carrots, and other ordinary substances, we can not cook delicious meals with combinations of excellent flavor, aroma, and color. If we are not familiar with the original state of something, we will be unable to have a distinguished foresight with a unique way of thinking and a brilliant solution.
Jobs such as sweeping, washing clothes, fetching water, applying fertilizer, growing grass, planting flowers, growing vegetables, carrying bricks, cooking, and the like are very ordinary, however one who has no experience with ordinary jobs or does not strive to deliver first-class quality is far from reaching the state of the extraordinary. One who has too many weeds in their soul garden, such as jealousy, selfishness, laziness, greed, or is quick to complain, compare and get angry, will never experience the joy and delicacy of life.
“An amazing article does not use special words and a great man with excellent quality only shows his nature”. If an article uses flowery language and has many ambiguous new words and concepts, it will be very superficial and will lack the necessary connotative meaning. If one tries to show their uniqueness by their way of dressing, talking, and behaving, but is not willing to do the smallest and the most menial job, then they are superficial and do not have precious qualities inside.
One who wants to become extraordinary must work hard on things that seem ordinary. If one wants to write a good article, they must work hard on plain words. If they want to cook a wonderful dish, then they must work a lot with oil, salt, sauce, vinegar, other spices, and the proper amount of heat. One who wants to win a Nobel Prize needs to work hard on basic research and tests. One who wants to be a great man of the time must work hard on the daily ordinary jobs.
If one can not deliver excellence on the ordinary and only wants to pursue special behaviors and performances, they will never reach the extraordinary. Taking off the business suit and sweeping floors, carrying manure, moving bricks, digging soil, growing grass, and washing dishes will help one advance toward the extraordinary.
When one is able to deliver excellence while they are still a human, they will become a celestial; but if not, they will never realize that dream.
You should spend your precious time on ordinary, basic things and not to try to avoid them or strive to be outstanding. Do not attempt to surprise the public and amaze the world, but rather be happy just to do ordinary jobs and be an ordinary person. You should learn common knowledge and do not look for special methods and read special books. Behave normally: eating, drinking, working, and sleeping. Do not attempt to violate the laws of nature. Only then can we gradually move away from the ordinary and toward the extraordinary.
Written by Xuefeng on Mar 18, 2012.
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