My 2023mantra: the extraordinary emerges out of the ordinary
I’ve had to type the new year on my phone a few times now, and for some reason, I keep typing 2024 on accident. It’s like, chill out phone, let’s slow down a bit. 2023 is already too much and it only just started. Jeez.
I kinda hate the word mantra. But it’s also how I want to treat this phrase I came up with. Meaning something I continually repeat and remind myself of throughout the entire year. In that sense, it’s also distinctive from a resolution, because we all know how those end up going.
Are you like me and always pronounce it extra ordinary in your head with the two words separated like that? C’mon, admit it. I kinda wish we pronounced it that way. It sounds more important.
Okay, so what do I mean by extraordinary. Ever since my old band got oh-so-close to making it big over 20 years ago, I’ve had this feeling that I’m still destined for big things. I’ve also had multiple people tell me they think I’ll be famous one day, which doesn’t really help matters. Maybe it’s delusions of grandeur. I don’t know. It’s why when I played poker for a living I wanted to play in the biggest tournaments and not just stick to playing online or at the local card room. It’s why when I started this newsletter I had visions of growing a massive audience and becoming a big-time author of important books. Part of me still wants that.
Lately, I’ve had this urge to embrace my creativity even more. The short story I wrote recently was a good example—and I think it was as close to creating something extraordinary as I’ve gotten yet. Writing a weird post that’s one sentence long with a bunch of long-winded bullet points attached to it is another example. I’m also starting to revisit my memoir book that’s probably about 60% written.
I feel like I have a lot more creative art inside me and I want to get it out.
The problem is that I’m sometimes guilty of wanting to bypass all the hard work and fast-forward to the part where it exists in the world.
The word emerge just sounded right. I briefly considered writing “the extraordinary is borne out of the ordinary” but that sounded a bit pretentious to me for some reason.
Whenever I see the word borne I think of the movie The Bourne Identity, even though it’s spelled differently. And then that makes me think of Matt Damon. And that makes me think of a story he told on Conan years ago when it was on super late-night on NBC.
He was at a gas station filling up his tank, minding his own business, when some guy came up to him and said, “Hey man. No offense. But you look just like Matt Damon.”
The ordinary is making time for my creative practice.
The ordinary is sitting my ass down at my laptop.
The ordinary is writing—something, anything.
The ordinary is embracing the struggle.
The ordinary is paying my dues.
The ordinary is doing the work.
The ordinary is showing up.
The ordinary is the reward.
The extraordinary is just a bonus.
What’s your 2023 mantra?
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Great piece as always! “Extraordinary emerges out of the ordinary” brought to mind a Swedish phrase I heard years ago, “lagom.” Lagom translates to some approximation of ‘just right, neither excessive nor sparse.’ For me, that phrase was the perfect recognition that big things come from simple everyday practices. It was a reminder to slowdown, chip away at things, put one foot in front of the other, keep my head down, and big things may (or may not) come out of everyday practices of doing my thing for the sake of doing my thing. For whatever reason, your piece today reminded me of “lagom” and I thank you for that!
I don't make resolutions either. I just have hopes for the new year. Or perhaps they are closer to goals. But I find the best things happen seemingly by accident (luck/grand design/fate/divine intervention?) if I just try things, take chances, or seize opportunities. I can't seem to make much happen, myself. 🤣