I made an outdoor sign for a school I worked at once.
It read, ‘The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.’ (Attributed to football coach Jimmy Johnstone.)
Hopefully it encouraged the kids a bit as they went about their daily grind.
Ordinary is okay. It’s not bad. It’s not hurting anyone.
Yet, I don’t think ordinary satisfies. I’m looking for more than ordinary- even if it means risk and discomfort to get there. I get bored with ordinary pretty quickly.
It’s good then, that if the quote above is accurate, taking your life from ordinary to extraordinary doesn’t need to take much. Just a bit extra.
The Christmas season
I was thinking about December. What would otherwise be a month like any other, becomes a month to look forward to, when it’s laced with traditions and Christmas, and end-of-year celebrations and lights.
In itself, December is hot and humid (in Queensland at least) – not my favourite weather. It also comes with a break to my normal rhythm. It comes with extra decisions. Events get canceled because of thunderstorms.
Yet, despite its inherent flaws, December becomes a month I anticipate because of the extra creative effort put into making it special.
And I wonder…
Could we apply this same principle to some of the other ordinary (and possibly unpleasant) events in our lives?
Let’s take Mondays. Mondays are pretty ordinary in themselves. A day many dread. But what could Mondays look like if we started giving them a little extra love?
Maybe pancakes. Or a scenic route to work. Or bringing food to share. Making it a personal random act of kindness day. There’s lots of possibilities.
Or what about washing up? Very ordinary. Cleaning… ugh! But put on your favourite music while you do it. Time how long it takes and try to beat your previous best. Or call a different friend each time. Pretty fun!
The possibilities are endless.
And none of these things are big changes. You could do all of them pretty easily.
Yet they begin to turn ordinary into extraordinary. All by asking: what’s something a little extra I could add here?
We all have things in our lives that are necessary but uninviting. Maybe we could flip things around? It may not take much to turn something we try to put off into a highlight.
Have you done something like this? Got any ideas?
Tom Anderson is pioneering www.haventogether.com, an online church plant supported by his in-person church, Catalyst, Ipswich. He has a young, growing family and enjoys playing backyard sport. Tom is a keen long-distance runner, averaging 21km each day last year. He has worked as a teacher for eleven years and enjoys perfecting a flat white on his home espresso machine. Tom would welcome a visit for a coffee some time… or an online catch-up via Zoom. See the Haven Together website to get in touch.