Life is a never-ending journey of self-improvement, or at least, it should be. Those extraordinary people among us know this. They realize that they are not genetically predisposed for greatness. Instead, they perceive the world, themselves and time differently from others.
For them, the world is an endless classroom or quest. They see themselves as students, knights, explorers or treasure hunters. Each day, they strive to gain more knowledge, conquer more powerful kingdoms, explore more foreign territories; and immense more jewels and treasures.
Quite simply, they fully utilize the same 24 hours in a day we are all granted, but fail to exploit. Unfortunately, most people are socialized to waste time and undermine their very consciousness and ambitions through mindless entertainment and distractions.
Aside from television, in general, society’s biggest obsession is Reality TV. The masses regularly immerse themselves in the somewhat scripted or instigated experiences of B-movie celebrities, sex tape stars, and viral video vixens and pranksters as if part of their own lives. And it doesn’t end there. People not only watch them on TV, but they listen, discuss and recap them on the next day’s morning radio shows. The distraction then becomes cannibalized and regurgitated as they sacrifice yet more time while feasting again and again on the waste.
For their part, nothing is gained, but everything is lost. Among them: empathy and a sense of purpose. People manage to delude themselves with the affirmation or belief that their lives are okay since they are not like the train wrecks they watched, or, on contrary, where they become inspired to lust after and embrace the superficial they see promoted on screen daily.
Most of all, however, what they lose is the most valuable commodity, and that is their time.
But not so for the extraordinary.
Overall, they are more selective in their entertainment and lifestyle choices, ensuring that whatever they indulge grants a secondary educational or productive purpose.
For example, while others ease their morning work commutes with radio shows that offer superficial news, stereotypical and sexually-tinted humor and popular music, they listen to podcasts to expand their knowledge on a specific issue or to teach another skill or strengthen their capacity.
To increase their productivity, the extraordinary eat healthy and workout regularly while others eat junk and fast food, and in exchange for physical activity, they obsessively watch sporting events and even extend and cannibalize that same experience further through their fantasy sports leagues and discussions around the water cooler.
Most notably, and most telling, however, is how the extraordinary recognize the importance and impact that friendships and various professional and intimate relationships pose on their career trajectory and personal happiness.
They attend networking and team-building events to build rapport and establish meaningful professional relationships, but keep their personal lives separate while reserving private quality time for activities and experiences that nurture personal and intimate relationships.
On the other hand, their counterparts communicate and bond mostly through social media, where they indiscriminately allow their professional contacts along with their actual friends to peer into their unguarded, uncensored personal lives. Through that environment, they exchange superficial niceties or comments on random issues with other so-called friends who all ultimately share and reduce intimacy and empathy to cartoonish emojis rather than genuine affection.
Ultimately, what truly defines the extraordinary from the ordinary is not some God-given gift, but time how each person uses and appreciates it. Simply put, those who wish to be more must not only do more, but actually appreciate more.
Eric Christopher Webb © 2016
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The WordsByWebb blog distributes a weekly quotation and reflection every Tuesday from National Black Authors Tour bestselling author and multi-talented writer Eric Christopher Webb (E.WEBB?!) to inspire, motivate and encourage personal development of its readers. The blog also regularly shares news, updates, new poetry and excerpts of the writer’s latest work. Webb, a spoken word artist, former Washington News Correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and nationally-syndicated Soul Searching columnist, has also been featured in movies, music videos, commercials and literary documentaries on HBO, BET Weekend’s Evening of Spoken Word, BET’s Rap City, Video Jukebox, The Party Machine, The Learning Channel, Voice of America and XM Radio. He is the author of five books, including "The Garvey Protocol: Inspired By True Events," a 2013 Phillis Wheatley Book Award Finalist for First Fiction and the National Black Authors Tour bestseller, "Love Letters, Death Threats & Suicide Notes." He has also contributed to numerous anthologies, journals and magazines.
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