The Ordinary Is The Extraordinary

How finding extraordinariness in the ordinary distinguishes the good from the great.

Gabrielle Sloss
Jan 29 · 5 min read

“The best athlete wants his opponent at his best. The best general enters the mind of his enemy. The best businessman serves the communal good. The best leader follows the will of the people. All of them embody the virtue of non-competition. Not that they don’t love to compete, but they do it in the spirit of play. In this they are like children and in harmony with the Tao.” — Tao Ching

In reflecting on the many entrepreneurs’ journeys I’ve had the great honor and pleasure of being an intimate witness to over the past few years, I’m reminded of just how extraordinary the ordinary is. Entrepreneurs are far from ordinary, but what distinguishes the good from great, in my opinion, are those that are able to appreciate the ordinary just as much if not more than the extraordinary in their entrepreneurial journey.

The founders who are able to celebrate the little milestones. The individuals who are able to instill a sense of play and enjoyment in their culture, and not just when it’s going well but also when it’s a haul. The leaders who are able to smile in the simplicity of their everyday. The entrepreneurs who are able to find beauty and grandeur in the mundane, not just the unicorn-like moments, but every moment regardless of outward significance. The inventor who makes it less of a grind and more of a pleasure. Those that find growth and opportunity in every exchange, sale, development, expansion, redirection, reorganization, up, down and messy middle. Those that are able to bring consciousness, awareness and gratitude to the entire journey and not just the desired outcome of a big exit. But the fundamental belief and understanding that the journey is the destination. The everyday experience is their end goal. The here and now is ultimately all there is. And the greatest entrepreneurs know this in their souls.

The wildly interesting 2020, although very much in the past, will forever have an imprint on our world’s heart. For me my greatest lasting takeaway from last year is finding pleasure in the everyday. Seeking not outside the present moment, but instead to uncover more depth, beauty, and extraordinariness in the ordinary, the here and now. In all of it; whether staying home, my morning ritual, interactions with my partner, FaceTime with family and friends, enjoying a meal, or walking our puppy in nature. Regardless of how seemingly simple, the seeking has found a resting spot in purely enjoying. In savoring the simple. And in the awe of this very moment.

In a recent conversation with one of our coaches, she remarked on how after years of seeking and idealizing enlightened beings and gurus around the globe in her 20s and 30s, she finally settled into the realization that humanness is liberation in and of itself. There is nothing more or beyond this remarkable moment. To experience this life, just as it is, is the ultimate journey of self-realization and unfolding. After years of seeking beyond herself and her situation, she ultimately came back to her true self and essence. That it’s all already perfect. That it’s all already here and that all she needs is truly within her now.

In her years of seeking though, she missed it. She missed the micro moments of wonderfulness her life had in store for her. Her seeking, longing and desire to be more “realized” took her away from actually living and enjoying. Her brilliant uncovering to us was the acceptance that neither she nor the gurus nor any other expert she once idealized were extraordinary at all, but in fact quite extraordinarily ordinary. They relish in the ordinary and find exquisiteness in the everyday, just like remarkably great entrepreneurs. Knowing that living fully in the now is the ultimate gift.

In the book “The End of Your World”, the author writes, “Quite surprisingly, upon recently, life becomes very simple and ordinary. We no longer feel driven to have extraordinary moments, to have transcendent experiences. Sitting at the table in the morning and drinking a cup of tea is perfectly adequate. Drinking a cup of tea is experienced as a full expression of ultimate reality. The cup itself is full expression of everything we have realized. Walking down the hallway, each step is a complete expression of deepest realization. Raising a family, dealing with children, going to work, going on vacation — all of it is a true expression of that which is inexpressible. In a certain sense, enlightenment is dying into the ordinary, or into an extraordinary ordinariness. We start to realize the ordinary is extraordinary. It’s almost like catching onto a hidden secret — that all along we were in the promised land, all along we were in the kingdom of heaven. From the very beginning, there was only nirvana, as the Buddha would say. But we were misperceiving things. By believing the images in the mind, by contracting through fear, hesitation, and doubt, we misperceived where we were. We didn’t realize we were in heaven; we didn’t realize we were in the promised land. We didn’t realize that nirvana is right here, right now exactly where we are.”

Regardless of one’s journey, zooming out and becoming gratefully aware that it is forever completely transcendent and forever completely right here, right now, in this moment is the entrepreneurial awakening. Knowing that there is never a need for it to be any other way, better or different, just appreciated and treasured. The ordinary is in fact the extraordinary.

“What we see is the underlying perfection of life. It is from the groundwork of seeing, experiencing, and literally knowing the underlying perfection of life that we are moved by an entirely different force. No longer are we pushed or pulled; no longer do we feel like we need to achieve. No longer do we feel like we need to be known or recognized or confirmed or loved or hated or liked or disliked. Those are simply states of consciousness within the dreaming mind. Once we have reconciled all those opposites, and they’ve been harmonized within our system, something else moves us in life. It’s something extraordinarily simple. That force, that energy that moves us, is at the same time the very substance of our own being, our own self.” — The End of Your World by Adyashanti

Prime Movers Lab invests in breakthrough scientific startups founded by Prime Movers, the inventors who transform billions of lives. We invest in companies reinventing energy, transportation, infrastructure, manufacturing, human augmentation, and agriculture.

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