The Importance of Being Unremarkable

There is a lot of pressure to do epic things; to achieve amazing, record-breaking success. And it often gets in the way of doing unremarkable, important things.

When I sat down to write today, I was trying to think of something interesting or remarkable to write about. I wanted to share something, but I felt inadequate because I didn’t have anything profound or mind-blowing to say. Nothing innovative or particularly uncommon flowed into my consciousness.

It made me feel pretty inadequate and unuseful. Everything you do is supposed to stand out, be amazing, and mind-blowing, right? That’s the way I feel most of the time.

It got me to thinking, this focus we have of doing great things and living awesome lives is all well and good, but sometimes that can take us away from the really extraordinary, unremarkable things in life. It can cause us to view the meaningful, quiet, unexceptional things we engage in as unimportant or without much worth.

When we’re focusing too much on doing epic shit, we can lose sight of the truly epic things that aren’t outwardly or obviously epic.

Some of those things might be…

  • Spending time encouraging someone to follow their heart, and believing in their potential.
  • Feeling your breath.
  • Taking care of your family and loved ones.
  • Being useful in your business, or serving people in a way that is unassuming and not in a way that seems particularly game-changing.
  • Feeling the ground beneath your feet, becoming aware of the love and abundance that exists in this moment.
  • Creating something that isn’t groundbreaking, but allows you to express yourself authentically and joyfully.
  • Doing what makes you come alive, whether or not it’s unique, unheard of, or at a masterful level.

Sometimes by focusing on having each moment be amazing, you overlook the possibility that each moment is already amazing, without you having to do anything about it.

This is the way I feel much of the time. When I’m trying to make things amazing, I feel stifled by my self-imposed pressure. When I allow things to be as awesome as they are, I feel connected and in touch with their inherent qualities. That’s truthful, genuine awesomeness. It’s not manufactured or forced. It’s beautiful as it is. Already. Right now.

Sometimes the quickest way to change the world is to accept how incredible it already is.

So, when I write, when I coach others, and when I live, I want to focus more on the still, subtle, essential awesomeness that is already there… without me having to try to do anything about it.

I think I’m much happier that way. It takes a lot of the pressure off of being game-changing, epic, and remarkable all the time. Most importantly, it allows those things to unfold in a way that is much more joyful.

Because when you give all of your heart, all of yourself to whatever it is you want to create, you can trust that if something is quietly amazing, only slightly elevating your feet off the ground, that is as it should be. If it shakes the earth from its very foundations, then it does. But trying to create planetary tilting results is often the surest way to keep it spinning firmly on its axis.

I think I’m going to have more faith in the divinely intrinsic remarkableness. I’ll leave it to others to decide whether it’s remarkable or not.

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Mars Dorian May 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Hey Jonathan,

I luv big words, but I can also understand what you mean – if words get tooo big they become almost too abstract, they put a lot of pressure on us: Will I be epic today ? Will this be an innovative idea ?

“Creating something that isn’t groundbreaking, but allows you to express yourself authentically and joyfully.” Sums it up beautifully. Worry about meaning-and joyfull work – let the universe decide the rest…

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Tony Teegarden May 20, 2010 at 12:48 pm

I dig the post Jonathan.

I know this is much more in line with where I find myself currently. I just posted this on my FB wall earlier:

“When I look back I want to know I lived as much as I loved and that the reason I loved so much was because I was grateful everyday for the chance to fully live.”

To fully live doesn’t mean I have to live 100mph and step foot on every continent. It just means living at my speed at any of one of my moments.

Your post takes me back to Wayne Dyers 3 levels of experiencing enlightenment:

Through Suffering
Through Outcome
Through Purpose

“This is the way I feel much of the time. When I’m trying to make things amazing, I feel stifled by my self-imposed pressure.”

I believe that’s happened to me in the past because I was so focused on “outcome.” Instead of experiencing the joy of the “process” I became focused on the joy that only comes form the outcome.

I’ve lived it so much and I’m so fully aware of it.

It goes without being said that not everyone will choose to experience life in this manner and that’s part of just “being” and accepting “what is.”

I know what works for me in the moment won’t work for everyone else. And it probably shouldn’t.

Fine post my friend.

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Jonathan May 20, 2010 at 3:34 pm

You’re absolutely right. So much of the time we think that going 100mph and setting foot in every country is what makes life remarkable… “doing lots of things” — But what about being here, right now. That’s something truly remarkable.

Linda Esposito May 20, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Hi Jonathan–

Nice unremarkable post–just kidding (!).

I appreciate the honesty and the focus on mindfulness. It’s so hard to be remarkable on occassion, let alone all the time.

Thank you for bringing unremarkable-ness into awareness.

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Jonathan May 20, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Thanks Linda, I hope that it’s incredibly unremarkable. :)

kelly May 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm

“Doing what makes you come alive, whether or not it’s unique, unheard of, or at a masterful level”

and

“I want to focus more on the still, subtle, essential awesomeness that is already there… without me having to try to do anything about it.”

those phrases speak to me. You nailed it.

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Ben Weston May 20, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Hey Jonathan,

I really appreciated this post. I remember when I was in high school and start looking into personal development books, I had this notion that I would make everyday the most amazing and epic day I ever lived. That crap didn’t get me far obviously. It felt like I was forcing something that wasn’t there.

It wasn’t until I took up zen meditation and just began appreciating and being aware of each individual moment and my surroundings, that I found that life is pretty damn amazing already. I lose track of that sometimes when I enter the blogging world and, like you, have the desire to make every thing I do and say the greatest thing since rice-cookers.

Thanks for the reminder

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Angie May 21, 2010 at 4:07 am

Actually, I think that was quite a remarkable post. :-) Thanks for posting it!

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Ewan Townhead June 3, 2010 at 2:55 am

Great post Jonathan!

It’s so utterly refreshing to find your blog, and the authentic and conscious way you are playing this whole internet business game! Bravo, you’ve inspired me this morning!

I also really find, the more I can just accept things as already being awesome and perfect, the more I can actually CHOOSE to do remarkable things, because I genuinely WANT to, not because I think I SHOULD.

Love and respect,

Ewan

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kallen June 30, 2010 at 4:54 am

Hey thanks for the provocation. My own view is that there is a dynamic balance between dreaming big and appreciating the veil of ordinariness until it falls to reveal the extraordinary. Our yearning is also part of every moment along with the papers on the desk adn the unwashed cups. from my perspective, you are talking about getting that balance back between the two poles. I feel most centred when I am in touch with my deepest dreams and in touch with the bliss of the ordinary moment. I guess I would love to know how to walk that razor’s edge. Breathing, being present in my body, showering my innner space with love and appreciation and humour, and im sure there are many other wonderful practices, are some ways.

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