EXTRA ordinary

Lola MagazineDonesa Walker, Education, Lola Shreveport

Written by Donesa Walker, M.Ed. BCCS, LearningRx Shreveport

The question is asked: why be the ordinary when you can be the extraordinary? What is the difference between ordinary and extraordinary?

It’s the extra of course. In a world with so much technology, advances, and things that are catching people’s attention, how do we become extraordinary and stand out? What is it that makes the difference in the lives of those people around you? It’s the extra. Lately, many of my sweet friends and people who mean a lot to me have left this ordinary life for a different journey and so I have become pensive by looking at what makes the difference. My favorite bird is the peacock. But the peacock is just a bird. It doesn’t even really fly. The peafowl can fly but not him. He walks around and does all the other things that other birds do and yet the peacock is seen differently, why? It’s the extra of course the peacock is overly dramatic and its behaviors, and in the tail that is just extraordinarily beautiful, large, and in charge. I’ve always loved the peacock for the colors and the vivaciousness of it but I have loved it more because of the extra. What is the extra? In the peacock, the extra is that 60% of the bird is in the feathery tail that he uses to draw a mate. That is the beauty part that fascinates us.

The extra is the perception of the peacock as Outgoing, confident, and friendly. Peacock personalities are warm and entertaining, which can become dramatic under pressure. These people are motivated by recognition, applause, and acknowledgement/acceptance. Peacocks live by the mantra: “Hey, world – look at me!” Imaginative and noisy, Peacock personality people thrive when they can openly share their ideas and feelings. I might be a peacock, but the extra is what I strive to be. What is the extra that makes the extraordinary? Most people don’t realize that it is the extra that makes your brain rewire such as trying new things to become creative and grow. When we challenge ourselves to stretch out of our comfort zone and become more than what we are used to being; when we feel tapped out and yet we go the extra mile, that’s when we get true growth. Muscles only grow when you push them beyond what their actual capacity is; not a lot because that will cause damage, but just a little, just a little stretch, just a little more of what you have given to those around you. So, let’s examine the extra.

E stands for Excellence.This conveys excellence and customer service, friendship, provision, or just being there in a quiet and steady manner excellence means doing more than is required. In today’s society, excellence stands out, because so many are settling for the ordinary. Excellence means that you go the extra step, go the extra mile, be willing to take that phone call, that extra minute to listen, that time, that effort to be the difference. Many have asked what makes my business so extraordinary and it is because of my staff and their willingness to go to excellence no matter what that takes. Research link: Excellence through Mind-Brain Development: The Secrets of World-Class Performers

X stands for Xenacious which means eager to try new things and being willing to stretch ourselves outside of our Normal. Being xenacious means trying to be more than who you are and this is a powerful way to grow your brain. When the brain is learning, it builds new synapses and grows. This is how the brain stays healthy and active by learning new things whether that be a new language, a new way to do things, a new location, or any type of stretching outside of what the brain is used to doing. Research link: The hidden pattern that drives brain growth | Stanford News

T stands for Tenaciousness.. There are over 385 words in the English language that stand for being terrific, amazing and good but none of them hold the candle to tenaciousness. Being tenacious, or having tenacity means to hold on to what is good, even when things are going bad. Another word for this as far as brain growth is called grit. Dr. Carol Dwyer has done a lot of research when it comes to grit and the incredible value that it has in determining future potential and the ability for the brain to grow and change. In fact, she has coined the term growth mindset. The growth mindset is one that has tenacity or grits, and is willing to work through difficult times, holding onto hope or believing that better things are coming. This growth mindset is always looking for the next thing to change grow, and become so that the brain can get more, and be more, the growth mindset actually is one of the major determining skills and the ability to be successful in life even more than IQ alone. Tenacity or tenaciousness has been lost a lot in today’s society where we jump from one thing to the other when it’s uncomfortable or we don’t like the experience. It is very important to the brain that we learn to work through difficult circumstances and stick with it despite it not being a fun thing or even something we fo not see great value in doing. This is especially important to young children when being enrolled in sports or other activities. Parents should not allow them just to quit because it is difficult or hard, but instead teach train them in tenacity and growth mindset by making them go through the process of sticking with it. Many adults still need to learn this themselves. The extra tenacity pays off in the long term. Research link: Developing Resilience, Tenacity, and Grit

R stands for Real.While our could easily stand for radiance, refreshing renewing and resilience stands for real because the truth is often lost in our day today lives and real means that we stand the test of time. One of my favorite books growing up was The Velveteen Rabbit. The velveteen rabbit was just a little stuffed animal given to a small child as a toy. In the story, the rabbit only became real by enduring all the difficulties of life, and it was actually through hard circumstances, and being discarded that the velveteen rabbit came to life as a real bunny. The truth is that the extra in being real means being open, truthful, and frank. It means not hiding behind other things but being willing to take the brunt of someone’s frustration, being willing to say yes, I did that to hard things or no, someone else deserves that honor when they are the one who did the work. In the world of Fakebook, most people really appreciate things that are real, and they can rely on. Experience matters. Developing the brain requires real life experiences and one interesting thing is that one cannot lie to oneself so real becomes extremely important in the extra of ordinary life. Research link: The Role of Experience in Brain Development | Better Brains for Babies

A stands for Affirmation..Affirmation is incredibly positive and incredibly necessary for the brain. This is how the brain knows that something is to be done again and again, because it receives rewards affirmation, and this builds confidence. Technology has been built with this in mind. In fact, one of the most addictive things about technology and iPhone in particular is because they are constantly rewarding the brain which makes this highly addictive to the brain. Affirmation is a trait that can change behavior and change the way we do things just by the right things being affirmed in our lives consistently. This can be by surrounding yourselves by positive people, positive words, uplifting things, and consistency. The extra and affirmation is being willing to affirm the good things in the lives of the people around you, and in your own life. Look in the mirror, affirm who you are, and who you want to be daily and watch it happen. Research link

Being ordinary isn’t a bad thing. But being extraordinary is a terrific thing. The extra is just stretching yourself, and those around you to become more, do more, be more, strive for more, want more in life not things and desire more of the good from all around you. So back to my question: why the ordinary when you can be extraordinary?