You Cannot Live an Extraordinary Life by Making Ordinary Choices

Ordinary is by the book. Ordinary is going with the flow.

Ordinary is waiting for the right time to do something, to speak up, to stand out.

Ordinary is a choice.

Or, you can choose to be extraordinary, to be heroic.

Once upon a time, the world was dominated by two powerful forces. These allies had once come together to defeat common enemies, but once the realities and threats of those great wars dissipated, the two forces locked themselves in a cold, intense war of competition and fear. Each force sought to prove it was more innovative, more powerful, and ultimately stronger than the other. In the middle of the night, a wall was built separating the two forces. As the years went by, successive walls of increasing security and strength were built to continue to divide and separate.

After 26 years, the ruler of one of the powerful forces stood at the wall’s gate, and demanded that the other ruler tear down the wall. The sun set, and yet the wall remained. A week passed, a month passed, a year passed. And yet the wall remained. Two years later, rumors began circulating that the gates in the wall would open. For the first time in decades, people could pass through the wall without restriction. Crowds gathered at the gates, but they did not know that the guards had been under order to expel, imprison, or even kill anybody who attempted to pass through the gates. One by one, ordinary people demanded to pass through the gates, without penalty and without restriction. As the demands grew louder and more numerous, the guards acquiesced and people passed freely from one side of the wall to the other.

The point of the story is that one loud and powerful voice, not even that of former President Ronald Reagan-the Great Communicator, could bring down the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall came down because ordinary people chose to do something extraordinary. On November 9, 1989, they put their freedom and their lives on the line and attempted to pass through the gates, a movement that began with just one nameless person who demanded to pass through. Change was not a result of a presidential proclamation, but rather a bold action by an ordinary person.


We oftentimes think of heroes by the positions they have, from a father or mother to a civil rights activist, from a businessperson to a person who volunteers with a charity. But, it is the positions we take when we stand for something meaningful that makes us heroes. When we stand for those things, our values, we are heroes.

The choices we make each and every day are those positions that we stand for.

The world is not changed by extraordinary people. The world is changed by ordinary people who choose not to accept the status quo. The world is changed by ordinary people who choose to do something out of the ordinary. The world is changed by ordinary people who do something extraordinary.