Trust30 prompts: Most Ordinary by Patti Digh

Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are our most potent at our most ordinary. And yet most of us discount our “ordinary” because it is, well, ordinary. Or so we believe. But my ordinary is not yours. Three things block us from putting down our clever and picking up our ordinary: false comparisons with others (I’m not as good a writer as _____), false expectations of ourselves (I should be on the NYTimes best seller list or not write at all), and false investments in a story (it’s all been written before, I shouldn’t bother). What are your false comparisons? What are your false expectations? What are your false investments in a story? List them. Each keep you from that internal knowing about which Emerson writes. Each keeps you from making your strong offer to the world. Put down your clever, and pick up your ordinary.


Jesus, this one’s a challenge. To a man like myself, who defines himself almost entirely by his cleverness (as opposed to, say, wisdom), it’s a hard ask.

And yet, cleverness leads me not read ‘your clever’ as being the same thing as ‘your cleverness’.

I know what they’re saying here. Be yourself. Speak in your own voice. Rock with your cock out. Etc, etc.

It’s good advice, but damn is it hard to take.

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