Why There Are No Ordinary People – Just Look for Their Greatness

there are no ordinary peopleHave you ever wondered why you meet some people and how you just seem to click with them?

And how do some people just blow you away with their life and what they do?

As regular readers will know, I love meeting new people, finding out what makes them tick and most importantly learning from them.

Who will ever forget the time when I chatted to the 87 year old man who then gatecrashed our family wedding!

What I have learnt is that there are no ordinary people – everyone is extraordinary and has so much to offer the world in their own special way.

So often they have simply not yet discovered their greatness.

I read a book a while ago about an aboriginal group walking across the Australian outback and each member of that group had their own special talents such as singing, hunting, telling stories etc. Each person then shared this talent with the others for the greater good, harmony and well-being.

We just have to look for the greatness within each person.

I do actively look to connect with others – and every now and then, I meet someone who just blows me away with their approach to life and their philosophy for living, someone who is making a profound difference in the world.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the number of moments that take your breath away.

Last week, I met such a person at the business lounge where I occasionally work from – someone who is creating a lasting legacy for thousands of people.

Grant Taylor runs a very successful business in the recruitment industry but what really touched me was his other interests in helping disadvantaged young people.

As we spoke, I realised just how much Grant is passionate about his life and how much he wants to make a difference to others. He is certainly making it happen for himself and for a better world.

Here was the archetypal businessman in the cut-throat world of business and yet he was so much more than his business attire would have led one to believe.

Grant’s wisdom and philosophy deserve a wider audience and I am honoured to interview him for my readers.

I can guarantee that you too will be inspired by his work – the key of course is to apply some of his ideas in your own life.

1. Grant, please tell me more about your philosophy and approach to life?

My philosophy is try and enjoy every moment, follow your passion (and the rewards will come), be charitable (with your time and / or money if you have it), and to treat people fairly and equally.

I revel in the diversity that we are lucky to experience in London. If I meet somebody new I try to ignore the prejudgements that we are conditioned by society to make of people, and to make my own judgements. I am often pleasantly surprised about how this open approach widens my world.

2. You are clearly very passionate about your work with young children. How did this come about? And how do you manage to combine this with a thriving business life?

It is not so much young children – I would say young people up to mid 20s. It has always been an innate passion in that when I had no career direction after university I followed my heart into teaching, although this proved not to be the career for me.

I now have two children and I am a Trustee of a charity supporting young people with congenital heart disease and their families. I will do whatever I can to support the organisations I work with to inspire their staff and indeed help them find the right staff to further their aims and objectives.

I gravitate to charitable or socially focused organisations such as the National Union of Students or Foyer Federation and will give up my time freely to talk at conferences or help in any other way I can.

I see social giving as working hand in hand with my business to create the whole person that I am – it does not conflict with business, it is the business of my life.

If I make less money, that is a trade off I am willing to make for being fulfilled.

Incidentally, I don’t think that it harms my ability to operate successfully in business. If anything it helps me with my wisdom and understanding of the organisations I strive to work with it, gives me more credibility and helps me to conduct my business more effectively.

3. Children are our future and for me its heart breaking to see so much of them living lives of little hope and direction. What are the key ideas and lessons you can share with us?

Children need to be given the respect they deserve. Every single person has a talent that needs to be found and nurtured.

It is such a shame when a single child is led to feel that they have no talent or future and become disengaged with society and find themselves leading a negative life.

I am delighted that in the western world, societies are moving from seeing academic competence as a key measure of success to developing vocational and creative pathways for young people to express themselves and find their purpose in life.

There are more adults than children – if each of us took responsibility for inspiring one young person, mentoring them and supporting them to achieve their dreams, society would be significantly richer for it.

Why leave it to somebody else?

4. If there was one thing you could change about the world today, what would that be?

That people open their minds and support those less fortunate and with no clear direction to move forward.

Everybody wants to achieve success – the challenge is to help young people find the right pathway.

We are the world.

5. What’s next for you in your crusade to help young people and give them a better chance in life? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I don’t know about five years, but certainly I see myself continuing to support organisations that work to support disadvantaged young people, from both voluntary and business perspectives, so as to be more effective in achieving their aims.

A large part of this support may be encouraging these organisations to govern themselves better and to utilise the contribution of young people in governance, that is shaping their services and challenging their strategic direction.

Also as a parent, if I can influence my children to be happy and successful in whatever paths they choose to follow, then my legacy of positively contributing to society will continue through them.

6. What final words of wisdom can you share with us?

No matter what, feel the fear and do what your heart tells you to do and give freely to others. This is not easy to achieve but if we work at it we will be happier for the effort.

My gratitude and heartfelt thanks to Grant for sharing his story and his words of wisdom.

Now what will it take for you to also do what your heart tells you to and give freely to others?

What if from today onwards you chose to mentor one young person in your life?

Imagine the difference you can make that young person by helping them find their greatness.

It only takes one person to change the world – why not make it you?

Just remember that there are no ordinary people – people are either extraordinary,  or they have just not yet discovered their greatness.

Please share below what one thing you will take from Grant and apply in your own life from today onwards.

Thank you.

Image courtesy of marlin harms

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Comments

  1. Plenty of ordinary people in the world but few recognise their own greatness within. Our focus tends to sharpen upon what we perceive as greatness which is usually what the eye sees and not what the heart reveals. So many high profile public figures are used on which to base our ideals and yet they are as unique as anyone else in the world.
    Children are easily encouraged and discouraged through our words and actions. Just a smile, a friendly tone and words that build up is all they need to allow their seed of greatness to grow. Who knows, you might be the key that opens the door to the next world leader or inventor through your encouraging words.

    • Welcome again to my blog Andre!

      As you say, plenty of “ordinary” people in the world but very few recognise their OWN greatness within.

      Look within and we will find that we are enough (check out one of my recent articles about this very topic).

      Inspiring children and allowiing their seeds of greatness to grow is one of my passions and I shall be writing much more about this in the future. Often just a smile and a few encouraging words are all that’s needed:-)
      Who knows, you might be the key that opens the door to the next world leader or inventor through your encouraging words.

  2. Hi Arvind!

    Very enjoyable interview.!

    One thing that I will take from Grant’s words of wisdom is to follow your heart and do what it tells you – give freely to others. Following your heart and giving freely to others brings peace within.

    I do believe that everyone is extraordinary, oftentimes, the gifts and talents need to be brought to the surface..fine tuned, cultivated so to speak. When young people have mentors in their lives they can reach their full potential…it makes a world of a difference.

    • Evelyn, indeed follow your heart always!

      This learning really came home to me when I read “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coello about the young man who travels across the desert yet his treasure was already at his home.

      I really think the world will be transformed if we all took on the idea of mentoring one young person each. Imagine how their lives would be changed!

  3. John Sherry says

    Arvind you and Grant have a great ethos and spirit. One that sees the brilliance and beauty in all souls so a brilliant interview which epitomises that beautifully. For me the point Grant made that he is willing to sacrifice money for being fulfilled is a message in itself. Fulfilment makes the heart full if the pocket less so. After all, bringing everyone up with you rather than putting them down behind you makes the world rich in all the things that matter.

    • John, Grant will be reading all these comments too, so I bet he is bushing right now:-)

      Joking aside, I am gald that Grant’s philosophy and wisdom have resonated with you. After you reach a certain point of material comfort, fulfilment really comes into play. Or maybe fulfilment comes before any wealth?

      You know I really believe that with the community that you, I and others are building around us, we can really transform this world and make it richer all round.

      Another reason for us to celebrate next Tuesday morning with our planned champagne breakfast:-)

  4. Arvind –

    That resonates with me so much. I always look for the extraordinary in everyone I meet. We all have the right to be remarkable and live an amazing life.

    Grant sounds like a great guy – it is so inspiring to dig into the generosity and focus of people we meet and always refreshing. Thanks for sharing!

    Phil

    • Phil, having met you just once, I felt that you are also the type of guy looks for the best in others.

      And you are right, Grant is a great guy. Quite a role model for me:-)

  5. ‘If I meet somebody new I try to ignore the prejudgements that we are conditioned by society to make of people, and to make my own judgements. ‘

    This is such a great phrase – I am as guilty as anyone of ‘judging a book by it’s cover’ and it is something I am constantly trying to change – while I am improving I think we sometimes naturally jump to conclusions based on someones dress, speech, appearance, job etc.

    We cut off a certain number of people because they don’t ‘fit’ with our ideals, expectations or preconcieved notions of who we want to associate with. Just think how much wider our circle of friends and aquaintances would be if we didn’t do this!

    Kate.

    • Thanks Kate – that indeed is a truly insightful statement from Grant:-

      ‘If I meet somebody new I try to ignore the prejudgements that we are conditioned by society to make of people, and to make my own judgements. ‘

      I wrote a post only a few weeks ago about not making judgements and looking for the greater good in people:

      https://arvinddevalia.com/blog/2010/06/18/why-you-should-always-look-for-the-talent-in-others/

      I too am getting better at not judging and making superficial observations and assumptions of people I meet.

      I must say that I do have a wide circle of acquaintances and people who know me, purely because of my openness to go and talk to anyone. This has enriched my life greatly and I encourage everyone to be open to meeting and getting to know more people.

  6. Last year I had the honor of tutoring 3 seventh grade boys in reading. We had so much fun together I knew if I could teach them learning is fun it would change their lives. Last week I saw an add stating an organization was collecting peanut butter and jelly for people who didn’t have enough food to feed their families. My hubs and I went and bought several jars of each to donate. My philosophy is I can’t out give God.

    • Tess, what a wonderful philosophy! “I can’t outgive god” will certainly stay with me forever.

      Of course its not just about giving physical things but simply being loving and kind is often all that one needs to do.

      What would the world be like if we all adopted the philosophy of “I can’t outgive god on love.”

      Finally if only there were more teachers like you – instilling learning as a fun thing to do would make our young people more receptive to learning – and ultimately being happy human beings.

  7. Gip @ So Much More Life says

    I used to be a journalist, and I always thought it would be fun to do a column profiling random people — because everyone has a great story to tell. Thanks for telling us about someone you met.

    I look forward to seeing my guest post here tomorrow. I can’t wait!

    Gip

  8. William Lee says

    Arvind, another great and inspiring post. For me I think the one thing that jumps out is that we can make a contribution without worrying about ‘losing’ something. About taking away from another area of our life.

    What Grant is doing is admirable and I believe that there is a shift going on in business and with people in general where they realize that giving of ourselves and our time is a powerful tool for positive change.

    And that if we want to change our world, our youth seems to be a good place to start.

    Take care and thanks for your contribution Arvind! Best, Bill

    • Thanks Bill for your feedback and kind words.

      Yes, if only more people realised that they can make a contribution without “losing” anything. There is definitely a shift going on in business and with people in general where they realise that giving of themselves and their time is a powerful tool for positive change.

      And what better place to start than the young people of today?

  9. Scott Dinsmore says

    Choose one person younger than you to mentor…what advice! I love it. Those have been some of my most fulfilling experiences…to help someone on their path when they are unsure of the direction. I think Thats going to be one of my next article topics. Thanks Arvind!

    Scott

  10. What a great post and all-out blog. This is my 1st trip here (followed Gip, so see-it IS working)

    I think everyone on this planet has something to offer, we might not know exactly what it is at all times but it’s there all the same.

    LOVE the picture of the lady in the post- if I could just speak with her imagine what she would say, Awesome!

    Thanks!

    • Welcome to my blog Jan!

      I am glad you liked this post and the amazing image of the old lady. It took me ages to find a suitable image for this post – and when I saw this old lady I knew I had found just the perfect image. If only we could speak to her:-)

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