So often in our world we see people who accomplish certain achievements that are quite extraordinary and often think these are some awesome people or perhaps they are gifted people. In many instances we think of such individuals as not only gifted but are somehow blessed with some natural born talents. And, so therefore place them in the extraordinary category; the dilemma that I grapple with however is are all leaders whom have accomplished extraordinary feats extraordinary people.
Conversations I have had with colleagues of mine in the personal and leadership development industry have debated with me that indeed one who accomplishes extraordinary feats are and/or must be extraordinary; my argument however is that they are not. In my humble opinion, I believe there have been many ordinary leaders whom have perform extraordinary feats.
Now one may ask what and/or who is an ordinary person? Well, I am not sure I have ever truly seen a specific definition of what an ordinary person is; however in my view an ordinary person is one who comes from humble beginning, who really hasn’t been exposed to any real educational formalities whereby intellectual enlightenment was introduced at a young age, did not come from wealth; in other words people who have literally created their very own personal character profile “from scratch”, so often used in the cooking industry.
I am discussing at this time individuals who many we will never hear about but yet accomplished some real extraordinary feats and I will also cover some who I consider ordinary and yet accomplished extraordinary achievements of course many of us or the world has heard of them.
Let me discuss a man who was born in a straw hut in a city called Culiacan in the State of Sinaloa, in Mexico, sold ice and newspaper as a youth to get buy, lost his father at the age of seven years old; resulting from a bullet wound during the Mexican Revolution of 1910, as his father was a Zapatista. This young lad became the head of the household even though he had older siblings as he took on the role of being a leader early on willingly. He taught himself to read, write and speak Spanish and English by selling newspapers in Mexico and briefly in the USA he only had four years of formal education. Immigrated to America; as an undocumented worker, during the 1920’s, and became a migrant farm worker.
During World War II while working in the agricultural fields of the Imperial Valley in the California Desert and married with three kids, he was picked up by the Military a proudly served America though he was not a citizen; serving in the U.S. Navy. By virtue of his service in the Navy he became a US citizen. Subsequent, to the war the family continued to work in the agricultural fields of California, migrating from city to city throughout California going where ever the harvesting was taking place.
The family ended up with nine children six boys and three girls; two boys died at a young age one as an infant and the oldest in an automobile accident at the young age of 18 years old. He always was teaching them the core virtues and wisdom of life’s core values of: honesty, love, hard work, integrity, trust, teamwork, and he always, always insisted on education. He believed that education was the way to success and progress. This ordinary man and his wife led the way and produced four college graduates; two that went to the University California System and two that went through the California State University System.
Two that went beyond; to earn their Masters Degrees, one from the California State University System, and the other, from the University of Southern California. One out of the four went further to earn a Doctorate Degree from a California Private Business University in California. Now in my view this is an example of an ordinary man who accomplished a pretty extraordinary feat, few will ever know about this man yet a he produced men who worked for a Governor, Congressman, State Senator and State Assemblyman, Vietnam veteran, an Assistant Dean to a Medical School at a premier University in California, and educator they all have been quite successful in the careers and life’s, this in my view is extraordinary feat by an ordinary man.
By Devin Watson