Elevating the Ordinary is Low-Hanging Fruit

By Patrick McNerthney

So this clerk at the mini mart I frequent to buy diet soda on the way to work – the other breakfast of champions–which I don’t tell my wife because she’ll remind me how deadly diet soda is – takes extra care to smile, look me in the eye, make jokes, laugh, and otherwise treat me like an a bestie.

So that’s cool but the part that really stands out is the setting. 

It’s a gas station/mini mart combo—esthetically displeasing on the outside with garish yellow and white paint, people zooming in and out in a panic to fill up so they can make it to work early (on time just doesn’t cut it anymore), or simply running in to buy cigarettes (obviously oblivious about the death knell there…) and decent coffee (so they can “make it” AT work.)

Inside it’s all business. Rows and rows of shelves stocked with chips, pepperoni sticks, candy, gum, and a few travel-sized toiletries. Fifteen (I counted) display refrigerators proffering energy drinks, sugar-laden soda (theoretically healthier than diet, but whatever), beer, Parisian wines (yes that’s sarcasm), and of course Yoo-hoo.

(Looks like this,  twenty five years ago.)

Back to the clerk: this guy magically transforms this at-best-blah environment with his easy smile, willingness to engage, and generally lighthearted attitude. All while working hard to keep things stocked and get people in-and-out as fast as possible. 

He makes it special. 

Not special as in going over the top with a marching band, flashing neon lights, and dance routines (although that would be awesome, particularly for early morning customers).  No. It’s simply about taking extra care to do his best while running his business and paying attention to the small stuff. For you and me, this could apply to ANYTHING: how we address a prospect, speak to a colleague, lead a meeting, present a gift; how we cook a meal, set the table or help clean up. Or anything else we take for granted…those small things that are (secretly) opportunities to involve care, suspend judgment and elevate the ordinary.

(Okay, that’s just nuts. But awesome. I would have used paper plates–if we absolutely needed plates….)

And think about it…elevating the ordinary is such an awesome opportunity–low hanging fruit, ripe for the picking! And generous! It’s not about us or our egos. It’s about slowing down and being thoughtful about things that we often do thoughtlessly, and usually in haste. Because let’s face it – we’re all victims of “busy”, so we spend MOST of our time doing things in haste, which means we spend MOST of our time NOT being thoughtful…and missing our chance to make an IMPACT.  

If you can make it special, do it. Make it a habit; make it your pattern. Imagine receiving a handwritten letter from a coworker on nice paper sent to your house telling you how much they appreciate your contribution. Now imagine SENDING that letter, and how good it feels to be the one who elevates the ordinary. Powerful stuff.

Fine Art Miracles (FAM) has a way for caregivers and nursing facilities and schools to of elevate the ordinary for their vulnerable populations, suffering from social isolation and the anxiety and depression that comes with it. 

Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Dance and Movement Therapy, Multi-Sensory Sessions, Drama Therapy and Drumming Exercise connect residents and loved ones with the power of creativity. And science shows since action inspires attitude, by the act of simply making, the people you care for reignite their confidence, self-worth, sense of mastery, value, and relevance both to the outside world, and their own community.

So instead of showing up and following the same old routine, consider the small things you may be taking for granted, and how you can make a bigger impact through creative expression. It’s easy to get started. Reach out to Fine Art Miracles today to learn more, they’re happy to help! 

Well, I could really use a diet soda about now. Time to sneak to the mini mart (mum’s the word!). Maybe I’ll elevate the ordinary by telling the clerk what a wonderful job he does turning that drab mini mart into someplace special.


Skip to content