“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Growing up, my Dad asked me not to be ordinary. Being an overly inquisitive kid, I'd ask him relentlessly what exactly he meant by that. To me, life in suburbia meant blending in. Wasn't I supposed to have the right shoes? Say the right things? Learn the right "way"? He would usually chuckle and tell me that if I kept asking questions, I would eventually figure it out.

At first, my questions were kind of trite and somewhat self-centered. Usually things like: "Why can't a girl play the trombone?"; "Why can't I study engineering and be a rockstar?"; "Why do you care who I am friends with?" Later, my questions were deeper, and often somewhat probing. Things like: "Why does my consulting firm not support my furniture design pursuits?"; "Why do New York City housing prices encourage gentrification?" and "Why don't more people want to volunteer?"

Eventually, I understood his advice: Being ordinary is simply being unaware. For every consideration, every decision that we make, we have the ability to contemplate an expanse of information that has not been laid out, is not known. And, when we push past our boundaries and begin to question our options, our situations, our perspectives we begin to evoke change.

In my life, I never want to be ordinary. Whether in the microcosm of my career, my family or in the landscape of my industry, my society, I will bring a passionate awareness to my pursuits, to my innovations. I will affect change, challenge paradigms, make markets, and reveal less-than-likely possibilities.

We all have limitless potential to bring awareness to our lives. We all have the ability to evoke change. Choose not to be ordinary. Keep asking questions.

— Emily Hoffman