Points for debating on......hey, im going for an inter school debate competition and im assigned with the topic " excellence is not doing extraordinary things, but it is doing ordinary things...

Points for debating on......

hey, im going for an inter school debate competition and im assigned with the topic " excellence is not doing extraordinary things, but it is doing ordinary things extraordinarily". Im against the topic.......pls share views......:)

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This focuses on excellence within a task or role versus excellence that is external to a given task or role.

(1) Excellence that is external to a given or specific function does depend on being and/or doing the extraordinary. Think of Olympic competitors: they set the standard for physical excellence and they do it by being and doing the extraordinary. Think also of past masters Da Vinci, Beethoven, Frank Lloyd Wright, Caruso, the Wright brothers (the Marx brothers ...). Each and every one was extraordinary and did the extraordinary.

(2) Excellence that is within a given or specific function is most often dependent upon ordinary people doing ordinary things with extraordinary care or attention or love or precision. Think of the product engineers and workers at a seat-belt factory. These are ordinary people who do ordinary things in extraordinary ways so that you and I and babies stay safe.

The quote is actually presenting a logical fallacy by comparing two unlike, disparate things to each other and concluding that the one cancels the other out and negates the other. In truth, the Beethovens will never be--can never be--cancelled out by the seat-belt designers and workers though both will continue to exist and to be true.


M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

So, basically you are saying that you are against the premise that excellence is not doing extraordinary things, but it is doing ordinary things extraordinarily. You can say that the reason why you are against this idea is because there is no formula, baseline data, nor precedent that could help us decide what is doing something "extraordinarily". One may ask even, "extraordinary to who?" What is big for one person is a pittance to others. This world has become way too big and way too diverse to focus on things the way we used to back in the day when only a few people had the chance to expand their horizons. Nowadays everyone is doing something good as best as they can. Sometimes even something great. But, nowadays, nothing is extraordinary. We have made the world flat. We can do anything. All of us are and could be extraordinary let to our own devices. Or not.


wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I would tend to agree with post 3 that there is no difference between those two things. To take an example from post 2, playing the paino is a very ordinary thing. Lots of people can play an instrument. However, savants like Beethoveen are few and far between. You could also argue that once an ordinary thing is done extrodinarily it is no longer ordinary. Let's look again at Beethoven. While playing piano is ordinary, writing symphonies and composing music on such a level is not ordinary at all. One could argue then that ordinary things can not simply be done extraordinarily well without being inherently extraordinary in and of themselves.
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One thing I would say is that this is a meaningless distinction or a "distinction without a difference."  In other words, I would attack the whole premise.  What is the difference between an "extraordinary" thing and an "ordinary thing" done "extraordinarily?"  Every athlete in the world does ordinary things -- run, jump, kick a soccer ball, shoot a basketball.  But they do them in extraordinary ways and the things they do become completely extraordinary.

So I would argue that there is no difference between these two things.  Many things that are extraordinary are ordinary things done very well.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Interesting topic. If you are against this view, you might want to attack this statement by thinking of various examples of how excellence was achieved through genius or through doing extraordinary things. I am thinking of somebody like Mozart or Beethoven, who achieved excellence in their music because of their extraordinary talent rather than just doing "ordinary things extraordinarily." You might like to think of other inventors, artists or composers that could be used to disprove this statement.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would tend to agree with posting #2. Focus your argumenton those who have  proven to be excellent and extraordinary over time. I was thinking there could be a way to look at savants as well, given they are not ordinary, but you may have an issue defending the excellence aspect.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Anyone can do something different.  It takes someone really special to take something ordinary and make it different.  Sometimes there is more creativity involved in taking the everday and making it unexpected.

anny-cute | Student

thnx a lot guyz....got real help.....my lit teacher said the same stuff.....my debate is tomorrow. im mentioning people like beethoven, vinci, mozart, einstein, edison, gandhi, obama, nelson n stuff......i hope it turns out well....:)......il post my points i spoke as soon as i get time