Normal is Boring

Mike Smith

Mike Smith created his own foundation named, “Skate for Change,” where he and his friends skate around and hand out socks to the homeless. Donate to this cause at!

Sarah Meadows, Section Editor

Normal is boring, right? Well, being anything other than the norm is rather intimidating. The human being is wired to be comforted by company. Thus, when one individual decides to take a step off society’s pre-paved path, there are elements of risk and loneliness. Nonetheless, such negative factors are only to be accompanied by elements of self-satisfaction and all around success in the game of life.

This “game of life” has three main characters according to Mike Smith, speaker, consultant, ambassador, author, media sensation, and leader. First, there are the “wishers,” who constantly wish that they had someone else’s life instead of their own. Second, there are the “talkers,” who constantly talk about what they are going to do with their life but never actually follow through with what they say. Third, there are the “doers.” These individuals simply mind their own business and do whatever their heart desires. From helping those in need to traveling the world to speak to students to writing his own books, Mike Smith is unequivocally a doer. And he shares his story of what he has done.

Yorba Linda High School was lucky enough to have the opportunity to hear Mike Smith share his story. He explained that he grew up as a little skater kid tearing up the city day in and day out, just him and his board, when he found out that he and his family were to move to a rural town in Nebraska, where there were more cows than humans. Throughout his academic career, it was obviously hard for him to fit in with these kids who had grown up in such a different lifestyle. So, he had to make the decision whether he was going to be liked by others or liked by himself (hint: he walked into the first day of middle school with purple hair). Once high school rolled around, he eventually realized his athletic talents, which led him to more popularity and of course, arrogance. As time went on, that little promise that he made to himself about not tending to the likings of others seemed to slowly shatter piece by piece. Mike Smith saw this and did something about it. He has dedicated the rest of his life to picking up those shattered pieces and repairing them with what he loves to do: helping others.

Sterling Millsap (11) explained that, “by connecting to us high schoolers, he makes us feel that if he can help the world around him, we can help the world around us in our own way. He praises our differences and acknowledges our similarities at the same time.”

Mike Smith told the audience a short story of him in high school. After being suspended, his football coach told him that if he wrote an essay as to what he wanted to do when he was older, his punishment would be less harsh. Having no clue where his interests would someday take him, he instead wrote about a warehouse that he someday wanted to build. It would combine skateboarding and graffiti-like art into the perfect dream building. Years later, Mike Smith turned that little dream of his into reality. Ridiculed for spending his precious years dedicated to building a skatepark, he ignored those who do not understand that everyone receives one opportunity to live their own life the way they want to live it.

There is only a small percentage of society who are passionate enough about what they love to actually take the risks needed to live a life full of this love. It all comes down to how bad one wants it. A large percentage of society was simply born without the appetite and the hunger that drives people like Mike Smith to live and to love the way he does. But hey, Mike Smith is not the norm. Mike Smith is not boring.