What It Takes To Lead An Extraordinary Life
Originally appeared on my self-improvement blog.
Who doesn’t like adventure and sense of exceptionality in life? If an average existence of a typical coach potato scares you, this article will help you make your life extraordinary. Caution: sole reading won’t completely change your life, you have to apply the rules I’m about to mention. But if you’re disciplined enough to stick to them, I promise you, they’ll make a huge impact on your life.
This is your starting base you need to establish. You need to be a little rebel though there’s no need to draw graffiti on your neighbor’s house. Waiting for people’s approval will get you nowhere. Refuse to follow the mass. The crowd pays attention to validation and approval which is something you rarely get at the beginning of your journey to becoming extraordinary. Pioneers have to be able to go in spite of friction and disapproval. Pioneers don’t become slaves of other people’s approval.
Oftentimes we end up believing that everyone’s watching each step we take. And when the world finds out we did a mistake, then it’s over, everybody will laugh and mock. Such a mindset is paralyzing and if something similar is in your head, let me prescribe you some medicine. Read The Universe Doesn’t Give A Flying Fuck About You and Disobey, both available for free, no excuses! These short reads will change your mindset for better.
Once you’re able to take action regardless of people’s disapproval, you need to prepare for another appearance which will be an inevitable part of your life, namely, messing up.
Some people like to say that if you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail. As far as I’m concerned, that’s actually the biggest failure. Doing nothing with your life is a failure. Everything else, every obstacle you face on your way to exceptional life is just part of the learning process. Failing means giving up to try one more time. Exceptional results take practice and the unavoidable part of practice is messing up. But each time you fail (which, as I told you, isn’t the real failure), you’re getting closer to finally achieving success. Bite the bullet and keep going.
The best way to become an average Joe is to live your life without any goals and plans. I don’t want to take the spontaneity out of your life, I’m far from that. But if you use spontaneity as an excuse to have no goals in life, then that’s nothing but a routine. A daily routine where you use fictional spontaneity as a foolish excuse.
The great moments of fulfillment in my life are a result of setting a goal, developing the action plan to achieve it and going for it. No place for luck or guessing. Just the consequences of my actions from the past.
Whatever the thing is that you believe will spice up your life (aka making it extraordinary), you need to find out where you are now (point A), figure out what your ideal lifestyle is (point B) and find a way to connect these two dots.
For instance, if you’d like to write several bestsellers, but right now you didn’t even finish a short novel, then you need to create your action plan. In this case, it is writing and reading daily… actually a lot of writing and reading on a daily basis. This brings us to another point which is being prepared to wait.
Sticking to the example of writing a bestseller, it won’t happen overnight. It’s not only about being patient but also persistent. Persistence plays a huge role. You might write 2000 words and read 100 pages today, but if you fail to repeat this, then don’t expect any miracles. On the other hand, when you keep showing up day after day, time becomes your biggest friend.
The thing with time is, it will either make you or break you. Choose the wrong habits and over time, you may even die sooner than you expected. On the other hand, when you pick up a few positive routines and stick to them, the longer you keep going, the greater your reward will be. Lifting weights and eating healthy for a week won’t make you look like a bodybuilding competitor. However, do that for years+ and you’ll experience a huge transformation, both physical and mental. Here’s a short story about the guy who never quits.
What separates extraordinary individuals from average people is their ability to tolerate the uncertainty and discomfort. They’re confident that even though something seems uncomfortable on the surface, doing this thing will give them a lot of comfort from the long-term perspective.
Let’s visualize it on eating crap and eating healthy. A lot of people can’t hold back the urge to eat sweets or fast foods, so they go for it to experience the instant pleasure, a moment of comfort. What happens next, however, is feeling guilty and realizing that this habit is killing them when cultivated for a very long time. In this case, the time is their biggest enemy: the longer they continue eating unhealthy, the more damage they’ll have to deal with in the future. However, switching to a healthy diet might cause discomfort at first, but, in the long run, you’ll love it.
The point of embracing discomfort is being able to face any obstacle which is holding you back from reaching your ideal lifestyle. Hitting the gym when you’re tired after work or school is uncomfortable, been there, done that. Again, the real discomfort comes from realizing that you’re just laying on the sofa doing nothing productive just because you were afraid of a grain of discomfort. A good exercise to test your ability to withstand discomfort is taking a cold shower, here is why.
If somebody says you something can’t be done, that’s fine, accept their reality and find out the truth yourself. Limits are just other people’s perception of their abilities and disabilities. You have to become deaf to others’ mental barriers.
Oftentimes, a limitation is nothing but an opinion, something subjective you can’t trust. People will try to enforce you their truth, but you have to become deaf to that. This causes disapproval and friction, but from the previous point, you already know you have to become immune to that.
The inevitable part of sticking to the above points is building self-control, which is necessary to do anything extraordinary for a long time. Today’s world is full of traps which suck up your precious time, make you lazy and eager to procrastinate. Therefore, self-control is the game-changing skill you need to develop. Here’s my recent post with 7 helpful self-control exercises.
But why is that important? Well, you may feel highly motivated today, but motivation is just a feeling which can fade away like any other. Self-control is required to go in spite of the lacking motivation, to keep going even though you’d rather give up. This is where the real difference is made.
To help you improve your self-control, I wrote a book that you can grab for free: “In Control: 5 Weeks To Stronger Self-Discipline”.
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I’m Oskar, an entrepreneur, a moderate minimalist and self-improvement freak. I write on Growthzer, where I help people create a better life.