“If you want to live an exceptional and extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that are part of a normal one.” -Srinivas Rao
Most people have a hard time saying “no.”
Most people don’t have fulfilling, intimate relationships with their loved ones.
Most people are unhealthy and overweight.
Most people are compulsive buyers and foolish spenders, perpetually in debt.
Most people have no long-term plans or goals.
Most people can’t commit to anything.
Most people don’t sleep well.
Most people consume too much alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.
Most people live ordinary, average lives.
And to quote Seth Godin:
“Is there a difference between ‘average’ and ‘mediocre?’ Not so much.”
The Truth is Bad For Business
The world is only too happy when people remain average and ordinary.
That’s because the larger mob of society — unfulfilled, average individuals who settle for less than they could have — play right into the world’s desire for money, power, and influence.
To put it bluntly — the world doesn’t care if you succeed. The world would rather you play your part as a cog in the bigger wheel.
A large theme told to our society by those in power — companies, corporations, influencers — is that we need more. More clothes, more food, more money, more “stuff.”
In truth, we don’t need more of any of these things (something extraordinary people see with great clarity).
But this truth is bad for business.
So the world targets our weakest pressure points and basest behaviors — insecurity, pride, fear, sex drive, jealousy — and tells us exactly how we can “fill our void.”
With products. Cheap imitations. Shiny new gadgets that give the appearance of wealth. Things that (we’re promised) will finally satisfy us, but really only leave us wanting more.
If you want to live an extraordinary life, you need to realize this simple truth:
The world doesn’t cater to extraordinary people.
If you want to be extraordinary, you’ll need leave the safety and comfort of the majority.
You need to create your own set of rules.
The World Doesn’t Cater to Extraordinary People
“The more bold you are, the more rejection you’ll experience.” -Todd Henry, Louder Than Words
Do you know how hard it is to become extraordinary?
It’s almost impossible.
The world doesn’t set individuals up to achieve an extraordinary life. Accomplishing this is difficult in every scenario.
In the tongue-in-cheek words of author Todd Brison: “Nobody is going to say ‘George, I heard you’re trying to make it as a photographer! Why don’t you just take some time between 1 and 3 to leave your desk, go outside, and get some great shots for your portfolio.’”
That’s not how it works.
If you want to achieve an extraordinary life and achieve true success, you need to be ready to shed off the drab uniforms of the majority and start on a new, far less-frequented path.
This is extremely difficult. The majority hates deserters — these individuals often remind them of how their own life is so unfulfilling.
People who leave the mob are largely ostracized and condemned as “foolish,” their dreams “unrealistic,” and their future “hopeless.”
The world isn’t set up to cater to extraordinary people. Individuals with self-control, a servant’s heart, an ironclad commitment to personal development find themselves very out of place among the larger mob of society.
Fortunately, anyone can choose to become extraordinary. It’s extremely tough, but entirely possible.
What Extraordinary Looks Like
“Ordinary people seek entertainment. Extraordinary people seek education and learning.” -Benjamin P. Hardy
If you want to be extraordinary, you’ll have to start living a completely different life than how the majority lives.
If you examine the behaviors, lifestyles, and actions of extraordinary people, you’ll often see extremely rare qualities.
These individuals often wake up very, very early every day. They’re usually very frugal people. They often run their own businesses over a long time, building up the stamina, discipline, motivation, and self-control to sustain their career success.
They have a healthy diet. Their relationships with friends and family are of the utmost importance. They don’t spend their time on low-quality activities like watching TV, partying at bars with people they don’t even like, or spending time with negative people.
Most importantly: they have an insatiable desire for personal development.
“Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.” -Hal Elrod, The Miracle Morning
This type of lifestyle takes a long time to build.
It requires severing negative relationships with toxic people. It requires an unapologetic commitment to learning and discipline.
It often requires going through years of ridicule and criticism from many people around you.
This is life defined by struggle, hard work, pain, and overcoming extremely difficult adversity over a long, long time.
Most People Will Never Be Successful
“Most people never see extraordinary opportunities because all they’re looking for is money and security, so that’s all they get.” -Robert Kyosaki, Rich Dad Poor Dad
Most people are not on a road to success.
Most people say “yes” to everything offered to them, like fast food, products they don’t need, appearances, and things to fill the hole they have that they haven’t addressed.
Frankly, most people who say they want a fulfilling, truly successful future see the price tag for this life and say: “Nope. Never mind.”
It costs too much. It’s too difficult. They give up before they even start, and so remain living an average, ordinary life.
An extraordinary life requires you to leave the comfort and safety of the majority — securities most people rely on heavily. This extreme price is why most of the world never achieves an extraordinary life.
There’s no denying becoming extraordinary has a high cost.
But waiting on the other side is the life you’ve always wanted:
Maybe it’s 100% financial freedom and independence.
Perhaps it’s close-knit and loving families.
A purposeful career bursting with passion and energy.
That rare, fulfilling rest only reserved for individuals who actions align with their values.
This is what the extraordinary life is.
Do you want it?
Is it worth it to you?
3 Steps to Start Becoming Extraordinary
“The problem is that our culture has engaged in a Faustian bargain, in which we trade our genius and artistry for apparent stability.” -Seth Godin
The world caters to individuals who seek comfort, safety, and security above all else, even at the expense of their passion and dreams.
But that’s not how we’re meant to experience our lives.
In the words of Navy Admiral Grace Hopper, “A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”
Humans are incredible beings. We were not meant to protect ourselves from all possibility of danger and harm. We can do almost anything if we decide we want to, and overcome almost any adversity.
Once you enter the extraordinary life, it will look like you have superpowers. You will attract wealth. You will live with meaning. You will travel and achieve success after success.
Although the world doesn’t cater to people who wish to become extraordinary, this life is still available to anyone.
Here are three specific steps you must take to transform an ordinary to an extraordinary life.
1. Realize This Life Will Be Very Lonely — At First.
You can’t be an important and life-changing presence for some people without also being a joke and an embarrassment to others.” -Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
When you first leave the comfort and security of the majority (an integral requirement for living an extraordinary life), the road will be lonely.
Evolving is painful. Not everyone wants to pay the price for success.
Your capacity for spending time on low-quality tasks will begin shrinking. Bingeing on television, spending a lot of money partying at bars, eating crappy foods, hanging around toxic people — you won’t be able to engage in these activities anymore, even if all your friends still do.
The things you spend your time on will shrink to only what is most important.
The first steps towards becoming the best version of yourself has a high cost. It requires you to sacrifice what is merely “good” for what it great.
It means you say “no” to anything that isn’t helping you become a better version of yourself.
This road is lonely.
While you’re busy shedding off negative influences, friends and family may rush to confront you about your recent behavior.
You may be demanded to answer why you haven’t been drinking, partying, or spending as much. “You never go out anymore!” they might accuse you.
Your new life will be difficult to explain to others. Some people may never understand it.
Suddenly, your circle of friends may shrink.
In some cases, maybe your circle of friends will disappear entirely — if all your “friends” weren’t even friends at all.
The road to becoming extraordinary is lonely — at first.
True friends will come. Teachers and mentors will arrive. A community will welcome you with open arms.
But this may take time.
“It’s not about being indifferent — it’s about being comfortable being different.” -Mark Manson
2. Become a Disciple of True Experts.
“The awakening to your own ignorance is the beginning of wisdom.” -Frank Crane, The Business of Life
Becoming extraordinary is difficult enough. Without help and guidance, it is impossible.
Fortunately, there are plenty of knowledgeable, reliable, wise experts who can help you on your journey.
I began following three of these influencers when I first awoke to my ordinary life and began to change.
The first expert I began following was Benjamin P. Hardy. One article in particular titled “Why Most People Will Never Be Successful,” was one of the most inspiring, instructive, and enlightening articles I have ever read.
Another expert I began following intensely was Jon Westenberg.
Another paragon of insight, wisdom, and unapologetic commitment to personal development, Westenberg’s writing became another foundation in my growth. (I recently had a short chat with Jon over Skype. Pretty cool when you can meet your heroes, huh?).
Tim Ferriss is another excellent teacher of “lifestyle design,” recreating your life to achieve optimal results. His book The 4-Hour Workweek planted the seed for me to eventually choose a life of entrepreneurship over the corporate world.
There’s so much you don’t know when you first start out, and the road to becoming extraordinary can be so lonely. At times, it may seem like these experts are the only ones who understand you.
You must become a follower of people who know how to get where you want to go.
Become a humble, thirsty student. Develop an insatiable hunger for knowledge and wisdom. Read books and articles, listen to podcasts and radio shows.
Become a disciple of experts.
3. The Good Plan You Follow Is Better Than the Great One You Don’t.
“Long-term consistency beats short-term intensity.” -Bruce Lee
There are many ways to become extraordinary.
The first problem most people have is they bite off more than they can chew. The second inevitable problem — when they failure these impossibly high standards — they give up and revert back to their old behaviors.
Becoming extraordinary looks different to everyone. If you start implementing all the advice you read from all those “8 Things Highly Successful People Do” articles at once, you’ll crash and burn.
Waking up early consistently takes time. Eating healthy foods consistently takes time. Changing your spending habits takes time.
You’ve spent 20, 30, 40+ years being ordinary. Why do you think you could change everything in a few days?
You can’t. So don’t make the mistake most people do when they first start their journey: trying too much.
“This is the process how wealth is accumulated: first in small sums, then in larger ones as a man learns and becomes more capable.” -The Richest Man in Babylon
Start small. Consistency is more important than style. Consistency over time yields extraordinary results as you learn to handle more and more.
Do what you can. The rest will follow.
Achieving an extraordinary life is very difficult. It comes at a high cost, and most people are unwilling to pay the price.
The world caters to individuals who wish to stay in the safety of the majority. Even if this lifestyle is unfulfilling and subpar, it’s comfortable and secure.
It’s up to you if you want to become extraordinary.
Do you want to?
If you do, you’ll need to start swimming against the tide. You’ll have to change your mindset and lifestyle.
I can guarantee it will be difficult.
But it will be worth it.
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