What does living an extraordinary life really look like?
Well, in order to see the â€œextra,â€ letâ€™s look at an ordinary life first. When I say ordinary, I mean youâ€™re in a job you donâ€™t particularly love, youâ€™re plodding along day to day, and youâ€™re just kind of existing.
An extraordinary life, on the other hand, is one you design. You live a life that you want to live, a life thatâ€™s exciting and invigorating. You donâ€™t have to live a life of extraordinary wealth, though thereâ€™s nothing wrong with that. But you are in charge of your life. Youâ€™re doing what you want to do, youâ€™re being paid for doing something youâ€™d be doing anyway, and youâ€™re genuinely happy. To me, the best definition of an extraordinary life is a happy life.
Here are seven specific ways to transform your life from ordinary to extraordinary :
1. Understand yourself
You need to figure out what motivates you. What excites you? What are you passionate about? What is it that you love to do?
If youâ€™re not sure, spend some time understanding yourself. Observe what makes you happy, what makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning and what makes you feel fulfilled. Focus on doing the things in life that youâ€™re dramatically excited about.
2. Get paid for what you love to do
Once you figure out what motivates you, try to design your life where you are maximizing the amount of time youâ€™re doing that activity. Maybe that means setting aside time in the morning or on the weekends at first. Then try to design a life where youâ€™re actually being paid to do what you love. The goal is to earn your living doing something that youâ€™re passionate about and would do for free.
3. Invest in lifelong learning
If you want to live an extraordinary life, you have to focus on improving yourself every day. At the end of the year, you should understand and know something that you didnâ€™t know at the beginning of the year. The only way you can coast in life is downhill. Stay green and growing. Challenge your brain with mastering something that you didnâ€™t know before.
4. Have high expectations
This is critical to leading an extraordinary life. Donâ€™t become cynical and think, Good things donâ€™t happen to me. Things always go wrong for me. Have high expectations for yourself and your life. Dream big. Let yourself get excited about a big goal or a big idea. Stay inspired to move forward and continue growing. A big dream can help you do that.
5. Be financially independent
Thereâ€™s a difference between financially independent and rich. Financially independent is where you live within your means. You donâ€™t have massive amounts of debt. Out in the world, you might look at some people and think, Wow, they must be rich: Look at that car, look at that house. But in reality, they might owe everybody known to man. To me, that is not extraordinary. Extraordinary is where nobodyâ€”no institution, no bankâ€”has their thumb on you. Dream big, but prepare for adversity. Expect and plan to succeed, but realize life doesnâ€™t always go great.
Being financially independent means youâ€™re never in a position where youâ€™d be ruined if the world around you went downhill. When the financial collapse happened in 2008, my kids were going to private school. I remember so many other people pulled their kids out of school. I knew friends who had planes and then suddenly didnâ€™t have planes anymore because so much of their life was built on debt.
Whatever level Iâ€™ve been at in life, Iâ€™ve always believed in the idea that a paid-for car is a good car. A car you owe a gazillion dollars on so you can drive a Maserati is not a good car. Become financially independent.
6. Deal equally well with success and failure
If you try many things, if you live a life of adventure, youâ€™re going to have a lot of success, and a lot of failure. Hanging in my office is a framed copy of Rudyard Kiplingâ€™s poem, â€œIf.â€ At one point, it says, â€œIf you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the sameâ€¦â€
Things are never as good as you think they are when everythingâ€™s going good, and on the other side, things are never as bad as you think they are when things are going crappy. What sets you apart is the ability to go through life, grow through life and weather the storm. There are going to be sunny days and stormy days. Thatâ€™s just fact. Put yourself in a position where you can financially, physically, emotionally and mentally make it through.
7. Work harder
The founder of Primerica, Art Williams, used to give a speech on â€œA Little Bit More.â€ He talked about the difference between the super successful person and the average person. He said the winner does what it takesâ€¦ and a little bit more. You canâ€™t go through life just doing whatâ€™s necessary. You have to do whatâ€™s beyond necessary. If one level of effort will get you ahead, then the next level of effort will get you to an extraordinary life.
Succeeding in life is not easy. It takes hard work. The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. Work hard. Pay the price. But make sure that youâ€™re working hard and paying a price toward a goal that you want to achieve. Do that, and an extraordinary life is within your reach.