I’ve got news for you. If you want an extraordinary life, you can have it. It may be a little tougher, but it will be a whole lot more rewarding. So go ahead, read on, and get what YOU want out of life.
- You DON’T need permission to be extraordinary. About 7 billion people are going to do what they think they should, what they think others think they should, what they think is a sure thing, or what makes them money. That’s cool. If you want to do that, you can. With no lack of company. But if you feel sucked dry by the idea of that, if that feels empty and boring and absolutely terrible – you can do something else. And no one has to tell you that you are allowed to do it. Don’t wait for permission. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to try or what you are good at. Go out and ask. Find it. Experience it.
- We all start small. ALL of us. We all have to take halting steps, face our fears, and figure out where to go. We all have to test our mettle. We have to go from 0 to 10 before we can get to 100. At the beginning we all are dreaming of something that we have never, ever experienced. It’s ok. Dream Big anyway. We only get what we reach for. If you have a big vision, want a big life, it’s ok to start small. The people who got there dreamed bigger and didn’t stop at the ordinary. Authenticity, perseverance and clear direction that get us to where we need to go. We all start small. You can too.
- Know what you want. The way to know what you want is to TRY THINGS! Try them personally. And notice how you feel. Knowing what you don’t want is a good start but it is not knowing what you want. Have an idea of what this is? GOOD. Go out and find a way to try it. Ask people who do it about it and how they got there. Read books on it and go to talks about it. Listen to podcasts about it. Follow the news on it. Hang out with it. Flirt with it a little. Sometimes that thing we think we will love is like the hot guy in high school. Maybe it’s a Romeo and Juliet situation. But maybe he is an egocentric jerk who is totally wrong for you. The only way to know is to date a bit. Take it slow and pay attention. What you want is what works for you. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to make you rich. No one else has to see the allure. Always increase the positive and decrease the negative. Happiness is in the day to day.
- Trust your gut in all matters. Be fearlessly yourself. What you have to give will come from your deep strengths, your values, your character, and your experience. Cultivate a conversation with these. This is the compass that will guide you. Perhaps a bit imperfectly at times, but the only true way into an extraordinary life. Everyone will have an opinion. Take it all in. But the surest way to get to what works for you is to notice what you want, how you react, how you think, what works for YOU. You are the person the most invested in the outcome. You know what is right and wrong. Trust yourself.
- Nothing is inevitable. Sometimes we mistake dreaming for planning. It is easy to substitute a picture of what we want for the follow through that is actually required to make it happen. Imagine the ending. YES. But also build the foundation to get there. Take the time to understand the map. The steps still have to be taken. Don’t sit stuck and think you will get there, somehow. When the knowledge and habits we have carefully built are aligned with our goal, we have the foundation.
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” – Henry David Thoreau –
- That being said, you can’t know the end in the beginning. Don’t wait to know every detail before you start. You won’t get it. Don’t let fear disguised as perfectionism stop you before you get going. It will unfold as you step forward. It’s ok to fail. It’s called learning. Move. Get working. Act. See what happens and then go back to #4. Trust yourself.
- Let it be. You are choosing an unconventional path. Life will not always feel good. You will feel bad sometimes. You will face uncertainty. You will want to quit. Learn to expect this. it doesn’t mean you are failing, or being punished, or on the wrong track. Learn not to give too much weight to any one experience, any one emotion. Everything will pass eventually. You will slowly learn to savor all of the moments. To learn what gratitude really means. To see how rich you already are. It is part of the process. And the fear, the pain, the uncertainty, well, that’s going to happen anyway. So go with it. Just let it be.
- Fail forward. You will be afraid. You will have to learn new things, try new things, push your limits. Which means failing at first. Being on weak ground. This will suck. This is necessary. When strong feelings come up, learn to hold them gently in front of you. Examine them. What is there? Listen to the fear, listen to the shame. Let it come and then let it go. If it is in front of you, it will be harder for it to sabotage you. Failing is a necessary step in growth, in success. You are enough, as you are. Perfection is (luckily) NOT a requirement for attaining the extraordinary.
- Connect. No man is an island. Connect at every turn. You will find you are part of something bigger. Many bigger things. Find these worlds and the people you love and admire in them. Connect and contribute and seek advice and give help. LEARN. Be curious. So curious. Ask people and soak yourself in their stories. Seek others out and have experiences together. Reflect. Reach out. Ask for help. Notice who brings what into your life and what you bring to others.
- Good things take time. Don’t stop. Readjust. Change course. But don’t give up. Everything takes time. you will need to master some damn good habits. You will need to brush up your willpower. You will need a clear path to experiment your way along, a clear vision to inspire you, and a clear purpose to motivate you when you can’t quite feel your passion. People who get what they want try harder, try longer, and learn every time they fail. Embody that spirit.
Ok I lied. Here’s a bonus one:
Happiness is only now. Not yesterday and certainly not tomorrow. Don’t wait to be happy until you have reached your goals. Allow yourself to be happy now. As you are with what you have. Strive to be what you can but don’t think you NEED to be or have it before you can be happy. Happiness is a now or never kind of thing.