07 Jul How to Lead an Extraordinary Life!
“While it may seem small, the ripple effects of small things is extraordinary.”
— Matt Bevin
What does it take to live an extraordinary life? It may be simpler than we think. You might believe that the extraordinary life is beyond your reach. Or that it would take a lot of effort to achieve.
However, what if we take the word apart and study what it means on a fundamental level? We might then be able to see that the extraordinary life is much easier to achieve than we’d thought.
- The word “extra” comes from Latin, meaning “outside of.”
- Synonyms for the word “ordinary” include usual, regular, typical, standard, every day, and customary.
So, from putting together these most basic and understandable components, we have the following:
Extraordinary means “outside of whatever is usual, regular, typical, standard, every day, or customary.
Therefore, the extraordinary life is one you and I experience each time we do something that goes outside of our usual or customary way of acting. It’s that simple!
Let’s break this down even further:
Everyone has usual and customary ways of doing certain things in their life. For instance, we have specific routines or habitual ways of behaving. And even when we think of doing something different, we’re often met with that usual inner conversation that says, “Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow when I have more time.”
When we live our lives listening to that conversation, we create a structure, a kind of box, that’s filled with what we’d love to do “some day. One day.” The extraordinary life seems a long way off.
A friend of mine, Joyce, put it this way:
Joyce: There’s so much more I want to do with my life! I’m an adventurer, but it seems that since the pandemic, I’m “stuck” in the same daily routine, over and over again. Just talking about it makes my chest heavy!
Or, this is from my client Sally:
Sally: I’ve wanted to take up flamenco dancing! It’s been a desire of mine for 15 years. But I never actually get around to doing it. There’s always something else to do first. Something I have to get out of the way before I can start. For example, I really should take a course on bookkeeping! I’ve needed to do this for my business. I tell myself that then I’ll have the time to learn flamenco. It’s been this way for about four years.
“There’s always something else to do first” is the habitual thought and behavior pattern here. It’s the ordinary way Sally has created for living her life. In other words, before she can enjoy a new or different hobby, she must take care of something else.
The following quote from Fr. Alfred D’Souza sums it up:
“For a long time, it seemed to me that life was about to begin. Real-life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin.”
This is the way many of us live. We have habitual thoughts and behaviors that keep us doing the same things, day after day or even year after year. This is what it’s like to live an ordinary life.
Now let’s look at the word “extraordinary” again. Could you do something outside of your usual routine? Outside of your customary way of looking at life?
And if you did this, might the result be pure enjoyment and relief? Here are some examples from the lives of people I’ve coached over the past 30+ years.
Alex: I decided not to wait any longer to take piano lessons! It’s opened up my life in a way I could never have imagined! I’m getting ready for my first piano recital with six friends as my audience!
Suze: I’m doing a “Zoom cooking class” with my two nieces. They live in Chicago. I’m in Los Angeles. This next Saturday I’m going to show them how to make banana nut bread! I’ve wanted to do this for years. What a joke! I didn’t think I had enough time.
Marni: Who says you can’t learn something new when you’re 80! Today was my first yoga class! Yes, I don’t bend as far as my younger classmates. But that’s not the point, is it? I’m doing well for someone my age.
These are just a few examples of doing something “extraordinary.” Especially if you see the true meaning of the word. Our lives consist of moments in which we have the freedom to ask:
“What would be extraordinary for me to do today?”
What if you were to ask yourself that question each morning for 30 days? And what if you wrote down that answer and actually did it?
Me? I’m taking out my Martin guitar today. I haven’t played it in about 40 years. It’s about time I get to it, don’t you think? That would be truly extraordinary!
“Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.”
— Paulo Coelho