How to Live an Extraordinary Life
“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”
- Jim Collins, Good to Great
People who prefer to live a “normal” life don’t want to pay most of the costs of an extraordinary life.
Everything worthwhile in life has an opportunity cost. If you accept opportunity “A,” that means passing on opportunity “B.”
You have to give up something in order to accomplish something else.
If you want to live an extraordinary life for the long-term, you’ll need to give up some things in the short-term. Some of these things may be dear to you, which makes them extremely difficult to let go. No one said this would be easy.
For some, it might mean giving up some of their favorite foods so they can finally see abs they’ve never seen before. It might mean seeing friends less often in order to do the work necessary do the work to succeed.
It might mean declining wedding invitations because the trips are too expensive. Maybe it means giving up sleeping in so you can have more time in your days. Maybe it means saying no to opportunities at work so you can remain a loving, present father to your children.
All great opportunities costs “good” ones.
An extraordinary life costs a “normal” life. You can’t have both.
You will have to sacrifice something that you value less than whatever it is you ultimately want.
Make no mistake, this is a high price to pay. In fact, many people simply decline the offer of an extraordinary life after they discover how much it would cost.
And that’s OK. An extraordinary life isn’t for everyone.
But if you want to live the extraordinary life no else is living, you’ll have to start living a life no one else does. This means giving up a “normal” life.
The 3 Things Everyone Needs to Sacrifice
“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. “ -Herman Melville
Everyone has different, unique things they’ll need to sacrifice in order to begin living an extraordinary life. But there are 3 things everyone will need to give up.
1. Security and Certainty
One of the cornerstones of an extraordinary life is giving up the safety nets, security, and guarantees of a normal life.
Maybe this is a steady paycheck at a job that will never allow you to reach your full potential. Maybe it’s the static 9–5 schedule. Maybe it’s a guaranteed retirement plan.
Of course, you don’t have to live in this scenario for the rest of your life. This lifestyle is exhausting at first — you’re always on your toes, never knowing when the next paycheck is coming in, unsure of the future.
But the extraordinary life gives you full control over your life and actions, at the cost of the comfort of having others call the shots.
This is one of the hardest parts to give up, and takes a long time to really sink in for even the most dedicated entrepreneurs, adventurers, and risk-takers.
2. Fear of Judgement
“The worst part of success is to try to find someone who is happy for you.” -Bette Midler
If you post a status on Facebook that says, “I got the job!” you’re likely to get dozens, even hundreds of likes. But if you post a status that says, “I finally started my own business!” you’re likely to experience little engagement at all. Which brings us to the next requirement of an extraordinary life: letting go of your fear of judgement.
Trying to explain your extraordinary life to others will begin to seem like a lost cause. Most people are afraid you’ll achieve the dreams they never did, and so they attempt to protect themselves from that failure by bringing you down.
The extraordinary life looks crazy to an outsider. They don’t understand it, and they’re afraid of it. To an individual living a “normal” life, the characteristics of an extraordinary life seem foolish, stupid, and unrealistic.
They don’t understand why you go to the gym even when you’re exhausted. They don’t understand why you’d wake up at 6am on the weekend when you could be sleeping in. They don’t understand why you’d prefer a wild, inconsistent, frightening life full of uncertainty when you could choose the comfort and safety of a normal one.
So they judge you. They criticize you, condemn you, and ostracize you by singling you out as stupid, naive, and silly.
You must ignore this.
You will never succeed if you continue to take more stock in what your critics say than what you belief about yourself.
This is another extremely difficult thing to give up. Separating ourselves from the herd is scary, and the criticisms and warnings from others might even sound wise. Let it go. This is your life, not theirs.
3. Other People’s Definition of Success
In the words of Srinivas Rao:
At some point, I realized that I had to give up other people’s definition of success. This is one of the most difficult things to give up because it is so deeply embedded in our cultural narratives that it becomes the standard by which we measure our lives. Even as entrepreneurs we have collectively agreed that fame and fortune are the markers of success.
But, giving up other people’s definition of success is incredibly liberating and ultimately leads to the fullest expression of who you are and what matters to you. It’s not a one-time thing. It’s a daily habit of comparing less and creating more.
“Success” doesn’t just mean what the larger mob of society says it means: “lots of money, fame, and fortune.” Many people with fame, fortune, and lots of money have terribly empty, imbalanced lives.
Your success isn’t defined by what other people say.
“Success is continuously improving who you are, how you live, how you serve, and how you relate.”
No one can define your success but you. If you continue to let others tell you what success is, you’ll never reach it. Even if you did, it wouldn’t be a true success, because it’s not what you really valued.
No, living an extraordinary life means defining your own version of what success is. You can begin to spend your time on what really matters to you.
Do you really want 100,000 Twitter followers? Do you really need to be in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list? Do you really want to be a New York Times Bestselling Author?
Or is your version of success more narrowed, more focused, more specific?
If you want to live an extraordinary life, your definition of success must be your own. If we are always chasing what other people tell us to, we’ll never experience true success.
Let go of other people’s versions of success. Define your own success, and achieve it.
That is true success.
Ultimately, it’s up to you what you’re willing to sacrifice to achieve an extraordinary life. There is no formula. But one thing is certain: you will need to sacrifice.
It will be hard. It won’t be pleasant
But the life you’re achieving — the extraordinary life — will be more rewarding than a normal life could ever be. Your relationships, finances, health, knowledge, passion, and purpose will all reach levels higher than ever before.
The cost of an extraordinary life is great.
Is it worth it to you?
SOURCE: Anthony Moore
Coach, author, writer. Success = pain + hard work