I don’t recall most of my early twenties. Most likely because I never took time to slow down and really live an extraordinary life.
Perhaps you can relate. Most of us live a life on autopilot; a few “wake up” soon enough to pause, reflect and really be in the present.
Too often we take life for granted, delaying our passions and dreams to a “tomorrow” that’s never guaranteed.
Decades of your life may be gone, but it’s never too late to take charge. It’s true that the memories you most cherish will never come from staying within your comfort zone.
It doesn’t have to be a large lifestyle change or uprooting your whole belief system, but you've got to start somewhere.
We’ve been brainwashed to have an “ideal vision” of what it means to be happy. We think, it’s sipping margaritas at the beach or going away on an indefinite vacation.
The reality? Far from it.
Happiness comes from appreciating what’s in front of you. Those who are the happiest aren’t necessarily satisfied by an endless line of material possessions, but are thankful for what they have.
It’s easy to feel bad when you’re going through a tough time, to wallow in self-pity and use it as an excuse to not take action. But no matter how tough life may seem, there are always thousands of reasons to be grateful.
As you begin to appreciate the little and big things in your life -- your family, your friends, the roof over your head, the internet you’re tapping into to read this -- then you’ll start to see things the whole new way.
To tell you the truth, comfort zones aren’t about comfort, they’re about fear. Without taking risks, you can never grow or develop.
Look at nature – it’s always changing, adapting, evolving. No questions asked. Yes?
If nature can bend and still be resilient, surely we can too?
Because how else can you expect to evolve if you only stick to old habits and routine? Of course, it’s scary. So be upfront and honest that you’re afraid before you begin adapting to the new changes. A life lived in fear is the furthest thing from extraordinary. It’s routine, it’s safe, and it’s ordinary.
And although it can seem scary, you don’t have to jump out of a plane or travel the world. Start small; do things as little as trying a new restaurant, taking a different commute to work, or even getting a new haircut. Identify your fears. Make small changes on a day-to-day basis; because you can’t banish your fears overnight.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Ghandi
The best entrepreneurs don’t know everything. The most successful people are voracious readers. The best coaches are always learning, upgrading their skills and challenging themselves.
Someone wise once said that the only way to mastery is through teaching. Once you start teaching, you’re also learning and forming new experiences and new neural pathways in your brain. You’re stretching and growing.
The world is infinite place with so much to offer. To live a fuller life, continually look for ways to self-improve. Surprisingly, the small steps of accepting little discomfort and learning new things can take you a long way to live an extraordinary life.
As a teenager, I remember feeling constantly engulfed by envy, belittling myself because I was never the smartest, the most outgoing, the prettiest, or the “best.” I discredited my achievements, and instead spent days wishing I had (what I assumed) other people’s perfect lives. It took me years to accept that the presence of another person’s success is not the absence of my own.
Like Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparisons are the thief of joy.” They are a human tendency that deprives us from living our best possible life. We compare the worst of ourselves to the best we presume about others, and begin to resent our lives.
A better strategy? Compare yourself to your earlier self. What are qualities you’ve recently developed? What can you do now better than before? These are the healthy comparisons you should be making to appreciate your evolution, and pursue further development.
We tend to do what feels safe. We choose to be accountants instead of pursuing our inner artists. We choose to accept the resentment of waking up every day, dreading Monday mornings, instead of taking charge of our happiness.
Sure, realistically, your career should ultimately lead to financial security. Yet, if financial security is your only motivator, it’s going to be harder for you to take the daring step in order to do what you love.
Go for a balance instead. For example, you don’t have to quit your day job just yet – transition out of it by working a few hours in the evening or the weekend.
Things can change if you really want them to, at any age.
Question is, how bad do you want it?
Life isn’t about settling for what you are given. It’s about what you make of it.
We all have the choice to live the mediocre and be OK with it or blaze our own trail and take the road less travelled.
How do you want to remember your life? What are some lifelong dreams you’ve never had the chance to attempt? Are you making decisions that allow you to live an extraordinary life?
Talk to us in the comments below!