Achieving a fulfilling, even extraordinary life will rarely result from a lightning strike of fate. Instead, it will usually happen as the result of an accumulation of daily decisions, made knowingly or not, to push yourself in one direction over another. If you want to be exceptional and not just mediocre, start by recognizing that you have the power to control many aspects of your life. Here’s how to be extraordinary, one step at a time.
If you want to be extraordinary in life, start by grateful for what you have now. You might think you don’t have anything to be thankful for but look deeper. There’s always something good in every situation, even if it’s just that you got out of bed today.
Being grateful is a vital part of living a fulfilling life. It helps you appreciate what you have, makes you happier, and leads to success in many areas of life — from relationships and business to health and happiness.
Gratitude has been linked to many benefits, including greater happiness, improved health, a better ability to deal with adversity, and stronger relationships. And when you’re grateful for what you have, it makes it easier to achieve your goals because there’s less chance of getting caught up in negative thoughts or emotions like envy or resentment that distract you from getting things done.
Suppose you want an extraordinary life, practice mindfulness — the ability to be aware of what you’re doing while doing it — as often as possible. Here are some benefits of mindfulness that might surprise you:
- It reduces stress. When you are stressed out or anxious about something, your mind tends to focus on negative thoughts, making you feel even more worried. One study on present-moment awareness indicates a positive correlation between mindfulness and the ability to adapt to daily stressors.
- It improves your performance in all areas of life. Mindfulness makes you more focused, more aware of the tasks, and better prepared for any situation. It helps you perform at your best when it matters most.
- It leads to increased happiness. Mindfulness is about being fully engaged in whatever you are doing, so there is less room for negativity or worry about past regrets or future worries.
If we all just took a moment to practice empathy and show compassion toward ourselves and others, our world would be extraordinary. Here are some reasons compassion matters:
- Compassion is linked to increased happiness and lower rates of anxiety and depression; conversely, high self-criticism and low self-compassion may result in higher rates of depression.
- It promotes social connection, emotional resilience, increased psychological health and well-being, and improved parent-child relationships,
- Compassion in healthcare promotes more cooperative behaviour between patients and nurses; it’s also linked with longer survival rates of HIV patients, according to one 17-year study.
Compassion and empathy are like muscles that need to be exercised regularly, so they don’t atrophy. Here are some ways you can develop these qualities:
- Smile at everyone you see. Putting a smile on someone else’s face has a way of making you smile, too.
- Volunteer your time. Volunteering is a great way to give back and help people who need assistance. You can volunteer at local homeless shelters, food banks, or even at a library for children’s Storytime.
- Listen before you speak. When someone tells you something, listen to what they’re saying and don’t interrupt them.
- Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. This can help you understand why someone might be acting a certain way, even if you don’t agree with their actions or decisions.
- Be kinder to yourself. Remember that nobody’s perfect — including you! When things go wrong, avoid criticizing yourself harshly. Take some deep breaths, remind yourself that this moment will pass, and be open to learning from failures and mistakes (and celebrate them!).
To live an extraordinary life, focus on being the best version of yourself. Taking care of yourself through proper eating, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and self-care practices gives you energy and allows you to be your most extraordinary self. Here’s how:
- Eat a diet that includes mainly whole foods. Avoid processed foods, sugar, soda, and refined grains. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, good fats like avocados and olive oil, and meat in moderation. Drink water throughout the day instead of sugary drinks like soda or juice with no nutritional value.
- Exercise regularly. Aim for at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week as an adult, or 60 minutes for those aged 6 to 17. Among many benefits, regular exercise reduces anxiety, lowers blood pressure, improves sleep and insulin sensitivity, and reduces the risk of diseases like cancer, dementia, and heart disease.
- Incorporate a meditation practice. Meditation allows you to relax, focus your mind, and reduce stress. If you have trouble with stillness, try a meditation app for guided meditations.
- Get enough sleep. The Sleep Foundation notes that sleep benefits systems throughout your body, including your mind. It’s critical for your body’s ability to repair and renew itself day by day. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep, while younger people need more.
When it comes to work, do you feel like you’re doing what you love — or getting paid to do what’s practical or profitable? To live an extraordinary life, it’s essential to do what you love, not just what pays well. But how do you make sure you’re doing something fulfilling and meaningful? Sometimes, it’s necessary to hang on to a job for financial reasons, but in the meantime, you can work toward finding a job that makes your heart sing. Here are some strategies:
- Start by asking yourself what’s important to you. Do you want to work with people? Do you want to work with ideas? Do you want freedom of location or the stability of an office job?
- Look at the skills that align with your interests. Are there specific skills or knowledge related to your passion that would be useful in a job? Could you benefit from continuing education in your desired field?
- Think about what kind of work environment would be most satisfying for you. Do you like working alone or as part of a team? What kind of hours would you like to work? Do you need a lot of variety in tasks and projects?
- Consider how much money is involved in your desired career path. There’s no reason not to be paid well for doing something you love. Pursuing an entrepreneurial path allows some people to meet their professional and financial goals.
Everyone has the potential to live an extraordinary life, but it’s easy to get stuck in the mundane and forget that a great life is available to you. Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose a path that will make your life extraordinary. If you start by implementing the strategies above, you might be amazed at how quickly your life can improve — and how you can continue building on your successes.