It’s become increasingly clear to me that an extraordinary life doesn’t come from massive financial wealth, climbing the corporate ladder, fancy titles, or 15 minutes of fame. The other place you’ll never find an extraordinary life is in the approval of others, especially while doing what you think everyone expects of you.
If you want to live an extraordinary life, you have to identify and appreciate the extraordinary things that are already part of your life. The reason something is extraordinary or remarkable in your life is because you say it is. It’s that simple.
Like the time I stayed with my sister, brother-in-law, and niece and nephew in Doha, Qatar and was overwhelmed with the extraordinary things I had the great fortune to experience like:
- Sand-boarding in the desert with my nephew
- Giggling with my niece in a swanky relaxation room after massages
- Enjoying a salad and conversation with my brother-in-law on his lunch break
- Walking around the Souk and spending time with my sister
- Scream-laughing driving the desert dunes
- Swimming in the Persian Gulf with Saudi Arabia in view
- Rescuing a sea turtle
I’ve also enjoyed the extraordinary in the ordinary
- Admiring the landscapes
- A walk and run in the rain
- Making eye contact when clinking glasses
- Sitting by the beach
- Exchanging a glance or a grin
- Pay attention. When you are distracted, it’s impossible to notice the extraordinary things around you and how you feel about your life. Unplug, look up and be present.
- Be grateful. Expressing gratitude will help you stay focused on the magnificent happenings of your day to day life. It feels good to say thank you and it’s always a good reminder of how extraordinary your life is.
- Stop comparing. Someone will always have more or less than you. There will always be someone who is better or worse at what you do. You can’t assess who you are or what you have based on others and if your focus is on what they have or do, you can never fully appreciate all of the extraordinary blessings in your own life. Even your past and future cannot be measuring sticks for your life today. Keep your eyes on your own paper.
- Let go. Every time I think something has a hold on me, I realize I’m the one with the tight grip. Don’t be afraid of space and the absence of all the things you think you need to be happy and secure. Absence makes the heart grow.
- Make space. Clear out the clutter and the excess. You need space and room to pay attention to what matters most.
- Slow down. The extraordinary life you’ve been waiting for is happening right now. While you are racing to the finish, making plans, keeping up and getting by, your extraordinary life is patiently waiting for a warm welcome. Slow your pace and look around or come to a complete stop to fully appreciate what is right in front of you.
- Admire small miracles. Extraordinary isn’t always in the grand gestures and big impressive changes or events. Revel in the little things like the first bite of a ripe piece of fruit, a beautiful view, a stranger’s kind smile or some of the other things that happen every day. Enjoy small pleasures and find love in the little stuff.
- Write it down. Keep a journal to record some of the extraordinary things in your daily life. Knowing that you’ll be recording your observations will be a reminder to notice and the more you notice it, the more you will notice it.
- Act like a tourist. You might get used to your surroundings and daily events and forget about the extraordinary parts. Be a tourist in your own life and backyard and see things for the first time. Remember how that view used to wow you, or how the way someone treated you used to make your heart race. Recapture awe by changing your lens.
- Be extraordinary. The best way to live an extraordinary life is to be extraordinary. Be extraordinary in how you treat people, including yourself. Be extraordinary in how you choose to spend your time. Be extraordinary through your thoughts, words and actions.
All of the extraordinary moments I experience while traveling remind me about the everyday extraordinary. You don’t have to leave home to find it. Extraordinary is everywhere.
What’s extraordinary in your life right now?