“If you want to live an exceptional and extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that are part of a normal one.” -Srinivas Rao
If you want to truly succeed in life, you’ll have to give up many parts of a “normal” life.
This is because “normal” generally equates to average, boring, and mediocre. An extraordinary life is rare and requires fundamental changes. We live in a society that sets up average and mediocre lives; technology has it made it too easy to get distracted and unfocused.
The world doesn’t set you up to become extraordinary — you must reach this new lifestyle yourself. Today, “normal” means divorce, debt, loneliness, materialism, and settling for less. If you’re not careful, you could slip into this lifestyle and get stuck for years.
The extraordinary life means truly fulfilling relationships, financial independence, and waking up each day to change the world in a way only you can.
Here’s how to become extraordinary and be 10x more effective than you were before.
Success Starts With This Mental Transition
Success starts with this mental transition:
Prioritize education over entertainment.
This shift in mentality must be accompanied by sustained action; it’s worthless if you don’t do the work. You must consistently focus on learning and growing for it to have a lasting impact on your success.
Entertainment is fine. Television, the Internet, relaxing, these are all nice ways to unwind. The problem is, most people don’t know how to use these tools in moderation.
Choosing to learn instead of being entertained is a trademark characteristic of successful people. Some of the greatest, wealthiest, and most successful individuals throughout history have also been the most voracious readers.
Marcus Aurelius, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Warren Buffet invested immensely in themselves through personal education. Most people choose entertainment over education. Entertainment is fun, easy, and it distracts you from the difficulties you face every day.
If you choose to read books, attend conferences, and learn humbly from mentors, you’ll set yourself up for true, lasting success in all the important areas — relationships, finance, health, passion, and spirituality.
Prioritize education over entertainment.
Remember This: The Obstacle Is the Way
Ryan Holiday’s book The Obstacle is the Way is one of my most favorite books I’ve ever read. It’s helped me to remember one thing:
I can get past my obstacle by going through it, becoming a better person in the process.
Too often, people complain and gripe in the face of obstacles. “Why me!” they curse as they throw their hands in the air. It’s very easy to grumble and become irritated at obstacles, and for many people, this is their #1 response to being uncomfortable.
Instead, learn to be grateful for these opportunities to improve and be a more patient, clever, and resourceful individual. You can either let your obstacles make you stronger, or break you.
Realize that the obstacle is the way. Difficulties and problems are merely opportunities for us to grow. There’s a quote from The Obstacle is the Way that I still come back to:
“Bad things are fuel. You don’t just want fuel — you need it. You can’t go anywhere without it.”
The obstacle is the direction you need to go. By going through difficult, problematic circumstances, we force ourselves to switch from being problem-oriented to solutions-oriented.
You’ll need this mindset dearly if you want to have any hope of living an extraordinary life.
Over the years, I’ve tried my best to adopt the following mindset described by Elif Batuman:
“For you, every setback is an advantage, an opportunity for learning and glory. When a difficulty comes your way, you should feel proud and excited, like ‘a wrestler whom God, like a trainer, has paired with a tough young buck.’”
What are your biggest problems facing you now? A bad boss, a recurring health problem, addictive and self-destructive tendencies?
Perfect. The obstacle is the way.
Give Up “Normal” Routines.
Most people who live normal lives might be surprised to hear they have the same problems as everyone else: bills are too high. Work is boring. Debt seems like it will always be there. You just can’t manage to lose those 10lbs.
These and a million other problems define the majority because most people follow “normal” routines without question. They do, eat, drink, date, work at, apply for, practice, watch, and settle for what everyone else does.
But if you want to become extraordinary and far more effective than ever before, you need to give up these “normal” practices. They’re not working for anybody else.
Instead, start cultivating the habits and behaviors of successful people in your field. Do what they do. Read what they read. Learn what they’re learning.
If you want an extraordinary life, you need to give up many parts of an ordinary, “normal” one.
Very few people in this world know how to help me get the life I want: financial security, strong relationships, high-level health, joy and happiness, and fulfillment. Why? Most people don’t have that life, and have no idea how to get it!
Don’t follow “normal” routines, or you’ll just end up with the same life most people are living, which usually isn’t that great.
Make your own path. Do the work. Do what it takes.
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.” -Darren Hardy
Consistency Beats Intensity
There’s an old saying that goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” Your intensity and adrenaline will only last so long; you need consistency and community if you want to go far.
If you’re reading this, it means you’re someone who’s in it for the long haul. You’re not interested in overnight success, you’re interested in consistently succeeding and achieving important goals. You understand that consistency beats intensity.
Years ago, I used to live in an apartment on top of an enormous hill, and my goal was to ride my bike up the hill without stopping.
It was hard. Very hard. It was so hard, I tried almost a dozen times without succeeding.
I tried all sorts of high-intensity strategies: I’d pedal fast at first to try and build momentum. Or I’d drink Gatorade as I pedaled for the sugar rush. Then I tried biking from left-to-right in a zigzag, trying to ease the incline.
Nothing was working.
Finally, I decided I’d try it again, but with 2 simple rules:
- I wasn’t allowed to look up (towards the top of the hill).
- I could only look down at my pedals.
I began my ride.
It was the slowest attempt I’d ever done. I wasn’t looking up — I was actually worried I’d run into someone! I was only focusing on my pedals, slowly pushing one pedal at a time.
I rode for what seemed like an eternity.
And for the first time…I reached the top of the hill without stopping. (I remember throwing my bike down and literally yelling with excitement).
Consistency beats intensity. If you rely on intensity, it might look like you’re making progress — frankly, you’ll probably see some sort of the result.
But these results are small and inconsistent.
Instead, focus on being consistent. You’ll go much farther in the end.
5. Everyone’s First Draft Sucks
“Everyone’s first draft is shit.” -Ernest Hemingway
Everything is hard before it’s easy.
Don’t worry if you fail and mess up a ton at the beginning. That’s how it works. Everyone’s first try almost always isn’t that good.
This is where most people quit. They want to “be a natural” and suddenly realize they’re a genius like in Good Will Hunting. They want immediate and glowing results.
But when this doesn’t happen (it rarely does), they quit.
A key to not only starting but sustaining the behaviors you’ll need to live an extraordinary life lies in knowing it will be hard at first. That’s OK. Everyone sucks at first. That’s how it works. Once you get over this, embrace the suck. Put in the hours.
Your first draft will suck; your second one will be a little better. Then, just keep putting out more drafts.
Back in college, I had a friend who was working on a novel. He’d send me drafts. Frankly — it wasn’t that great. But it also wasn’t that bad either. It was a great start, and I was rooting for him to finish it and keep working on more books.
The only problem was…he was never finished. He was always deleting and editing and re-doing the book, never actually moving forward with it. He became a slave to perfection. After 2 years of giving him feedback and helping him edit, I realized he wasn’t going to ever finish it. It’s been 10 years, and he’s still tweaking it.
Your first draft is going to suck. That’s fine.
But keep doing it. Keep working, keep publishing. As Ray Bradbury, one of the greatest novelists of the 20th century once said:
“You can’t write 52 bad short stories in a row.”
Becoming extraordinary and 10x more effective than you were before isn’t easy. But it’s relatively simple; you just need to put in the work.
Stop doing what everyone else is doing; that road will take you to a mediocre destination where most people aren’t happy or excited about their life. Instead, put in the work today so that your future could become anything.
Anything is possible if you’re willing to pay the price.
So start putting in the work. Learn from the greats, and study your craft.
If you want to live an extraordinary life, you need to give up many parts of a “normal” one.
Ready to Level-Up?
If you want to become extraordinary and become 10x more effective than you were before, check out my checklist.