The older I get, the more I realize the truth of the statement that life is short. It makes me thankful I have learned to be purposeful about how I live my life. I think there comes a time in each of our lives when we stop and review the past and we plan for the future. Many of us come to the realization that we don’t like that we are letting life just pass us by. We feel like we are just living day to day and nothing much excites us. That is a life without passion. An ordinary life. If you are living a life without passion, you are not excited about it and you are not in love with it. Taking small steps and making small changes is the beginning of the path from ordinary to extraordinary. I’ve noticed people tend to get defensive when you talk about ordinary lives, they feel that you are setting people up for disappointment when you talk about an extraordinary life. Extraordinary doesn’t mean you are rich, famous or life is perfect. It means that you love life and when you love life you attract good things. And that looks different for everyone. The following is a list of areas in which you can take small steps towards big changes.
Gratitude – You will never experience an extraordinary life if you don’t learn the principle of gratitude. An extraordinary life isn’t one built on a lack of hardship or pain. We all experience those times. There is no escape from them in this life. Who do you know that has lived a life that is absent of hard things? No one! Learning to find the things you can be grateful for in the midst of difficult times is healthy for you physically, mentally and emotionally. I promise you that there is truth to all the talk you hear about gratitude. Writing down the things you are grateful for is a good way to stay focused on gratitude. Discovering the extraordinary in the ordinary – An extraordinary life begins with learning to first discover the extraordinary in the ordinary. Learning to appreciate the simple things. Begin to look at things through a new set of eyes. How often do you take the simple things for granted? The first steaming cup of coffee in the morning, the way the light shines through the window, the sound of the rain upon the roof, a sunset or sunrise, the smell of fresh sheets. Until you can find the beauty in the simple things you won’t see the extraordinary things in life because you will be looking too hard.
Let go of the past – When the past calls remember it has nothing to say. Until you leave the past behind, you will not see the extraordinary, because you will be focused on what’s behind and not what’s ahead. Focusing on the past robs you of your focus and energy. A great future does not require a great past. Being aware that the past will come calling will prepare you, and help you to redirect your thoughts when it happens. A not so great past can actually help you build a better future because you will know exactly what you want and don’t want. You can also develop character traits because of it such as strength, compassion, or humility. The past is a part of you, but does not have to define you. Do what it takes to heal of the past!
Paying it forward – Helping others will always catapult you into the extraordinary life. There is nothing like volunteering to lift your spirits and make you feel good about life. Paying it forward doesn’t have to be a huge thing. It can be as simple as buying someone a cup of coffee, or shoveling the neighbor’s walk. It costs very little money and time. Think about what you can do to pay it forward. Plan something at least once a week. Incredible things will begin to appear in your life when you practice this principle.
Learning – Learning is something that should never end, even long past college graduation. It is important to continue to pursue the things that make you happy. Learning doesn’t have to involve a class with books and tests. It could be through reading, or talking with others. If could be a class, but something very non-traditional such as a writing or a photography class. There are many opportunities to learn new things. My local greenhouse gave classes on beekeeping and gardening last summer. Find out what makes you happy. Learn about them, and pursue them.
Connecting with nature – I know so many people who do not see themselves as the outdoors type. The outdoors type – what does that mean? If you like to garden you love the outdoors. Do you take walks? Ride a bike from The Monster Cycle? Go to the beach? There are so many things to do outside. The point is to get out, get some fresh air, and collect peaceful moments. Nature is inspiring, relaxing, and healing.
Appreciate the arts – We were born with amazing senses that appreciate when we look, listen, taste and touch beautiful things. Go to the theater, listen to amazing music, appreciate fine dining, learn to cook new things, take a painting class, go to museums – there are so many ways to fill your life with extraordinary things. Like when it comes to art investment, you can plan something today such as what to consider when investing in collectables!
Adventure – Most people have this adventure thing all wrong. Adventure doesn’t mean you have to get on a plane or train and travel the world. Adventure doesn’t have to cost an enormous amount of money. Bravery is not a prerequisite. Adventure can be whatever you want it to be. You don’t have to leave your city or state. If the concept of adventure is new to you I suggest that you make a list. Make a list of the things you want to try. It could be a recipe – something new, fun, and not practical. Pick a new place you want to try – a coffee shop or restaurant. Going somewhere new is always an adventure. Find an activity you would like to try. Renting equipment is a good way of trying something new. Rent a kayak, a fat-tire bike, or a stand up paddle board. Go hiking in a state park. Plan a road trip. Take up knitting or the guitar. Or even look for foreign casinos accepting British players and have fun gambling. The list is endless.
Discover your purpose – Everyone hates this one. However, it is true. Maybe we think too deeply about this one. We all have a purpose. We are not on this earth to just live from day to day bored out of our minds, or worse yet so busy we have no time to even truly live. You have a purpose. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant. We aren’t all meant to walk on the moon. Ask yourself, “What is important to me?” Whatever it is I know it lights you up! You are not just able to do it, you feel like you were made to do it! Maybe it is being the best mother you can be while raising your kids. Be an intentional mother then. Be a teacher, nurse, volunteer, caregiver, mentor, writer, or photographer. Whatever it is, be intentional about it. Be remembered someday for it. Leave a legacy. Make a difference. Discovering your purpose if you already haven’t involves taking steps.
When you accept life’s invitation to an extraordinary life, you will discover just how big, beautiful and magical life really is. Accepting the invitation is about moving. Moving from the sidelines to being in the game. You will be participating and not just observing. Don’t wait for an invitation, just show up! It’s never too late.
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist. ~ Oscar Wilde
Jody Rae Anderson
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