Extraordinary is a funny word. Extra ordinary, like a standard measure isn’t enough. “Would you like extra ordinary with your order Madam?”
Extraordinary is right there in the name of this site, and it’s a word I chose deliberately. But I have to be honest with you, I’ve been a little shy about using it because it’s one of those words that can be easily misunderstood.
It can sound a bit evangelise-y. A bit worthwhile-y. A bit wank-y.
So right here, and right now, I want to create a new understanding of what extraordinary is.
First of all, here’s what it isn’t.
Extraordinary is not:
- Hustling in pursuit of an outcome
- Doing things for muddled or wrong reasons
- An answer to your problems
- A better alternative to ordinary
- Faking it
The Most Extraordinary Change
The point at which the capacity to trust your behaviour with implicit trust in that behaviour (natural confidence) meets the things in yourself, others and the world that matter the most to you (personal values) and integrates the expression of your unashamed and unfettered desires (source wants), the most extraordinary and wonderful change happens.
I’ve seen it happen.
It can be a moment in time when those things come together (which is pretty damn sweet), but it can also be an intention; something that acts as a point in space to help you navigate.
It’s liberating, because that convergence sweeps away the crap that doesn’t matter – all those pesky beliefs, assumptions, doubts, stories and fears about never being enough – and leaves you with a tangible sense of “enoughness”.
Tipping from not being good enough to having a tangible sense of enoughness, *is* an extraordinary change
It makes life a hell of a lot more fun, lemme tell you.
An Extraordinary Life
I define an extraordinary life like this:
An extraordinary life is one that knows that everyone is already whole and enough, without the need for status, recognition or validation. It’s one that joyfully, deliberately, consistently and congruously engages with and contributes to the things that have personal meaning, free from expectation or assumption and without being sombre or self-righteous.
Here’s what’s going on within this definition:
- The central acknowledgement that you’re enough and don’t need to be fixed in order to embark on your adventure.
- An understanding of your source wants and personal values, because it’s these things that will always matter and make room for grace.
- The acknowledgment that it’s not about size or scale. An extraordinary life does not require huge, sweeping or world-changing impact, like inventing flight, curing cancer or creating a work of art. It’s simply about the meaning and engagement.
- Not everything you do has to be weighed down with meaning or gravity. Laughter means the world to me, and the nourishment that having fun and being silly gives me is immeasurable.
Lemme tell you something
I’d love to see a world where the things I’ve described are commonplace. I’d love this to be the norm.
I’d love this to be “ordinary”
Let me throw a quote at you from the wonderful and wise George Pransky, (check out my interview with George if you haven’t seen it).
“In my mind, an ordinary life is extraordinary. In other words, I think that peoples’ birthright is to just have an ordinary life whatever they do, just enjoy it, get a lot of personal reward from doing it, feel like they’re contributing to society. To me that’s ordinary.
To have what I’m calling an ordinary life, people have to understand where their experience is coming from and where their feelings are coming from, and understand the role of thought. To understand their capacity as a thinker, the fact that they’re capable of new thought and that new thought is always the answer to whatever ails us or whatever goes wrong.”
– George Pransky
For the time being, I consider it to be pretty extraordinary when someone gets rid of the layers of meaningless, trite crap that the world throws at us every single day, engages with what matters and finds a tangible sense of enoughness in who they are.
The extraordinary change I’ve spoken about and the kind of life that I’ve defined as extraordinary are not pie in the sky, fluffy, self-help bullshit. If they were, I’d be the first to call you personally and join you in pouring scorn on it.
These things I’ve talked about take work, of course they do.
Discomfort and change are implicit.
But this work, this discomfort and the ongoing change ARE PART OF THE EXTRAORDINARY.
To work on it is to have it.
Over to you. In the comments, what single change would you love to make, or what single change are you most proud of?