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13 Simple Things You Can Do To Make Your Life Extraordinary

13 Simple Things You Can Do To Make Your Life Extraordinary

Have you ever noticed how some people seem to get ahead in life easily and effortlessly no matter what is going on around them? These people are amazing entrepreneurs, artists, innovators, leaders and even motivators. What is more interesting is that they are often not the most talented, hard working or smart people around. Yet, somehow, they achieve much more than the rest of us. What is it that makes their life so extraordinary? How can someone’s life even be extraordinary all the time?

Khalil Gibran says, “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” The key to success isn’t complex. Rather, it is the cumulative effect of simple daily habits that bring success. If you are ready to live a truly extraordinary, you should follow the example of extraordinary people and do those simple things that perpetuate success and help make your own life extraordinary.

1. You must be more confident.

Do away with shyness. You are an extraordinary person and you should know that. Confident people have a marked assurance about them that just gives them an edge. Understand your own competences and the value you provide. Be at ease with who you are in full knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses. Act in ways that convey that understanding to others without being arrogant to display confidence. Also, work out, dress better and use power poses like standing with arms outstretched to boost your confidence and appreciate yourself more. These are signs of confidence.

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2. You need to watch who you allow into your life.

Pay attention to who you allow into your life. Your energy levels grow or diminish based on what you are doing, who you are doing it with and or who you are surrounded with. If the people you allow into your life or surround yourself with zap your energy, deplete it and leave you exhausted, remove them from your life. However, if the people you allow into your life energize you and make you feel fired up and ready to go, cherish them and tap into their positive vibe to achieve more and live happier.

3. You must tell the truth.

The truth can be scary and difficult. But, when you tell the truth you not only set yourself apart from the majority, but also set yourself free to live without worry of contradicting yourself. You don’t have to remember what you said to whom. You earn a reputation as an honest person and people pick up on that and follow your example. They become more truthful to you. Start telling the truth today and never stop. Tell the truth to yourself and to others. Tell the truth when it is easy to do so and when it is not. Tell the truth to underscore you are serious about living an honest, extraordinary life.

4. You should practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness is about paying attention and staying aware of the world around you. In our fast-paced life, more people need to stop rushing through life, multi-tasking and start paying attention and noticing the world around us. Just slow down and appreciate your immediate surroundings. Focus on your responsibilities and experiences and respond to them with an objective, compassionate and non-judgmental attitude. You will find mindfulness helps you better respond to all of life’s experiences with calmness, sobriety and hope, even when those experiences are painful.

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5. You need to allow change.

Change is inevitable. From the day you are born to the day you die, you will encounter change severally. People marry, switch careers, re-locate to another city and even move overseas in the course of time. Give yourself permission to feel all of the emotions that come along with change. Deal with any signs of resistance that threaten to obstruct or hinder your progress, such as foot-dragging and inertia. Keep in mind the wise words of Anatole France, “…we must die to one life before we can enter another.”

6. You should smile and laugh more.

This is probably the simplest and easiest one to add into your life right now. Truly extraordinary people seem so happy because they chose to be. They are optimists. They focus on the brighter side of life instead of wallowing in the negatives of life. Recognize that a well-led life is full of humor and humor is the flipside of tragedy. Laugh and smile more in life. Laughter not only makes you look younger and more attractive, but also has numerous health benefits like lowering your stress levels. Besides, smiling and laughter is contagious. It infects others and makes their lives brighter too.

7. You must forgive and move forward.

We have all been hurt or offended at some point and will be hurt and offended in the future. Learn to forgive whenever you are hurt, otherwise the weight of unforgiveness will weigh you down. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting what happened. It also does not mean the other person will change her behavior. Rather, it means letting go of the anger and recognizing there is no point in allowing resentment to dominate your life. Forgive yourself and forgive others. Let go and move forward. Start from a clean slate and you will enjoy a truly happy and extraordinary life.

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8. You must love what you do.

“Do what you love; Love what you do.” That was the unofficial work mantra of Steve Jobs. He preached and advocated love for your job passionately, attributing it in part to his success. He is quoted saying, “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love.” If you can’t find what you love, at least start loving what you do. Focus on the little good things about your job like your workmates and do your best every time. You just might leave a notable mark in this world.

9. You need to seek help and guidance.

Nobody knows everything, which means you can’t do everything completely on your own. The sooner you learn this, the better. You will need help, advice, support and guidance along the way. People who lead extraordinary lives understand this fact and are not afraid to seek help. They are keen on learning new things and know seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of respect for other people’s skills and knowledge. Ask for help, advice or other information respectfully whenever you need it. Make sure you express your gratitude afterwards. You will be better off after it.

10. You need to sleep enough.

You don’t need to work extra hard to lead a happy, successful life. Instead, you can just work smarter. That includes sleeping enough to give your body and mind enough time to rest and recover so that both can function optimally. Get enough sleep each night—seven to eight hours, at least. You will wake up the next day refreshed, energized and ready for the day ahead. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re killing your productivity, killing brain cells and killing your chances of success without even knowing it.

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11. You need to show unexpected kindness.

A simple act of kindness (even to an animal) is a powerful force that can dramatically alter anyone’s perception and experience in life. Show kindness without expecting anything in return. Acts of kindness prove you care. When you care, people notice. And, when people notice, it is an opportunity to make a positive difference in this world that is mad-dogged with intolerance, impatience and aggression.

12. You should give genuine feedback and compliments.

Give genuine feedback and compliments to others, even those you only interact in passing. Express your sincere appreciation for what they do. This simple habit has a ripple effect that opens doors for you to receive similar feedback, which helps you know how you are doing in your own life and areas you can improve. People instantly like those who like them and genuinely want to help and support them. Words like “thank you” and “good job,” therefore, can pay you back tenfold.

13. You must have fun.

Just have fun, generally. Learn from Sir Richard Branson who believes that if you have fun and do good then success will come. We are only human. You need time off, fun and excitement in your life to blow off some steam and stir up your creative mind. Besides, success is not an overnight thing. You might as well enjoy your way to where you want to be.

Featured photo credit: Adib Roy via flickr.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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