Gary Keller once wrote, “Anyone who dreams of an uncommon life eventually discovers there is no choice but to seek an uncommon approach to living it.”
If you do what most people do, you’ll just get what most people have, which probably isn’t what you want. Hence, if you want to live an unconventional life, you’ll have to avoid the conventional thinking.
Rather than playing by the same broken rules that everyone else is, you’ll have to create your own and increasingly design them in your favor. As Benjamin P. Hardy has said,
“When you begin to set your own path, then you are no longer limited by other people’s imagination.”
With that, the remainder of this article will explore 4 ways to defy conventional wisdom and create an extraordinary life. Here we go:
1. Don’t “Find” and “Follow” Your Passion
“If you want to love what you do, abandon the passion mindset (“what can the world offer me?”) and instead adopt the craftsman mindset (“what can I offer the world?”).” -Cal Newport
Most people live under the assumption that they are born with a preexisting passion which they must “find” and then “follow.” That there is only one career out there that holds their key to a happy and prosperous life.
And while I do believe we are all put on this earth with a purpose, I disagree with the way most people go about finding it. They make it all about them. They think that if only they can “find their passion,” then they can have everything they’ve ever wanted.
Although the purpose of life is to merely be happy, it’s to do something useful and actually make a difference. As Gary Keller put it,
“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.”
Put another way: Your passion is not something you need to “find” or “follow.” Instead, your passion follows you. It is a result of your mindset and behavior. Not the other way around.
For example, I didn’t wake up one day and have a sudden moment of clarity where a voice spoke to me and said, “Reece, you’re meant to be a Writer.”
Instead, I simply had a desire to write. As I fueled that desire day-by-day, I became more engaged in it, I started to deeply enjoy what I was doing, and then suddenly, it became clear that I was always meant to a Writer.
As Best-selling author, Jeff Goins has similarly said,
“While we wait for our callings to present themselves, they are waiting on us to wake up to the signs.”
People want their “callings” to just magically present themselves because that’s the easy way out. It’s easier to simply follow the signs rather than create the signs. It’s easier to be told what to do rather than decide what to do.
However, sometimes you have to take a chance. You have to make a definitive decision and then bet on yourself. Which actually leads us to the next point:
2. Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
“The way to become rich is to put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.” -Unknown
Traditional views on risk have many people playing not to lose rather than playing to win.
They haven’t got enough conviction to truly believe and go all-in on what they really want. So, they simply keep their options open; never truly being satisfied with what they’re doing, although at least they’re still surviving.
However, when you begin to seek uncommon life, you’re no longer interested in just scraping by in a mediocre existence. Instead, you want to live a life that’s truly congruent and makes you feel alive.
So, you do jump off the edge. You go all-in on your dreams. You make the decision and never look back.
More and more, you begin to see the truth of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words play out in your life, “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen,” he said.
3. Focus on “Who” not “How”
“When most people have goals, they immediately begin thinking about HOW. Billionaires immediately begin thinking about WHO.” -Benjamin P. Hardy
The world teaches that life is a competition. That there are only so many pies in the world, and not everything can have a slice. As a result, most people assume that if one person gains, then that’s a loss for them.
Although, a better way to think is that there are not a limited number of pies, but instead, an infinite; you can succeed, and so can I.
Through this lens, you stop trying to do it all on your own. You stop piling up your plate, and instead, get other people on board. You realize that the pie only gets bigger through collaboration. As Zig Ziglar said,
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
Similarly, Jeff Goins once wrote, “Success isn’t about who you know. Success is about who you help.”
4. Seek to Stand out Rather than Fit in
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” -Mark Twain
Conventional wisdom says just keep your head down, tow the line, don’t rock the boat and you’ll be afforded with everything you need to live a comfortable life.
Although those who create an extraordinary life aren’t interested in comfort, and nor are they worried about what other people think of them. Instead, they’ve learned the words of Dr. Seuss,
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
When you begin to break away from the conventional wisdom in search of the life you really want, this is exactly what will happen:
At first, people will notice that you’re doing something different and think you’ve gone mad or even insane for the decisions you make.
They’ll constantly ask why you do what you do and repeatedly tell you that you’d be better off doing what everyone else is doing because it’s the “right way.”
However, after a while, their attitudes will begin to change, the results begin to show, and quite suddenly, they’ll no longer ask why you do what you do. Instead, they’ll ask how you do what you do so they can have what you have.
As Anthony Moore once wrote,
“If you want to improve, you need to be OK getting laughed at. This is how greatness is achieved. This is how becoming a master works. First, they laugh at you. Then, they criticize you. Finally, they brag to others how they know you.”
19-times Bestselling author, Seth Godin has similarly echoed that with, “Fitting in is a short-term strategy, standing out pays off in the long-run.”