We’ve all done it – measured our worth against those carefully curated online personas, whether a celebrity or an acquaintance who seems to have it all.
Comparing ourselves to the seemingly perfect lives of others never feels good. Instead, it makes us feel like we’re not good enough and that our lives are dull and worthless.
However, living an extraordinary life has nothing to do with how big your bank account balance is, your job title, or even the number of cars you own.
Instead, it’s the subtle but remarkable choices you make on a daily basis that determine if your existence is truly exceptional.
If you do several of the following 10 things, your life is likely more extraordinary than you realize!
1) You pursue your purpose
Anyone who pursues their passion and lives their days connected to their purpose is living an extraordinary life.
If you’ve found your calling and figured out a way to pursue it, you are miles ahead of most people.
Not only will you experience deeper fulfillment, but research shows you will also live longer.
Ikigai is a Japanese concept that refers to finding and following your unique path to fulfillment.
Héctor García and Francesc Miralles, authors of the book ‘Ikigai,” traveled to one of the world’s blue zones, a small Japanese village named Okinawa, with the highest percentage of residents living until 100.
They found the secret to these Japanese residents’ longevity was their connection to their Ikigai and how they brought their purpose into their daily lives.
2) You make a difference in the lives of others
While pursuing personal goals is extraordinary in itself, if your purpose also positively impacts others, you are living a super-extraordinary life!
In fact, one of the four aspects of the Ikigai philosophy is making your mission/vocation something the world needs.
To live your Ikigai means to combine the following four things:
- What you love
- What you are good at
- What the world needs
- What you can get paid for
What’s more, there is so much research that supports the benefits of giving back.
For example, one study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology states that doing good for others can lower your blood pressure.
Likewise, this national study found those who give back to the community are less likely to experience stress and anxiety, have less trouble sleeping, and report higher levels of happiness than those who don’t.
3) You’ve defeated your limiting beliefs
We all absorb negative thoughts and opinions of others, which then become ingrained in our psyche.
Our limiting beliefs can hold us back by preventing us from doing what we want and discouraging us from following our dreams.
You can meet your limiting beliefs through the “voices in your head,” including the annoying inner critic.
But most people are unaware of their limiting beliefs, so their subconscious thoughts continue to control their lives.
However, those prioritizing self-knowledge and personal growth learn to uncover and defeat their limiting beliefs.
Why is this important?
As renowned life coach Tony Robbins says, once you move past your unconscious biases, you’re free to reach your full potential.
When you’re free from limiting beliefs, you gain the mindset that everything is possible, allowing you to live a fulfilling, extraordinary life.
4) Your struggles have made you stronger
Living an extraordinary life doesn’t mean you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth.
In fact, most remarkable people are that because they have used their struggles and failures as lessons to evolve.
Our hardships make us stronger and more resilient. They can show us what we are doing wrong, guide us down the right path, and reinforce our skills.
Hardships also change our brain structure due to positive neuroplasticity, a term from Rick Hanson’s book, “Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness.”
When challenged, our brains activate more neurons and create new pathways, allowing our minds to expand and our cognitive skills to sharpen.
This creates a wise, resilient mind that allows us to overcome all the hurdles between us and our goals and, thus, become our most exceptional selves.
5) You stay away from drama and gossip
People who are unhappy in their lives thrive on other people’s problems.
Involving themselves in the drama of other people’s lives makes them feel better about themselves, as they think, “at least my life isn’t that bad.”
However, this becomes extremely toxic as they seek out drama, gossip, and spread rumors.
On the flip side, those living a life of purpose, meaning, and fulfillment feel no desire to engage in toxic habits like gossiping.
They focus on their own growth and goals, so they do not concern themselves with other people’s drama.
6) You have meaningful relationships
If you avoid drama and toxic people, you’ll likely have meaningful relationships built on trust and mutual support.
Extraordinary people know just how important having a solid support network is.
They are cautious about who they let into their inner circle and value quality over quantity.
If this is you, you’ll focus on building a small network of people who genuinely want the best for you rather than trying to appear popular with loads of friends.
As a result, you’ll have a deep sense of trust in your friends and family, and never worry about backstabbing or betrayal.
7) You let go of grudges
Science shows that holding onto grudges increases stress levels, leading to many health problems like high blood pressure, lowered immunity, and inflammation.
This 2014 study also found that grudges make us see life more pessimistically, which, of course, holds us back from living an extraordinary life.
However, research by Luther College and the University of California has found that practicing forgiveness can counteract all these things.
This explains why you feel a weight has been lifted from your shoulders when you forgive someone!
People living remarkable, meaningful lives have mastered the art of forgiveness. Sure, they have been hurt and let down, but the difference is they let go of their anger and pain.
Letting go is the path to freedom. If you hold onto grudges, you are only hurting yourself as you hold yourself back from both happiness and your potential.
8) You’re optimistic
On the subject of happiness, have you ever seen a pessimistic person who is living an extraordinary life?
Optimism is crucial to fulfillment and success, especially when you direct positive thoughts towards yourself.
For example, researchers from the University of Zaragoza in Spain compared the academic performance of students with high levels of self-belief and those with low self-belief.
Unsurprisingly, they found the students who thought positively about themselves had higher academic performance and were less likely to encounter stress and anxiety.
How do exceptional people remain so positive? Gratitude is one essential habit of all optimistic people…
9) You count your blessings
Gratitude is widely known to increase happiness and fulfillment while preventing mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
Numerous highly successful people, including Oprah Winfrey, Tim Ferriss, and Richard Branson, are known to practice gratitude, and countless self-development coaches rave about it.
On a personal level, I have practiced gratitude for several years and agree that it serves as a tool for achieving your personal and professional goals.
One reason for this is due to the law of attraction philosophy.
Essentially, the more positive thoughts you put out to the universe (through expressing thanks for what you have), the more positive results you’ll see in your life.
So, if you tend to focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have, this is a sign you’re living an awesome life with an increasing flow of blessings.
10) You make time for enjoyment
It’s so easy to get caught up in the grind, trapped in the rat race where every day becomes the same mundane existence.
But not you; you’ve transcended this.
Your life is extraordinary compared to most of the population because you understand what is really important in life.
Rather than running around like a headless chicken, you make time to be present and enjoy the simple pleasures.
Moreover, you’ve found the ideal balance between spontaneity and planning.
You’re not trapped in the cycle or “working hard today for a better tomorrow,” but you’re also not only “living for the moment.”
You’re working hard to create a secure future for yourself, but you prioritize enjoyment, too.
You don’t hold yourself back from what you enjoy, whether traveling, pursuing a sport, or engaging in creative pursuits.
With this life balance, you’re among the few truly content individuals. How is that not extraordinary?
While it’s the material things that make someone appear successful, how a person thinks, acts, and shows up in the world is what really shapes them.
There is nothing extraordinary about owning cars and mansions. But what is impressive is someone who has defeated their demons, used past failures as opportunities for growth, and done the work to cultivate the right mindset.
This is a person who can achieve total fulfillment in life!