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Mark.Freed / 10 Dec 2018

Have you noticed the number of books, posts, articles and interviews about the habits and lifestyles of people, who by all accounts, live an extraordinary life? There are decades worth of advice to catch-up on, if you wanted to read it all.

Fortunately, you really only need to read a few autobiographies, listen to a handful of interviews, and check out a half a dozen documentaries to realize that most people with amazing lives share similar qualities, habits and traits.

And since I’ve made it my mission in life to help other people live extraordinary lives,  I’ve summarized the top seven (7) things that make them stand apart:

1. They dream big:

There is nothing surprising here. People who go out and do incredible things with their lives are visionaries, not necessarily because they come-up with great ideas, but because they see the potential in things. They don’t let their current circumstances dictate what is possible. Instead, they allow themselves to imagine the exceptional, and then figure out how to make that their usual.

2. They know what they want:

Maybe it’s a function of taking the time to dream big (I certainly think they go hand in hand), but the people who make the most of their lives know what they want and need to feel fulfilled. Whether that need changes every few years, or stays constant for decades, they can rely on that insight to help direct their choices and their actions.

3. They pursue purpose rather than busyness:

People who live amazing lives don’t spend their day-to-day reacting to their environment. They are constantly working towards their vision of what life can be. They are not busy, they are goal direct. Their actions, choices, and efforts are aimed at achieving their purpose and creating meaning in their lives. People with amazing stories aren’t going at it blindly, they are planners.

4. They see and seize opportunities:

One of the HUGE differences between people who are living amazing lives and the rest of us is that they seek out and seize opportunities. We may look at it as being lucky, but luck is simply a function of probability, and most of us come across some pretty amazing (improbable) opportunities in life. People who live amazing lives ask themselves : “How can I make this work for me?” Our problem is that we either don’t see them, or we think of all the reasons why it won’t/can’t work. We talk ourselves out of those opportunities.

5. They overcome the impossible:

Roadblocks are unavoidable. There is no reality in which a goal, a dream, or a pursuit is achieved without some kind of obstacle. The folks out there who climb Everest, turn a home-based business into a multi-million dollar enterprise, or manage to fulfill their lifelong dreams see those roadblocks and overcome them. Chances are their success in doing so comes from their long-term vision (see item #3) and their efforts to identify and plan ahead, but plan or no plan, when these people see a barrier they don’t let it stop them, they persevere and get around it.

6. They prioritize themselves:

You can’t move forward with your dreams and live an amazing life if you are burned-out, overworked, over committed, or sick from lack of sleep, exercise or a good diet. People who are truly successful in life and who do amazing things with their lives learn to set limits with others. They say no to overworking, and no to commitments they don’t want to engage in. They get enough sleep, take care of their bodies and fuel their minds. These people value themselves.  They know that by taking care of themselves first they are in a far better position to reach their dreams, and be there for others in their lives. They adopt a ‘put the oxygen mask on yourself first’ approach to life.

7. They work hard:

We’ve all read that quote from Einstein: “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” As infuriating as it might be, it takes work to achieve great things. There are a half a dozen common expressions I could use to hammer this point, but the it comes down to this:  we are complex individuals, with big dreams, and can’t expect that figuring ourselves out, or getting where we want to be in life will be simple.

What does this mean for you?

Anyone can achieve amazing things in their lifetime. We each have a capacity to achieve great things with our lives (great being defined by what we want, need and choose to focus on) should we chose to.

You have agency (the ability to effect change in your life). The difference between the people whose lives are chronicled in books, movies, and documentaries and you is not opportunity, it is mindset and behavior. 

I am not so naive as to discount the value of good luck, genetic wealth, and being raised in an environment that encourages growth and success. I am saying that amazing is not out of reach. 

What can you do?

  • Learn to dream big again. Don’t censor yourself when you imagine the impossible. Take the time to identify your needs and values. Gaining INSIGHT is a necessary step to creating any lasting change.
  • When you know what you want, make a plan, work towards it, focus your choices and actions on achieving your dreams. Think in terms of what you can versus can’t do. Learn to find a way to make things happen, rather than look for all the reasons why it can’t.
  • Be honest with yourself, and take stalk of all the things that might stand in your way, then find a way around them. Roadblocks are not barriers, they are simply opportunities to leap forward in life.
  • Don’t give up! Take care of yourself, learn to be assertive, to set limits and to focus on your needs first. Trust me when I say this will allow you to not only care for yourself, but care for others.
  • Work hard! Amazing lives don’t just happen, they are made. They require hard work, focus and dedication on your part. The fruit of your labor is a life without regrets; that is worth it.

Dr Alessandra Wall, a psychologist and coach and now a guest contributor to E2W’s Blog and Newsletters. Alessandra  is going to help us in our continued mission to support you in your career path by, over the next few months, contributing a series of articles surrounding career progression, managing work scenarios, overcoming self-confidence issues and other pertinent topics.  Some of you may already know of Alessandra thanks to her social media presence, or you may have heard her speak.

Alessandra is based in California and she will be visiting us & the E2W community in 2019.  In the meantime, please digest and embrace her articles, engage with us and Alessandra – let us know your thoughts, and help us help you reach your career goals.

Alessandra can be contacted via E2W


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