What is it about people who live extraordinary lives that separates them from the ordinary?
Are they exceptionally skilled, lucky, connected people?
The answer is yes. All of the above and more.
The kicker is: We are all exceptionally skilled, lucky, connected people. We just have to mind our extraordinary qualities. When we do, our skills develop, luck improves and our circle of connections grows.
What Is the Good Life?
To many, it’s having enough money to live comfortably and securely while being able to provide for others. It’s having an interesting job, where they are free to exercise their creativity in meaningful ways on behalf of both themselves and the greater context. It’s making a dent in the world for the better. It’s being connected and respected.
But it’s not the same for everyone. Not everybody cares for money, fancy things, big houses, superfluous gadgets and prestige.
To some, the good life is living in a tiny house away from the hustle and bustle. It’s growing their own vegetables and being self-sustaining. It’s being a steward to the earth. It’s being resourceful and part of a community.
To others, none of that matters: just being alive is the good life. They smile, laugh, share and continue on.
The good life is unique for everyone. It all depends on who you are, what your values are and how those align with what you do.
In essence, it’s all a matter of the mind.
That’s Nice, but There Has to Be More to It
Among all scenarios congruent with happy, successful people who live their lives to the fullest, loving the ups and downs along the way, there are commonalities.
Control, creativity, connection and impact are the four fundamentals of an extraordinary life.
They come in many forms; the form they take depends on your perspective.
Control can be over others, your schedule, your body or your mind. Creativity can be expressed in boundless ways. Connection can be with self, others, land or place. You can impact a company, a family, yourself or the environment.
As society proposes a good life to us, it also influences our minds to see the world in a social mirror that confines and limits our potential.
When we break the confines of convention, we discover ourselves and our innate skills. This allows us to develop auspicious traits and habits which lead to a life doing what we love: we live the good life.
It’s not easy to change and grow, for you or anyone around you, but when you push through the dark, the illuminated life waiting on the other side is remarkable.
Do You Mind the Good Life?
First, are you congruent with you?
You can’t enjoy a pint of Java Porter without starting with an empty glass. You can’t get to the top of the mountain without starting at the bottom. You can’t eat a cooked dish without starting with raw ingredients—and you can’t mind the good life without starting with yourself.
No matter what your goal, there are starting points. It doesn’t so much matter what your goal is: you can get there—you just have to start stepping on stones within reach.
Getting to know yourself can be uncomfortable. The process can include silent pauses, misunderstandings and misguided small talk. It’s natural, and if you’ve been living with yourself this long and haven’t gotten over the awkwardness yet, it will be trickier—but even more important to move through it.
In the end, it’s ultimately worth it. There’s no separating from yourself, and until you get comfortable with what’s inside, you can’t drink that beer, stand on that summit, eat that cooked dish or mind that good life.
Being comfortable is only good in spurts. It’s best, in fact, after you’ve been really uncomfortable.
If you ski or snowboard, you know that at the end of the day, taking your boots off and slipping on some comfortable shoes is amazing. Similarly, if you spend all day being active, you’re going to love sitting on the couch when you get home.
The most rewarding times of comfort result from discomfort. There’s something interesting about suffering—it brings joy.
Once you get comfortable with yourself, keep things fresh by continually pushing the limits of what you know, forcing discomfort through deliberate practice.
Start doing differently the things you love or really care about. Think about how you can do them better, or another way, and you’ll keep improving.
When you continually push your limits, you have no limits.
We can control, create, connect and impact our lives and world in ways that we choose.
Know your first step, know your destination and know why you want to get there.
Have a rough guide to get started, but know that recipes aren’t made to be followed—be prepared to roll with the ride as you go.
What’s your first step? Where are you going? And why?
Mehdi René lives and works in the spirit of liberating from convention and living with extraordinary intention. He intends to help people do just this and build a community of free-willed sensible people looking to better their lives and better the world. He believes the good life is a matter of mind and open to everyone. You can find out more and get a taste of what it’s all about at Mind the Good Life and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.
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Assistant Ed.: Jayleigh Lewis