What is an extraordinary life, and are you living one?
I was drawn to thinking again about extraordinary living after Vicki and I spent a recent week at The Cove retreat center in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, NC. Our stay was the occasional extraordinary mountaintop experience that we love to have in our life together.
While most of life is lived in the ordinary, I’ll suggest three critical ways that living well in the ordinary can lead to an extraordinary life.
Living well in the ordinary is not a call to ordinary living.
Just before we left the mountaintop last week, the final speaker reminded us that the deepest roots in our lives are formed in the everyday struggles of life, where we spend most of our life.
Out of fifty-two weeks this year, we spent one week at this mountain-top retreat. In the days after, I’ve gone back to the work of being a military chaplain. I've sat with people going through the challenges of ordinary living.
The best life is not about living from one extraordinary experience to another, it is not moving restlessly from one grand moment to the other. Instead, it is living in the ordinary extraordinarily well.
A continual pursuit of the next extraordinary experience is exhausting. A well-lived life is learning to live in the ordinary. We set roots where we are, seek to understand and meet the needs of those around us and commit to living with significance in the real world of the ordinary.
Living an extraordinary life requires living with a sense of purpose. To live purposefully, we must seek clarity in the deepest part of who we are and align our lives accordingly. In this sense, clarity is freedom from ambiguity about who we are. It is a clearness as to our purpose. As we gain clarity about our purpose, we align our lives accordingly. Living in the ordinary is full of challenges and distractions. Living with purpose is living with intentionality.
Clarity and alignment give us the confidence to say no to most things and yes to the best things. Our lives will be filled with passion and energy.
When we live purposefully, we make our most significant contribution and live our best life.
In life, we either prepare for growth or prepare for decline.
We are active, learning, contributing, and giving in a growth life, or we are not doing these things and living a life in decline.
During my year-end and year-beginning reflection time several months ago, I understood that I needed to leave my present organization to continue growing. As my departure time draws near, I am still determining what is ahead. I also have a sense of wonder, anticipation, and energy around the upcoming changes in my life.
Personal growth is the development of your skills, wisdom, and character. It increases our emotional intelligence and grows our overall health and well-being.
A life lived in decline is to live without wonder and anticipation and to stop developing and growing as people.
Friend, how are you living? Are you living well in the ordinary? Are you living a purposeful life? Are you living a growth life? If you answered no to any of these three questions, what will you do about it? Will you commit to living an extraordinary life?