🌼5 Rules For An Extraordinary, Ordinary Life(HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)
Simple thoughts on how to live fully
There is a lot of noise around full living.
Many think the answer is to seek more. More money, more status and more responsibility. Climb the ladder. Build that business. Find a mentor. All that.
I’d like to offer an alternative truth and it’s this. You can live an extraordinary, ordinary life. You can work the 9–5, buy a house, have kids, and settle down and none of that is conforming to a norm, or maybe it is but who cares?
Instead, you can live in a normal house, with a normal income and maybe have something on the side that you love and squeeze every ounce out of life. Here are 5 rules to do so.
1. Build because you can
I read something recently that switched my thinking.
The idea was subtle but it spoke to every unfortunate truth in life. The quote was by a guy who if I’m honest I’d never heard of but it was told by a chap who’s writing I adore.
The line was this: build the best sandcastle you can.
The sentiment was that eventually, everything gets washed away, but building the best sandcastle means that you survive some of the waves. In your efforts, you also inspire others to build their best sandcastles. And whilst none of it will be here forever, it’s the building, the intention and the craft that is the joy.
It turned 28 over the weekend and it got me thinking about life as every birthday does. Another year ticks around and you find yourself trying to wrestle with all the complexities of life, or maybe just trying to rationalise how simple it is.
One thing that remains the case is that building, the place of block after block, is it. There’s nothing else, there’s no real milestone, no thing to tick off the to-do list. It’s just the process of placing one brick after another.
2. Be ruthless with wants
I just want to say publicly that I have no desire to work out 5 times a week.
I just don’t. I also like eating cheesecake from time to time, I don’t believe in scratch cards and I definitely do not want to be a CEO. I tried the whole team management thing, not for me, though that’s a story for later.
There is a narrative that you must want to want to be a certain set of things. Like a gym-going, 5-veggies a day, side hustler type that only watches documentaries in your spare time. Like any real TV is a complete waste of time and above all else, you should want to climb the corporate ladder and be a raging success.
LinkedIn bros might be telling you that you should job hop for a cool 15% raise (#easymoney) or that you should ‘play the game’ and post online but if you don’t want to, you don’t have to.
That’s the beauty of this life thing. Choice. You get your time to do what you want. Sure all of that stuff comes with consequences, you have to pay the price but whatever you choose, they all have prices (we’ll come on to that).
You don’t need to feel bad if you don’t want a BMW, a senior management position with a four-car garage and a rocking six-pack. It’s so totally fine to want to get home, snuggle up to your dog and binge out on Netflix. It’s literally all fine.
3. You choose your consequences
If you choose the fat-pay cheque, you are likely giving up something in return. Not many companies are going to pay you a gigantic wad of cash to be stress-free and funky fresh.
You are being paid for something.
As you climb the corporate ladder that might be more stress, more time, and more availability. But that’s not the only choice when it comes to this stuff. It’s not just the climbing that has consequences, every corner of life, every decision has a set of consequences that comes with it.
Being a stay-at-home mum means you get the amazing upside of being with your kids 24/7 but it’s a trade-off. It’s all a trade-off.
Whatever you choose, you’re giving up something else. There are just consequences more aligned with who you are and what you want. Neither good nor bad.
4. The biggest long-term regret
Consider long-term regret as your biggest steer in making the right or wrong decision.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you make decisions for the person you are right now. That’s all well and good but the person you are right now might change in 2 years. What might be the right decision today, may well be the wrong decision in 2 years. But you’ll never know that because you are yet to be that person.
The only way to act is to consider that future self and try to make decisions that will benefit you both. There are some decisions you will likely never regret:
Any decisions that improve your physical health.
Steps to working on your mental health.
Spending time with loved ones.
Building better relationships.
Considering long-term regret is a great way to make peace with hard decisions.
5. You can’t stop the world from turning
Maybe half the battle is to accept the simplicity of life.
We’re here, we do some stuff, and we go. That’s it. I know that’s stark and I wrestle with death in my head most days. I still don’t quite understand it. It feels like right now, I’ll live forever. Even though I know I won’t, it still feels like I will.
At 28, writing this, I can’t imagine ever not being here. But the reality is, the world does keep turning. Life happens all around us. The good and the bad are all of life and you can’t stop the world from turning.
All you can do is move with the tides.
5. Passion, purpose and pedantics
The first rule about passion and purpose is that they are not as grand as you might think. I spent years, like years, trying to work out my passion and as usual, it was right in front of my face.
It’s not like I started writing and I fell in love. The first time I sat down to write I can barely remember. The first thing I wrote online was a car crash. And that’s fine. Being blissfully unaware of how bad you are is no bad thing. It’s the making of many great things.
Part of the reason passions become such a huge deal is that we idolise them. The truth is, you’ll find something you like and it might turn into a passion.
But having a passion doesn’t solve all your problems. Passion isn’t a magic pill. I have days all the time when I wake up and don’t want to write. That’s just life.
In the end
I could go on but I’m afraid you may well be bored if I do. Hey, you might be bored already. When putting all this together, the reality is this is just my way of living fully.
That might not be yours.
You might read everything above and think that actually, that’s not what makes a full life to you and that’s also fine. The biggest part of an extraordinary, ordinary life is that nobody really knows the answers.
Not me, not you, not anyone.
We’re all just doing our best.
And that’s okay.
CONTRIBUTED BY Eve Arnold
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