What is an Extraordinary Life?

What would you do if you won the lottery today and never needed to work again? If you could not fail at anything you put your mind to accomplishing? If you were diagnosed with a terminal illness and knew you only had a year to live?

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.
– John Pierpont Morgan

Last year, I visited the Empire State Building in New York City for the first time. It was an hour before closing on a weekday and raining lightly as I arrived. The building was practically empty. The highest observation point of the Empire State Building is the 102nd floor, which requires taking a separate elevator from the main observation deck. As I stepped out of the elevator, I discovered that while it might be raining at ground level, it was snowing heavily 102 stories up. I was in my own personal snow globe with the lights of New York City as the back drop. My mind let go of the minutia of day-to-day life and focused on the big picture.

Without consistently refocusing our perspective on the big picture questions, we are easily caught off guard by regret, looking back at time wasted, opportunities squandered, youth lost, and children grown.

An extraordinary life is defined by you. It is comprised of your answers to the big picture questions. If you fail to consider them and define a thoughtful answer, then your life will be defined by others. It’s a small group that has a clear vision for how they would spend their last year of life. It is an even smaller group that takes these answers seriously and acts “as if.”

You don’t have a million bucks? Do you really need it? Or is this just a rationalization for why you aren’t living the life of your dreams?

So what if you fail? Try anyway. You won’t know until you do. Fearless people blaze the trails that others follow, or dream about following.

You may not have a terminal diagnosis, but your life and those of your loved ones will end someday and it could be soon.

Extraordinary isn’t necessarily flashy, expensive, or overseas. Extraordinary living ranges from small moments when you take a stab at something scary and new to exciting adventures that you always thought were out of reach. You would be surprised at the experiences you can have if you simply answer the big picture questions, add a deadline, and begin with a baby step tonight.

When did you last experience extraordinary? What will you tackle next fearlessly?

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