To be extraordinary you have to ditch being ordinary.
Most entrepreneurs will struggle for a long time.
Success isn’t about money or fame popularity — there are plenty of rich and famous entrepreneurs who lead empty, shallow lives.
Entrepreneurial success is about achieving the things you want to achieve. Your success means living life on your terms. In the words of Bob Dylan:
“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between, he does what he wants to do.”
But it’s not just about personal freedom; it’s about helping other people with that freedom. Life isn’t about sitting on a beach drinking margaritas all day, it’s about helping people with your gifts.
Most people don’t realize that their success actually helps others succeed; if one person can do it, it means it can be done. If one business succeeds, perhaps others could too. This fact has the potential to inspire thousands of others to do what it takes to succeed, too.
If you’re reading this, it means you’re an entrepreneur who’s focused on achieving daring goals. The kind of goals that turn heads. The kind of goals that make your enemies grit their teeth in frustration and disbelief. The kind of goals that make your friends brag about you to their other friends over the holiday weekend.
And if this is the life you want, there’s one thing you need to know:
Living an Extraordinary Life Means Giving Up a Normal One
“If you want to live an exceptional and extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that are part of a normal one.” -Srinivas Rao
The larger mob of society will never experience true success.
Because this majority is unwilling to become the CEO of their life — they’d rather someone else call the shots.
They are unwilling to take risks, to fail publicly, and be forced to try again after getting knocked down.
They are unwilling to sacrifice what is good for what is great.
In short, they are unwilling to give up their “normal” life.
But this is what is required to live an extraordinary life. You must give up the “normal” life for something far more valuable.
Evolving is painful. But it’s the only way forward.
The more you evolve into the best version of yourself, the more you’ll be required to give up. You’ll reach a point where you’ll no longer be able to tolerate negative relationships. Eating bad food. Spending your time on time-wasting activities.
Giving these things up is painful. Most people aren’t willing to do what needs to be done.
The truth is, everything has a cost. You have very few time slots in your life and business — for your relationships, your commitments, your jobs, your relaxation. If you’re constantly filling your precious time with good-not-great activities and relationships, pretty soon that’s what your life will become:
Good…but not great.
You must give up a “normal” life if you want any chance of having an extraordinary one.
The 3 Things Every Entrepreneur Needs to Sacrifice
“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. “ -Herman Melville
Everyone has different, unique things they’ll need to sacrifice in order to begin living an extraordinary life.
But there are 3 things everyone will need to give up:
1. Security and Certainty
One of the cornerstones of an extraordinary life is giving up the safety nets, security, and guarantees of a normal life. As Louis Sachar, best-selling author of Holes once wrote:
“So, what’s it going to be — safety, or freedom? You can’t have both.”
Maybe your safety net is a steady paycheck at a job that will never allow you to reach your full potential. Maybe it’s the static 9–5 schedule. Maybe it’s a guaranteed retirement plan.
Of course, you don’t have to live in this scenario for the rest of your life. This lifestyle is exhausting at first — you’re always on your toes, never knowing when the next paycheck is coming in, unsure of the future.
But the extraordinary life gives you full control over your life and actions, at the cost of the comfort of having others call the shots.
This is one of the hardest parts to give up, and takes a long time to really sink in for even the most dedicated entrepreneurs, adventurers, and risk-takers.
2. Fear of Judgement
“The worst part of success is to try to find someone who is happy for you.” -Bette Midler, Grammy and Tony award winner
If you post a status on Facebook that says, “I got the job!” you’re likely to get dozens, even hundreds of likes.
But if you post a status that says, “I finally started my own business!” you’re likely to experience crickets.
Which brings us to the next requirement of an extraordinary life: letting go of your fear of judgement.
Trying to explain your extraordinary life to others will begin to seem like a lost cause. Most people are afraid you’ll achieve the dreams they never did, and so they attempt to protect themselves from that failure by bringing you down.
The extraordinary life looks crazy to an outsider. They don’t understand it, and they’re afraid of it. To an individual living a “normal” life, the characteristics of an extraordinary life seem foolish, stupid, and unrealistic.
They don’t understand why you go to the gym even when you’re exhausted.
They don’t understand why you’d wake up at 6:00am on the weekend when you could be sleeping in.
They don’t understand why you’d prefer a wild, inconsistent, frightening life full of uncertainty when you could choose the comfort and safety of a normal one.
So they judge you. They criticize you, condemn you, and ostracize you by singling you out as stupid, naive, and silly.
You must ignore this.
You will never succeed if you continue to take more stock in what your critics say than what you belief about yourself.
This is another extremely difficult thing to give up. Separating ourselves from the herd is scary, and the criticisms and warnings from others might even sound wise.
Let it go. This is your life, not theirs.
3. Other People’s Definition of Success
In the words of Srinivas Rao:
At some point, I realized that I had to give up other people’s definition of success. This is one of the most difficult things to give up because it is so deeply embedded in our cultural narratives that it becomes the standard by which we measure our lives. Even as entrepreneurs we have collectively agreed that fame and fortune are the markers of success.
But, giving up other people’s definition of success is incredibly liberating and ultimately leads to the fullest expression of who you are and what matters to you. It’s not a one-time thing. It’s a daily habit of comparing less and creating more.
“Success” doesn’t just mean what the larger mob of society says it means: “lots of money, fame, and fortune.” Many people with fame, fortune, and lots of money have terribly empty, imbalanced lives.
Your success isn’t defined by what other people say.
No one can define your success but you. If you continue to let others tell you what success is, you’ll never reach it. Even if you did, it wouldn’t be a true success, because it’s not what you really valued.
No, living an extraordinary life means defining your own version of what success is. You can begin to spend your time on what really matters to you.
Do you really want to be a millionaire? Do you really need 100,000 Twitter followers? Do you really need to be in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list? Do you really want to be a New York Times bestselling author?
Or is your version of success more narrowed, more focused, more specific?
If you want to live an extraordinary life, your definition of success must be your own. If we are always chasing what other people tell us to, we’ll never experience true success.
Let go of other people’s versions of success. Define your own success, and achieve it.
That is true success.
If You’re Reading This, You Have a Higher Chance of Succeeding
Achieving daring goals as an entrepreneur is hard. Very hard. Most people will achieve few, if any of these high-level goals — the kind of goals that could change your and your family’s life forever.
But if you’re reading this, you already have a higher chance of success than almost anyone else.
If you consistently focus on learning creating, not entertainment or distractions — basically, if you read articles like this — you’re in a way better position than 95% of other people. And that is very encouraging.
Ultimately, it’s up to you what you’re willing to sacrifice to achieve an extraordinary life. There is no formula. But one thing is certain: you will need to sacrifice.
It will be hard. It won’t be pleasant.
But the life you’re achieving — the extraordinary life — will be more rewarding than a normal life could ever be. Your relationships, finances, health, knowledge, passion, and purpose will all reach levels higher than ever before.
The cost of an extraordinary life is great.
Ask yourself…Is it worth it to you?