How to Live an Extraordinary Life

The Objective: Lead a happy and extraordinary life.

Honestly, who doesn’t want that? I’m at a place in my life where my priorities have changed. My kids have graduated from college and established themselves as working professionals. With them out of the house, I can focus on leading an interesting life full of adventure and wonder. I’m even taking a happiness course through the University of Miami to help me find true, lasting personal and professional happiness.

I’ve learned that if I slow down and appreciate the beauty of the world and the nuances of my everyday interactions, I often discover opportunities to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Not every day and in every interaction, but often enough that I am learning to appreciate everyone and everything at a deeper level.

Part of learning how to discover those opportunities requires letting go of resentments and ruminations. They are mostly negative, you know, the “wish I said or did that’s.” This wasn’t always my strength, and of course, it’s easier said than done, but if you practice mindfulness and look for the positive, you can rewire your brain to be happier.

In the past, I’ve judged my success and happiness by how many balls I could juggle at any moment. When I look back on that mentality, I feel I was rushing through life as a full-time multi-tasker. Of course, with that came many successes too, but times have changed, and luckily, so have I.

My focus is no longer on climbing the corporate ladder and keeping myself busy but on finding true happiness within every facet of my day-to-day life and focusing on living with curiosity, positivity, and flexibility in each moment — vital elements of living an extraordinary life.

I don’t just mean living for the Instagrammable moments. Extraordinary, by my definition, is spending time with family and good friends, meeting new people, and hearing their stories. It also includes traveling to fascinating places and exploring where you are with fresh eyes, living in the moment without feeling tied to your phone, and being always present for everyone.

The key to elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary is through mindful, intentional presence: an open, non-judgmental attentiveness where I am aware of my surroundings and approach everything with curiosity and acceptance. As a lifelong learner, curiosity is the easiest part for me. However, giving up perfectionism and accepting everyone and everything, flaws and all, is much more challenging. But this is my life, and I want to make it extraordinary; Therefore, I’m doing my best to live through the words of Nicki Minaj, “Let that shit go!”

I’m also meditating now (yep, even me!) While I’m a little type A and can’t sit still for long, I have committed to meditating for 5 minutes daily. At first, it was a chore and out of my comfort zone, but with repetition, I am noticing a significant difference. It is helping me stay focused and has been improving my concentration and patience. I feel calm afterward. Anyone with daughters can relate to the accomplishment this is, given the drama and chaos that comes with them! I have even gotten serious about golf…which requires enormous patience!

I am on the path to an even more incredible life, full of joy, close friendships, and engaging experiences. What would it take for your life, relationship, or career to go from ordinary to extraordinary?

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Kim Martin