“We have one precious life: do something extraordinary today, even if it's tiny. A pebble starts the avalanche.” ~K.A. Laity
Do you have a vision of a life you want to lead?
Doing work that you enjoy, being happy, healthy, and having great relationships?
You probably have your own idea of what an extraordinary life means. But how often do you feel that you are living that life?
Life is bound within the confines of our schedules, our money, and our limited resources.
There are many things that you want to do, or want to be, but most of the time you tend to go with the flow, putting things off for later. Either because you are too busy, or because you feel that you lack the means to do so.
What if that’s not true?
What if you are mistaken about the limitations you think you face? What if you can do much more—starting today?
What if, by just asking yourself a few questions every day, you could become happier, healthier, and much more successful?
For me, an extraordinary life is not about being in a permanent vacation in Vegas or having millions in the bank. My vision is not of any particular destination, but a journey. It’s a life where I am content with what I have yet strive for more. A balance of the present and the future.
Last year was one of the best years of my life. And I could make it so because I was able to look past what I had assumed to be major limitations that were holding me back.
A Dream on the Backburner
Since I was ten years old, I wanted to visit Scotland.
Filled with breathtaking natural beauty, fascinating legends, rich history, incredible medieval architecture, wonderful people, and divine food, Scotland is one of the most enchanting places on Earth.
I had glimpses of it all my life through travel shows, books, and movies –Braveheart, The Water Horse, the legend of the Loch Ness monster, R.L. Stevenson's stories, and more.
For me, this was not just about a vacation. This was connected to the very core of my identity—to my sense of freedom and adventure; to my love for art, beauty, and a desire to live a life of meaning.
The trouble was that I was running a startup business and I was always either too busy or had too little money to spend on personal matters.
My wife and I had this grand vision of a luxury trip to Scotland, when we would have enough time and money. We really didn’t want to go on a regular trip because we wanted it to be ‘extraordinary.'
One day all that changed. But not in the way I had expected.
A Simple Bit of Wisdom
I came across a bit of simple but powerful wisdom by bestselling author Marshall Goldsmith. He spoke about asking ourselves daily questions about things that really matter to us:
Did I do my best to (be or do something) today?
The question might seem simple, but it has a very powerful impact. It will make you examine your life and your perceived limitations. It will prompt you to take personal responsibility for your life.
I became intrigued and began to ask myself one particular question that he recommended:
Did I do my best to be happy today?'
Asking this question made me more cognizant of taking responsibility for my own happiness. Initially, it prompted me to practice gratitude every day. But then came a big revelation.
Over a couple of weeks, I began to think more deeply about my life. I really began to wonder, what would make me more fulfilled right now? And the same answer kept repeating itself: I had to go to Scotland.
And then, I thought, why not? Why am I putting off something that means so much to me?
My wife and I were planning a trip for the next year, but many ‘next years' had elapsed without us taking action.
Over the next few days, we did some serious research and realized that it wouldn't really be as expensive as we had thought. Besides, there are ways to save, like staying in AirBnB instead of a hotel.
Soon after, we were standing in the medieval city of Edinburgh!
Nothing can prepare you for the magic when you actually land in that mesmerizing city. Traveling through the Highlands, visiting castles, and taking a boat ride on the legendary Loch Ness was far more beautiful than I had ever expected.
And it all began by asking a simple question every day. Honestly, if I hadn’t asked that daily question, we would have put off our trip again for ‘next year.'
The Power of the Question
A meaningful question has the power to prompt you to take a close look at your life and your actions. It directs you to take responsibility for your success and happiness. So what other questions can you ask that have the power to change your life?
I will share four more daily questions that you can ask yourself about different areas of your life. Each of these questions has the power to transform your life. But first…
A Word of Caution
Don’t expect an earth shattering revelation when you ask any of these questions for the first time. You will only realize the profound power of these questions once you begin asking them for at least a few days. But over time, these questions can truly make your life extraordinary.
Ready? Let's begin.
Here are four more daily questions for living an extraordinary life.
Improving your Career
Are you less than satisfied with your job?
Most of us are, or have been. Few of us feel completely fulfilled at work.
However, what's also true is that few of us consider themselves to be responsible for their happiness at work.
Ask yourself, “Did I do my best to enjoy my work today?”
Asking this will prompt you to make a sincere effort to enjoy your work.
The moment you take this responsibility, it will become easier for you to connect with people, resolve conflicts, take more initiative, and lend a helping hand to a colleague.
Over time, taking personal responsibility will drive better results, reduce your stress, and bring you more recognition and success.
Improving Health and Fitness
Do you tend to ignore your health because you are too busy? Do you make fitness resolutions without ever sticking to them?
Ask, “Did I do my best to stay healthy?”
This question will provide you with the energy to persevere.
Eating better, going for a run every day, or even changing simple habits like taking the stairs instead of the lift takes time and effort to build.
It is important to do your health habit a little every day till it becomes second nature.
By asking this daily question you will remind yourself to take the small steps toward everyday health—eat a fruit, skip the rope, or sit down to meditate for a few minutes
It will also give you the assurance that you can succeed despite your lack of time or inconsistency in the past.
You realize that all you need is some extra effort and perseverance. Let the question be your inspiration every day.
Do you often find yourself involved in a disagreement or a conflict?
Conflicts are one of the biggest sources of stress. How much easier would your life be if you had a way to resolve conflicts quickly, or even better, prevent them from occurring in the first place?
Ask, “Did I do my best to understand people?”
Most conflicts happen because people fail to understand each other. Because we fail to see the other person’s viewpoint, or appreciate their interests. Before you can truly make the other person understand you, you must understand him or her. Why not take the first step yourself?
Designing your Life’s Purpose
Do you ever feel a lack of clear purpose? Or that there is a special purpose to your life, but you don't know what it is?
There have been times when I have felt the same. It's not unusual to question the direction your life is taking.
But have you considered that you don’t really have to discover a special purpose in life?
What if you can design your purpose every single day? What if your life has multiple purposes, the same way we have multiple roles in life—a spouse, a parent, a friend, an employee, a citizen, a human being.
What if you just strived to be a person who attempts to do the best in one or more of these roles – everyday?
Ask yourself, “Did I do my best to find meaning in my life today?”
Out of all the above questions, this is probably the most powerful of all. Take the responsibility of finding meaning in your life every day. I believe that meaning already exists; we just don’t recognize it. Well, now you can—every day.
It’s All Up to You
I believe that life is a gift. Life itself is extraordinary.
All of us will not find equal success in relationships, work, finances, or health. However, we can choose to do the best with the limited means that we have. We can choose to make a sincere effort to live life to the fullest every single day.
These are just a few daily questions that can take you in the direction of creating an extraordinary life.
What areas of your life do you want to focus on? What daily questions will you ask yourself?
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