YOUR LIFE, LESS ORDINARY
By DR CARLY YMER
Definition: of no special quality or interest; commonplace; unexceptional
Antonym: extraordinary; exceptional; noteworthy; remarkable
How can we be less ordinary and live our lives in an exceptional way? The answer is to live with Gratitude, understand your Purpose, be Committed and act with Consistency
“Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent of all others.” Cicero
Gratitude is thankfulness, gratefulness, appreciation. It is a feeling, emotion or attitude about life, not a skill to be learned. The benefits of gratitude are plentiful: happiness, greater sense of control, positive self-esteem, Increased life satisfaction, better sleep through less negative and greater positive thoughts, harmonious relationships, greater ability to cope with difficult life experiences and transitions, less avoidance, denial and blame, and greater definition of purpose.
Your gratitude can also motivate the behavior of others. Consider the concept of “pay it forward”, your gratitude can improve another’s altruistic tendencies (that is their empathy, generosity, and helpfulness towards others). If you value gratitude and incorporate that into your daily life those around you will start to naturally reflect that attitude too.
How do we discover and promote our own feelings of gratitude? Count your Blessings – loudly. Smile; openly acknowledge how wonderful each day is. Point out the wonder of nature around you, tell your family and friends how you value them, and be openly grateful for even the tiniest blessings such as food and a warm house. Be kind. Kindness and gratitude go hand in hand. Help others randomly, share your possessions and knowledge. Say “Thank You” – a lot. A simple “thank you” speaks of appreciation and gratefulness and can promote others to give thanks too. Gratitude acknowledges good things are here, and that there are more to come.
Purpose is something to be attained involving all of intention, resolution and determination. Those with purpose are self-directed, motivated, consistent and productive in all areas of life; home, career, social, interpersonal, and emotional. They have inner peace and healthier relationships. The million dollar question…How do you discover your real purpose in life — the very reason you exist? Try this. Consider your mind a blank canvas, visualise writing on your canvas “What is my true purpose in life?” – now scribble down anything that comes to mind; don’t think, judge or edit, just write with impulsive abandon! Beware of answers that impersonate the truth, these answers will come from your socially conditioned mind. You may go round and round in circles, repeating, feeling silly, getting frustrated, wanting to walk away. Push past this, don’t succumb to the struggle, your answer will come. This process works, trust in it. Keep writing frantically until you feel an overwhelming emotion and sense of peace that resonates with you deeply. There, you found it, you have your purpose. Whenever you read those words, you will feel a special energy and deep connection to them.
Once you discover your true purpose, and you will, the fun part is to start living it.
Commitment is the state of being bound emotionally and/or intellectually to a course of action. Commitment is action. No complaining, excuses or procrastination. Circumstances and people in our daily lives can often get in the way of our commitment. Commitment requires self-discipline. Do you have it? How strong is your discipline at this moment? Self-discipline can be applied to all areas of our life; we can have disciplined sleep, disciplined diet, disciplined fitness routines, disciplined work habits, and disciplined relationships. It takes different tools and strategies to build discipline in each area. Find your weakest area and start working to improve it with small achievable goals. Continue to work upwards, enjoying the mastery at each level. Great things don’t just happen. They are purposeful and intentional. They take discipline and hard work. Slowly build your self-discipline and you will be astounded at what you can achieve over time.
Consistency is the achievement of a level of performance that does not vary greatly in quality over time. It is the foundation of advantage and is elusive to many. It’s easy to go to the gym and workout once. It isn’t even that hard to workout for an entire month. What’s really difficult is working out, day after day, for years.. Contrary to popular belief, consistency is not all willpower, but it’s also about working on a macro timescale not micro. A consistent person doesn’t care that their fitness hasn’t improved after 2 weeks; they are focused on the longer horizon. Being consistent creates incredible growth, development and overall productivity because it never stops. Easy tips for being consistent in anything you do:
- Focus on sustainability. Don’t aim to be the best or fastest, aim to do what is realistic each day for the long term.
- Focus on regularity. Consistency isn’t irregularity. The activity needs to be so deeply integrated that you feel lost when you can’t do it.
- Be accountable. We claim to be consistent, but conveniently forget the “slip ups”. Be accountable by documenting your actions, and sharing them honestly with others.
- Be patient. Continue even when the rewards aren’t coming immediately.
Live your life, less ordinary through gratitude, living your purpose, being committed and consistent in what you value. Be passionate and determined. Discover what matters to you and have the courage to do what matters. It doesn’t happen by accident. It’s matter of choice.
Dr Carly Ymer
Clinical Psychologist and Being Well Clinic Director.