As a young twenty-something, I thought I’d take over the world, but by the time I hit 30, I had accepted a life of mediocrity.
There was no major disappointment, just one tiny setback after another. Each one signaled my brain. You‘re not cut out for this. You’re not meant for an extraordinary life.
That was my mindset for the next decade — an average guy who would never accomplish anything of value. With that belief crystallized, I landed the safest job I could find and drifted through life.
Being average felt comfortable and safe. I prided myself on being a normal dude who paid his bills and stayed out of the way — the kind of guy who works at a company for twenty years but you never learn his name.
My outlook changed at 42-years-old. I woke up one morning, terrified I’d die without accomplishing anything substantial. That recognition set me on a new path.
Today, as I approach fifty, I can point to several successes: building a successful side-business as a writer, raising two kids, and overcoming lifelong challenges of fear, laziness, shyness, and helping others do the same.
These achievements may sound more pedestrian than extraordinary, but most of us have a jaded definition of what extraordinary achievement means. In our culture, we drool over stratospheric accomplishments by the likes of Elon Musk and Steve Jobs. For most of us, that sort of notoriety and impact is unrealistic at best.
Don’t set the bar so high that extraordinary achievement equates to near impossible. Instead, define it as any feat where push past your comfort zone and accomplish something beyond what you believe possible.
Here’s the roadmap to get there.
Make a character pledge.
For most of my adult life, I never finished what I started. I’d burst out of the gates but quit when faced with adversity.
That changed five years ago when I re-engaged with my love of writing. To ensure I’d stick with my passion, I made a commitment to myself — what I call a character pledge.