Four Ordinary Areas of Focus to Help You Have an Extraordinary Day
I am completely average. Although when I made the bed this morning, my wife said she “only had to fix it a little bit,” so things are looking up.
People write blog posts that say things like, “If I can do it, so can you!” The “it” in question is often an NYT best-selling book, a massive online following, or a TED Talk. Those things often feel out of reach, even if I am reading them from an “ordinary guy.”
I have done a few extraordinary things, but I forget them often. Thank goodness for profile bios and blurbs.
It’s tough to focus on long-term accomplishments. It’s also not very fun. I’d much rather have a single good day. Weeks and months are hard, but I can handle 24 hours.
By sheer dumb luck, the road to accomplishing anything extraordinary is simply a series of good days. Rather than dream of where you could be in months, why not, instead, tackle the only increment of time within your grasp – a single day.
My single days are spent focusing on four pillars.
Most people hear the word “faith” and think of capital-F “Faith” only. Although this is important, neglecting lowercase “faith” is a mistake. Faith is the sidekick of hope. Both are important to hold on to if you want a chance at having an extraordinary life.
Faith says: “Life can be better than it is right now.” Refusing to believe that leads to a hard life.
Faith without hope is a good thing. It means you will be a wonderful supporter. I have yet to find a person who does not need someone to believe in them. But without faith, it is impossible to have hope. Hope casts a vision. Faith makes it real.
People talk about “having” faith as if you find it on the side of the road. Not true. You can grow your faith. The quickest way to make this happen is to keep tiny commitments to yourself. “Tiny” is the key word here. Say you’re going to get up at 6 A.M. instead of 6:30, and then actually do it. Commit to walking half a mile in the morning, and then make that happen.
If you can’t have faith in anything else, have faith in you.
You have one sack of bones and organs to get through this life. Why wouldn’t you want to treat it as well as possible?
If you’re like me, you hear the word “fitness” and imagine some ripped dude climbing walls or doing 1,000 pushups in an hour. That was interesting to me at 20. At 30, I’m happy to settle for practical fitness. Luckily, practical fitness is much easier. Anyone can be practically fit.
Practical fitness looks like this:
- Breathe deeply through your nose as often as possible.
- Take 20 minutes out of your day and walk a mile.
- Whenever you get a phone call, stand up, and walk around the room.
- Eat a kiwi (it’s loaded with health benefits and tastes better than a banana).
Although your body takes cues from your brain, the opposite is also true. You don’t have to “treat your body like a temple” in order to be practically fit. If you walk around more than you sit, if you eat more nutritious foods than junk, if you poop once per day, you’re doing great.
Don’t believe what you see in the movies. To do your best work, you’ll have to be in your best shape.
You’ve probably been around your family more than ever this year. Trust me, it’s far better than the opposite.
In 2020, everyone is getting more of what they already had. Those with incredible relationships are thriving from them now. Those who let their marriages and children fall by the wayside in previous years are… well… they’re learning now that was a mistake.
It can be difficult to focus on family relationships. There are no metrics. God knows we don’t need any. Can you imagine walking into your bedroom and saying to your partner: “Hey, if you have 30 minutes, can you fill out this performance review? You’ll be ranking me on my cleanliness, thoughtfulness, and sexual prowess. Starting today, I’ll be giving you one of these per quarter.”
Most people who get divorced aren’t surprised by it. Don’t pretend you can’t feel it when your relationships aren’t clicking full speed. When my wife Kate and I are not on the same page, nothing else goes right.
That’s why I spend most of my day trying to take things off her plate. I do dishes, laundry, and shopping. These are boring, menial tasks. But I’d much rather do them now than go through a not-boring and very stressful divorce later.
Money shouldn’t drive your life, but it should fuel it.
Do you have to be money hungry? No. Do you have to know how money lives, breathes, and works? Yes.
This sounds backward, but the more financially educated you are, the less you have to make in order to survive. Financial guru Robert Kiyosaki claims to live on “only $100,000” per year and that he isn’t interested in making any more. Kanye West was right: “Money isn’t everything, not having it is.”
For the past three years, I’ve been tracking the amount of money I make per day, not per month or per year. This shift helps me keep a better grasp on where my time is going and where my money is flowing. It’s fun to make $200 in a single day. It’s way more fun to do that when you haven’t done a single minute of work. That’s normally a perk reserved for employees who slave away 50 weeks out of the year so they can “vacation” for two of them.
To tell the truth, I don’t like to think about money much. It’s much easier to learn a little, plan a little, and then stick to that plan. Coordinate with your family and work toward having as much financial freedom as possible.
Planning for the long term is a good thing, but in order to execute any long term plans, you need to have a series of good days. As a reminder, all my good days are driven by the following four ordinary areas of focus:
Do I have an extraordinary day every time I work on these four areas? No. Some days I still feel like I’m stuck in the rat race, going nowhere. However, before I made these areas a focal point in my life, the best I could hope to feel like was a rat wandering aimlessly, changing direction every time he smelled some cheese.
Instead of throwing yourself at the mercy of whatever comes next in this crazy world, stay focused, stay balanced, and keep moving.
After all, you can only live one day at a time.