The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”
― Jimmy Johnson
A petite lady born into a wealthy family in a faraway country in Eastern Europe gave up her privileged background to spend the rest of her life caring for the poor, the sick and terminally ill. She chose to do this not in her country of birth, but at the back side of a country which at that time was not necessarily a tourist’s top choice.
Many years after, she won a Nobel Peace prize as a result of her work with the neglected people in the society. By the time she died, a whole nation went into mourning, a national holiday was declared and presidents of nations, top government functionaries, and millions of people from across India attended her funeral. Who was this extraordinary woman? None other than the widely acclaimed Mother Theresa.
What propelled this woman to have such great influence on her generation despite the fact that she was unmarried, childless and not exactly wealthy? The answer- Mother Theresa refused to live an ordinary life. She went the extra mile and refused to be just an ordinary nun, but one that positively affected her world. She lived a life of impact, relevance and significance. The mission she founded, ‘Missionaries of Charity’, is now present in over ninety five nations and still counting.
How then can one live an extraordinary life?
It begins with a choice. Mother Theresa decided to leave her privileged background to become a nun. Not only did she become a nun, she chose to leave the comfort of the convent to work with the poor and the sick in the slums of Calcutta in India. What dear friend, are the choices you have made? Extraordinary people usually make a decision to be different and to do something different. Make the right choices in life, and you will live to make an impact on your generation.
Then, identify your passion. Your passion captures the essence of your hopes, dreams and aspirations. The world is full of stories of men and women who have made tremendous impact on their generation and left inedible marks on the sands of time, just because they paid attention to the passions of their heart.
Also, identify the gifts, talents and potentials that you have- The Bible says in Proverbs 18:16 that ‘a man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.’ In essence, the innate abilities (gifts) in a man given by God, when put to use will open unimaginable doors for him. Identify what your abilities are. It could be the ability to sing, write, act, design, speak, organise etc. The list is endless.
Ask yourself these questions- What am I good at? What can I do so well that I did not learn anywhere? What can I do effortlessly even if I am not paid for it? The moment you identify what your talent is, begin to look for opportunities to use it to be a blessing to others and to help them solve problems. As you focus on doing this, you are on your way to greatness!
And finally, to live an extraordinary life, go the extra mile and focus on character development. As a child of God, live your life guided by Godly principles and values. Success and fame without character is a waste. In the words of renowned motivational speaker- Zig Ziglar, ‘the foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty’. Your character or attitude is the aroma of your life. It is the real you, it is who you are when nobody is watching. Your character will either earn you respect or make you lose it. A man that has a good and Godly character has it all. He will continue to live for many years in the hearts of people whose life he has touched, even many years after his/her death.
Rev. Billy Graham, a great preacher of the gospel, summed it all very well in these words…
‘When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; When health is lost, something is lost; When character is lost, all is lost’.
Do you desire to live an extraordinary life? Determine in your heart to stand out in all you do. Then, identify what you are passionate about and the natural abilities you have. Begin to look for opportunities to be a blessing and to help people solve problems using these abilities. Above all, focus on developing character. Remember, charisma and charm can take you to the very top in life, but it is character that will sustain and keep you there.Till next time, remain blessed.