Ordinary Survival vs. Extraordinary Living

Ordinary Survival vs. Extraordinary Living

There are several terms that we can use for ordinary. Average. Common. Normal. And I'm sure there are more. I am sure when it comes to certain things, ordinary may be a good thing. However, when it comes to our lives, ordinary is not what we should strive for. We should strive for more because we were created for me. We were created to be EXTRAORDINARY!

Before we begin, there's a foundation that must be set. To understand what extraordinary living looks like, we must first explore ordinary living. And to do this, we simply examine 'ordinary' experiences, or what the average experience looks like. Let's look at some random statistics from The Pew Research Center:

  • At least 4 in 10 adults have faced high levels of psychological distress during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 59% of young adults (18-34) have New Year's resolutions; but only 9% of people successfully keep their resolutions.
  • 92% of people do not achieve their goals.
  • Only about half of workers are highly satisfied with their job overall.
  • Approximately 60% of workers who quit a job in 2021 say low pay, no opportunities for advancement, and disrespectful workplace as top reasons.
  • A majority of adults in 18 of 24 countries rate their nation's economic situation poorly.
  • Nearly half of US adults say dating has gotten harder for most people in the last 10 years.
  • With adults between the ages of 30 to 64, their work is a major source of meaning for them.
  • According to a recent Gallup poll, 60% of people reported being emotionally detached at work and 19% as being miserable.

These are just a few statistics from The Pew Research Center highlighting that the majority of people are struggling with a wide variety of issues ranging from job satisfaction, depression, financial concerns, or simply just being committed to achieving their goals. There are three key areas people often struggle with: health, wealth, or their relationships. These are the key areas where most people find meaning for themselves and for their lives. But most of all, people are looking for more fulfillment in their lives. That is, more joy and significance.

Interestingly, issues with one of these--health, finances, or relationships--can often affect the stability of the others. For example, experiencing health challenges can quickly have a negative financial effect. Or, instability in romantic or professional relationships can create unwanted stress that ultimately lead to health challenges. When people experience issues with their health, finances, and/or relationships, it can drain them of energy causing them to place more focus on the issue and ignoring proper care in other areas of their lives. When someone's life is out of balance, it can quickly seem like they are overwhelmed and just trying to survive. Have you ever asked someone how they are doing and they replied that they were just trying to survive? This is how many people feel.

Another expectation of most people is that if they can find stability with their health, wealth, and/or relationships, they will be happy and fulfilled. But this is often not the case. And although they pursue happiness, it consistently eludes them creating more issues in their health, finances, and relationships. There are countless examples of people that have achieve notoriety, fame, and wealth but failed to find fulfillment. So, when we refer to ordinary living, we are referring to the constant cycle that most people find themselves in as they engage in an elusive pursuit of joy, significance, and fulfillment in their lives. When people lack fulfillment and significance other areas in their lives suffer. They may experience poor job performance, productivity issues, weight gain (or loss), stress, health issues, and failed relationships, to name a few. Unfortunately, this appears to be a way of life for many people. It's become rather normal for people to experience such frustrations.

Now that we know what ordinary living is, let's understand what we mean by extraordinary living. When you think of the phrase extraordinary living, what comes to mind? Lots of money? Traveling to exotic lands? Nice houses and cars? If that’s what came to mind, I hate to burst your bubble; but that’s not what we mean by extraordinary living. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am sure most of us would love to have those things. And I am not saying those things are impossible to attain. But as we saw earlier, chasing those things don't guarantee fulfillment and joy. By extraordinary living, we mean living a life of significance where you are fulfilled and are positively impacting others in your sphere of influence. With extraordinary living, we don't pursue physical, financial, or relational stability with the expectation that those things will make us happy. We pursue a purposeful life that yields joy regardless of what our physical, financial, or relational status may be. This creates an innate joy and significance that spills over into the other areas of our lives. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and fighting for survival, we live a life where we thrive and truly live freely. Extraordinary living requires a few changes; first starting with your mindset and your expectations. Now before you move on, there's one thing you should know. And that is:

You were created to live extraordinarily. Anything less will produce unfulfillment.


  1. How does your initial image of extraordinary living compare to how we described extraordinary living?
  2. What areas are you most unfulfilled in your life?

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