Recently, my friend set a challenge for herself: do something extraordinary every day for 30 days. What does extraordinary mean though? A quick Google search taught us that extraordinary means something “remarkable or very unusual”.
We’re fast hitting midday and to be honest, the both of us are far from achieving anything extraordinary today. We’ve done some grocery shopping, we’ve had a coffee, and we’ve found the extraordinary in the generosity of the barista and as we speak she has literally decided to try water infused with apple skin.
Extraordinary is a little further away than we want it to be right now.
Because extraordinary is hard — 2014 is the year of gratitude journals, #100daysofhappiness, and all manner of finding greatness in our everyday lives. We’ve reconditioned ourselves to find greatness in almost anything but in the midst of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary; we’ve forgotten the adventure of finding extraordinary in the unknown.
The challenge of being grateful every single day is hard enough that doing extraordinary is on the back burner. Instead, we’re confusing gratitude with being extraordinary and instead of doing remarkable/unusual/something out of the ordinary, we’ve taken an easier option of finding something great in something that probably wasn’t that great to begin with.
And that is fine, because gratitude is important and living a life where we can find joy in the simple things can only make us better people to ourselves and the people around us.
But don’t get gratitude confused with extraordinary because there is a chance that in your journey towards being grateful for almost anything in life (your cup of tea, the sun shining, a day at the beach, your boss being nice to you, etc. etc. etc.), we’ll all just stop doing things out of the ordinary to be grateful for.
Here’s the difference: when I see extraordinary in other people, I see them being vulnerable. When I look for gratitude points in my day, I look for things in my comfort zone.
But what if we challenged ourselves to do extraordinary instead of searching for it? For me, it means finding the time to take my friend to a trampoline park so we can jump around for an hour and being okay with looking absolutely stupid! For someone else, it might be finally moving away from that ham and cheese sandwich you’ve been having every day for a year to a tuna salad. Extraordinary isn’t just about jumping out of that plane and it’s not unachievable.
Don’t lose yourself in gratitude and finding extraordinary in the everyday that you forget the challenge of doing something different (and maybe ever scary). What would your gratitude journal look like if today, you chose to do something extraordinary? What would it look like if you chose to do something extraordinary every day? What would you look like if you did something unusual and remarkable?
We’re fast becoming people who are too busy being grateful in the extraordinary in other people that we’ve taken a back seat in doing remarkable and unusual for ourselves.
My friend says that doing extraordinary takes planning, it means waking up with the intention of doing something different. When we think about it like that, being grateful is easy, but doing something to be grateful for, well, when was the last time I did that?