What does it take to be extraordinary?

How to be extraordinary, elon musk in studio

What are the traits and habits of an extraordinary person?

I was asked this question recently. And sincerely, the answer I could give in private — personalized to the person asking the question, who I know quite well— would be different from what I could reply to a question like this in public. But I’ll do my best to give a generalized answer that would give an insight into what my thoughts are on the subject matter.

First and foremost, you have to understand that what is ordinary and what is extraordinary can be vastly different depending on different factors like timing, place, resources available, etc. What you find extraordinary today may be what you find ordinary at a different point in your life.

You should also know that extraordinary doesn’t necessarily always mean desirable. While some people may aim for a highly productive life and making an impact that’d resonate for centuries, other people just want a normal, nice, quiet, routine life. How you choose to live your life is your own way and not better or worse than the way other people choose to live their lives. What’s important is for everyone to live their life the way they find satisfaction. 

That being said, what is the connection between an extraordinary person and an extraordinary life? Is there a consensus on what an extraordinary life looks like? Before I answer these questions, let’s first take a look at what the word extraordinary means. 

Extraordinary: very unusual or remarkable.

“the extraordinary plumage of the male”

As you can see, according to the oxford dictionary, extraordinary means uncommon, remarkable. There’s a positive connotation to the meaning of the word. But if something is extraordinary or not, it depends on what it’s compared to. 

To simplify, let’s say an extraordinary person is a person that’s unusual in a highly positive way. 

Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies how we’re all identical to everyone else, how we are similar to everyone else, and how we’re different from everyone else. In this sense, we’re all extraordinary, if we develop and put on display our unique individual qualities. 

There’s no singular way to be extraordinary. Being extraordinary depends on our own personal definition and belief. No one can tell you how to be extraordinary but yourself. To have a point of reference and know where to work towards, develop your natural traits and abilities that make you unusual and different from other people and put them to the best use as you aim to become your best self.

That’s a summary of the answer I gave to the question of how to become an extraordinary person.

So, what are your unique traits and abilities? Find them and you’d have found the traits of an extraordinary person. What are the actions you have to take every day to put these traits to the best use? Find them and you’d have found the habits of an extraordinary person.

What does an extraordinary life look like?

Now that we know what it takes to be extraordinary, what the traits and habits of an extraordinary person are, how can we translate this to our way of living?

From the definition of the word extraordinary, we can conclude that an extraordinary life is a life filled with unusual and remarkable deeds. A person can actually be extraordinary but not do anything over the top with the unique qualities they possess. An extraordinary life is a life dedicated to doing work that causes a direct and drastic positive impact on the lives of others.

To understand better

In the feature picture of this post, you can see Elon Musk, an amateur EDM music producer who also happens to run a few high-tech companies. He is revolutionalizing key sectors like transportation, space exploration, energy, even genetic biology, in an effort to secure a good future for mankind. In my opinion, there’s nothing normal — or ordinary — in what he is single-handedly doing for mankind: securing a good future.

The positive impact on people’s life mustn’t be global though, as Elon Musk’s. A friend told me not long ago:

I really want to have a positive influence in this world, making it better but doing it locally and personally rather than reaching millions of people and being all global…I believe that it’s the small things that really matter and make difference…

And I fully agree. Every little action counts, enormously.

In conclusion

To become an extraordinary person, all you have to do is make the best of what you have. To live an extraordinary life, take actions that will lead to a positive impact on other people’s life.