Strive to be extraordinary.

It’s been said that “the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is simply a little extra.” Too many people talk a good game, think a good game, and sit back and let the world pass them by. It’s the extraordinary person who is never satisfied and is constantly striving for yet another conquest.

Every activity in life, including life itself, has a time limit. High school lasts for four years and it’s over. College ends with a graduation. Many jobs have a time line, or in retail terms, a “shelf life.” Relationships come and go, as do careers. If you accept the reality that all aspects of life is about time lines and time limits, it seems obvious you should strive to make the most of the time you have on this planet. Isn’t it time for a “wake-up call” to motivate you to focus on all you have yet to accomplish and experience? The only thing sadder than unfinished business is, perhaps, business never started.

Ordinary people live contented lives where “good enough” is fine.

Extraordinary people are committed to living life to the fullest and take a contrary view and say, “Good enough never is.”

Think hard about your dreams and hopes. If what you dreamed about and hoped for back in your teens and perhaps even your twenties has not come to fruition, then your daily question to yourself should be “If not now, when?”

Extraordinary people choose to live their lives to the fullest. Every morning, you can choose how you’ll spend your day. You can choose joy, happiness, helpfulness, energy, spirit, kindness, philanthropy, learning, working, seeking, experimenting and more. You can also choose sadness, depression, helplessness, pessimism, laziness, sarcasm, boredom, etc.

To feel the freedom that comes from being able to do new things and accomplish new goals is wonderful and magical. Even the ability to make new mistakes is energizing. Life is for the living… especially for those who focus on the extra and the extraordinary.

The late Steven Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma… which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice…work to do the extra.”

It’s a sad but true fact that years, perhaps decades, from now, you

will be more disappointed by all the opportunities you didn’t take and all the things you avoided doing than by the ones that you decided to do. It’s never too late to do, to try, to aspire, to achieve, to grow… and grow by always doing a little extra.

The extra mile is never crowded.

Life, after all, is a series of second chances, comebacks and “do overs.” You could, for the first time in your life, be the person you’ve always wanted to be and do things you’ve only dreamed about. Again, if not now, when? Doing a little bit extra in everything you do will make you feel great and bring forth respect from all around you.

I’m often reminded that just a little extra can bring forth amazing, big results. For example, when you put a pot of water on the stove and the water reaches 211-degrees, it’s hot, really hot. However, by cranking up the temperature a little bit extra… just one degree extra to 212-degrees, the water boils. Hot water vs. boiling water is dramatically different. Boiling water generates enough force to power an engine, a turbine and a machine where hot water cannot.

Conversely, putting forth one degree of extra effort can provide you incredibly powerful results. It should be a reminder to us all that small things can surely make a tremendous result.

As an inventor, Thomas Edison made nearly 1,000 attempts at inventing the light bulb. After finally completing and refining his invention, a reporter from the New York Times asked him, “Mr. Edison, what did you learn making nearly 1000 attempts at finishing your invention ?” Edison replied, “I learned 999 ways not to invent a light bulb. It was that one, last, extra try that brought me to the finish line.”

Edison was surely a great example of putting in a little extra. He also said, “Many of life’s failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Again, the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that powerful little word… “extra.”

Virtually every great work of art, industry, science, music, sport and enterprise came about because an individual or a group of individuals worked to exceed all expectations and focus on doing, creating, building and accomplishing something extra.

The extra mile is never crowded.

CBJ columnist and Acworth resident, Ira Blumenthal, is a business consultant, a best-selling author, a globally renowned speaker, an educator and a college Lacrosse coach. Learn more about Ira and his latest book, Your Best is Next, at www.IraSpeak.com.

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