7 Secrets of extraordinary people

Being extraordinary is not a gift or an inborn trait; it's a learnt behaviour

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The moment we hear the word ‘extraordinary’, we think of famous people, spiritual gurus or geniuses of the world. Because of this, to people like you and me, the thought of ourselves becoming extraordinary seems far-fetched—that’s why we don’t even aspire for it. However, it’s not only possible, but also easy to reach personal heights. It has been my absolute experience, after interacting with thousands of people, that there are seven secrets that can turn any of us into an extraordinary person—someone you will be proud of being.

1. Extraordinary is an action

You might disagree with me on grammar and say that extraordinary is an adjective [quality] and not a verb. Well, you are right, and that is where the secret lies. How do you think a human quality comes to life? Extraordinary people don’t materialise out of thin air, do they? They appear in reality by ‘doing’ things that help them acquire the quality of being extraordinary.

A while back, I heard from someone who was in an extremely stressful situation, and didn’t know the way out. I tried to help by giving suggestions, but she kept dismissing my ideas for some reason or the other. I then realised that the person did not want to be helped, she wanted to complain and act victim. Helplessness is a habit. And extraordinary people don’t have it. In fact, they do the exact opposite—they complain rarely and focus on solving problems. They make sure that happiness is their prime goal. Extraordinary people ‘do things’ to make their life more valuable and different than the rest. It is about acting in ways that are uncommon or unexpected, and going out there and doing something way beyond your perceived limitations. Action definitely leads to being extraordinary.

Helplessness is a habit that extraordinary people don’t have

2. Extraordinary is an attitude

Being extraordinary is not genetic or in-born. It is a collection of powerful thoughts. When you tell yourself over and over that you are a capable individual who is on her way to achieving great things in life—a spark ignites in your mind. It lights up a fire that drives your attitude. Fortunately, our attitude is entirely in our control, irrespective of the good and bad that happens to us.

Everyone on this planet has his/her share of ups and downs, misfortunes and bursts of good luck, and yet, we all respond differently to similar events. Have you wondered why? Because some people call upon their inner strength to rise above the daily clutter and focus on their best qualities and biggest goals. Every time a door or an opportunity closes on you, take it up as a challenge and march right ahead. It is an indication that what is best for you has not yet presented itself or that you have not focused on what you really want. Isn’t it common that just when we think all doors have shut on us, suddenly a perfect one opens, out of nowhere? Extraordinary achievements begin in the mind—attitude—more than in the reality of our current situation. As we allow for a proactive and empowered attitude to take roots in our mind, extraordinary results flow from there.

3. Being extraordinary is a choice

By now, you must’ve realised that being extraordinary is neither an accident nor a special privilege that some have and others don’t. It is a self-created state of being your best. And we become our best self when we choose the best. For example, when someone is being mean or rude to you, what is your first reaction? If you feel like getting back or paying the person in the same coin, you’ve taken the ordinary way out, and that takes no special effort.

On the other hand, it takes solid strength of character and a well-considered choice to be different than the person who disrespects you. You can choose to not be insulted and speak and act with balance in the face of disrespect. This really puts the brakes on the other person. She doesn’t know how to respond to your extraordinary response. The next time, such people will think twice before crossing the line. Extraordinary people hold themselves to high standards and choose wisely, especially, under pressure and stress.

Extraordinary people call upon their inner strength to rise above the daily clutter and focus on their best qualities and biggest goals

4. Extraordinary requires daily effort

If we continue to make the same mistakes we made before, and don’t learn from them, our chances of becoming an extraordinary individual diminish greatly. Learning from everyday experiences and closing the loop with feedback and improvement is a secret weapon of extraordinary people. At times, it is the most obvious thing to do, yet many of us just don’t catch on. It is simple, continuous and incremental improvements that make massive results possible. Extraordinary people don’t become so, one fine day. They practise being extraordinary every single day by making seemingly small, but important improvements; so can you.

5. Extraordinary demands discipline

Discipline doesn’t come easy to anyone. I’ll give you my own example. Before I began brisk-walking more than three kilometres every day, it was nearly impossible for me to do so. Yet, my body told me that I needed to exercise more, and I began to push myself every single day to put on my walking shoes, go out there and walk. The first week was no fun at all. My body ached and I was out of breath. Then, something began to change, imperceptibly, but surely. At the exact same time, every day, an alarm bell would go off in my head that said—time to walk. Before I knew, I was already walking out of the door. To my surprise, I really started looking forward to tying my shoelaces and stepping out. Just three weeks of discipline had turned into a habit.

You can do the same with anything you choose, to make it a good habit. Extraordinary people have the ‘stickiness’ that makes discipline a part of their lives.

It is simple, continuous and incremental improvements that make massive results possible

6. Extraordinary is about learning

For most of us, learning becomes an occasional event once our formal education ends. I’ll let you on to a secret: real life learning begins only after getting a degree. That’s when we need to step up on learning, big time. Extraordinary people learn from little things in life by keenly observing themselves and others. There are innumerable avenues to learn. You can read books, listen to audio talks, attend seminars, watch inspiring videos, talk to those who are wiser than you… the list goes on.

Extraordinary people remain eager to learn every waking hour. No exaggeration. Every experience tells us something valuable, even the bad ones. We just need to choose to extract the learning and implement it at the right time. Extraordinary people are always ready to learn.

7. Extraordinary is a belief

What we believe is what we get. What we don’t believe, but continue to want, might elude us forever. In essence, if you want to become an extraordinary person, you must believe with all your heart that you are capable of standing out in a crowd—of achieving the impossible. Belief creates miracles. When I was in an extremely tough life situation, I set aside the superficial busy-ness of my life and focused on the ‘why’ of the situation. I realised quickly that the problem lay in my own head, not in the world outside me. It was a rude shock, but I decided to act on my discovery. From that day, I resolutely believed that I was deserving of being supremely happy and earning all good things in life. And that’s exactly what happened—almost effortlessly and in an amazingly short span of time. This is my truth. So, I can confidently say to you that believing in your chosen goals and dreams really elevates you to the level of an extraordinary person.

If you put these seven secrets into practise with all your heart, success will be yours to take.

This was first published in the November 2011 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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Sonali Masih-D'silva
Sonali Masih-D'silva is a leadership consultant. She is the co-founder of Leadership Success Solutions. She is also the author of the book, Corporate Nirvana. Her passion lies in training and writing on areas of leadership and personal growth. Sonali has trained senior leaders at several Indian and international organisations.


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