Careers

How to take your life from average to awesome

Andrew Carnegie
Ullstein Bild | Getty Images
Andrew Carnegie

You can't change what you're not ready to quit. You are what you repeatedly do. Your habitual behavior often goes unnoticed because you don't need to engage in self-analysis when undertaking routine tasks.

Many people are just going through life. Just like that. Passing through. Letting time tick away. Fast. Letting things happen. Letting every day be just like the day before and the day after. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing you read about in history books. Nothing unique. Just average.

Can things be different for you?

Of course they can.

You just need to start taking control of your life right now!

Define your identity

"The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. " —Neil Gaiman

Who are you? What do you stand for? What do you want to be known for? What standards have you set for yourself? Define your most important role in this world and start shaping your reality based on that.

You are YOU. Your challenge in life, in fact your life's work, is to become the best possible version of you. Not an imperfect approximation of someone else.

Purpose fuels your motivation. What do you look forward to achieving tomorrow, next quarter or in the next five years? Imagine waking up every day excited for what you've set out to accomplish. That passion alone will propel you to the next level.

Raise the bar, crush your goals, and make a dent. It's not too late!

Many people are living their entire lives without ever standing up and stepping out. But it's exciting to witness the rare few who dare themselves and step out of their personal bubbles to work on acheiving something worthwhile.

Most of us live with the stubborn illusion that we will always have tomorrow to do today's work. We consistently hold onto this belief and keep procrastinating until work becomes a heavy burden.

Left unchecked, we always default toward a more comfortable path. Your comfortable zone provides a state of mental security. You can understand why it's so hard to kick your brain out of your comfort zone.

Malcolm Gladwell once said, "Outliers are those who have been given opportunities — and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them."

Outliers seize opportunities and run with them. People who realize how little time they have and are driven to make the absolute most of it. Those are the ones who really live the awesome and extraordinary lives.

Be an outlier!

Master your mindset

"Today, you have the opportunity to transcend from a disempowered mindset of existence to an empowered reality of purpose-driven living. Today is a new day that has been handed to you for shaping. You have the tools, now get out there and create a masterpiece." — Steve Maraboli

If you've ever failed at reaching any goal in life, the problem could all be in your mind. That's how important your mindset is. Your mind is your most powerful force.

The stories you tell yourself and the things you believe about yourself can either prevent change from happening or allow new ideas to blossom.

Carol Dweck, Stanford University psychologist once said, "For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value."

When you begin to master your mindset, you will be able to make new healthy choices, embrace a positive outlook in life, commit to your goals and actually get them done. You will most likely finish what you start and start leading the awesome life you expect and crave. It's within your reach if you can commit to your dreams, goals and visions.

Do small things consistently

"Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it's holy ground. There's no greater investment." — Stephen Covey

The quest to become a better version of yourself often feels like a roller coaster ride. It's hard. And it's usually so uneven. You can end in failure. But life is a journey, not a marathon, so you always have another opportunity to restart and improve.

When you are up for change, you have to start embracing change in small ways. If you want to change your 'life' and not be 'average' then you have to do something different. But aim for small, consistent change. Not rapid change. Small changes that'll make a big difference. It's the only way to be successful at habit change.

Self-improvement isn't a destination. You're never done. Even if you have some success, and you want to maintain it, you have to keep doing the things you were doing that got you that success in the first place.

The idea is to focus on consistent improvements in your life, every day, no matter how small the step you take to be a better you than you were yesterday. According to Brett and Kate McKay of The Art of Manliness:

"Instead of trying to make radical changes in a short amount of time, just make small improvements every day that will gradually lead to the change you want.Each day, just focus on getting 1% better in whatever it is you're trying to improve. That's it. Just 1%.

It might not seem like much, but those 1% improvements start compounding on each other. In the beginning, your improvements will be so small as to seem practically nonexistent. But gradually and ever so slowly, you'll start to notice the improvements in your life. It may take months or even years, but the improvements will come if you just focus on consistently upping your game by 1%."

Make your mornings easier

"How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life. Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days — which inevitably create a successful life — in the same way that unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre mornings generate unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre days, and ultimately a mediocre quality of life. By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible." — Hal Elrod

Take 20 minutes each night to make your mornings easier. Plan your to-do for the next day before the day ends. Prep coffee. Pick out your clothes. You've heard it all before but you've heard it all before for a reason. It works! Put them into practice and witness the miracle morning.

Your evening ritual determines the success of your morning routine. Everything you do just before you go to bed has a lot to do with the time you will be able to wake up without struggle. The time before you go to bed is an ideal time to prepare yourself for the morning.

A productive morning is created consciously. You have to work at it. It's difficult to maintain consistency but to make it work, it takes insane discipline and commitment.

Stop doing what average people do

"Optimistic people play a disproportionate role in shaping our lives. Their decisions make a difference; they are inventors, entrepreneurs, political and military leaders — not average people. They got to where they are by seeking challenges and taking risks." — Daniel Kahneman

Cut off time wasting mental addictions like social media. Get rid of the addiction, not of the useful tools. Successful people focus on personal development, life-long learning and building relationships that add value to their lives now and in the future.

Cultivate relationships that challenge you to become a better version of yourself. People who are above average take action despite fear and uncertainty.

The easiest way to be average is to follow the crowd. It's far easier to be great in a smaller pool.

You don't want that. Go places where you know you will be at a disadvantage. Step outside the line. Competing against superior performers. Watch, read, listen and analyze what they're doing differently than you.

The secret to success lies in the very thing you're avoiding. Those things that seem to break you down and humble your spirit. Seek out discomfort. Be deliberate about doing things that push your limits magnificently.

Difficulty helps us to grow. If you want long-term success, stop avoiding what's hard, and embrace it now. If you're truly pushing yourself to improve — in any capacity whatsoever — you are uncomfortable.

Andrew Carnegie once said, "The average person puts only 25% of his energy and ability into his work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity, and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%."

Devotion to the right things is the difference between those who are living a complete, meaningful life and those who are just reacting to what others require of them.

Find your boundary, then push it!

"The biggest competition is myself. I am not looking to follow others or pull them down. I'm planning to test my own boundaries." — Rain

Knowing what you're going for is what will align your focus and skill. Pick a target and move towards it no matter the obstacles. Aim to push boundaries. Break your own records.

Tackle the fear that has kept you from living your best life. Your mind has a way of rising to the occasion. Challenge it, and it will reward you.

Be good at making time for what matters to you — especially when you don't feel like it.

The fastest way to stop being average is to recognize the possibilities of living with courage and taking action right now in the direction of your dreams. Give yourself permission to pursue what's important to you.

Don't just talk about wanting to do things or try a thousand different things and then abandon them. Make something stick. Become a master at them.

Evita Peron once said, "My biggest fear in life is to be forgotten." No one ever came to this planet to take a back seat, play second fiddle or make it small. Push the impossible.

Life is short. Your time here is so freaking valuable. Do you really want to look back one day and regret all the actions you didn't take?

This article originally appeared on Medium.

Thomas Oppong is the founder and editor of Alltopstartups.com, a resource site for young entrepreneurs starting and growing businesses today.