“If you’re doing what everybody else is doing and thinking like everybody else is thinking, you’re probably doing something wrong.” ~ Andy Andrews
A couple of weeks ago while traveling; I received a tweet from one of the long-time members of my personal Board of Advisors, Andy Andrews, that he would be a guest on the Glen Beck Show. I don’t watch a lot of TV and have never watched the Glen Beck Show, but I called my wife and had her set up the show to record. I finally got a chance to watch the program and Andy as expected, lived up to my expectations. Andy had a lot of great things to say, but one thing in particular really struck a chord with me; so much so that I had to watch it several times to get the full benefit from what he was saying.
When Andy made the above statement, “If you’re doing what everybody else is doing and thinking like everybody else is thinking, you’re probably doing something wrong”, he went on to say, “because everybody is not getting results we would call ‘extraordinary’, so if you’re doing what everybody else is doing and thinking what everybody else is thinking, you’re probably just contributing to the average.” Even if you’re doing pretty well in life, whether financially, in your marriage, your spiritual life, whatever, chances are you are just contributing to a slightly higher average. But is that really what you want out of life? Do you really want to have just an average marriage? Are you really willing to settle for just an average career? Do you want to raise average children?
Certainly the answer to these questions is a resounding, “No!” Certainly also, if you had a magic wand, you would waive that magic wand and make every aspect of your life extraordinary. If your desire is to have every aspect of your life be extraordinary, then thinking like everyone else is thinking and doing what everyone else is doing is never going to get you where you want to be. At best, your life will be slightly better than average.
Unfortunately, for many people, just becoming ‘average’ is a goal. This is a sickness of our society. A sickness where everyone gets a trophy just for participating – where it is not acceptable to keep score because someone might come away with a damaged self-esteem. When we allow this kind of thinking to become the norm, there is no longer a reason or a desire to be the best. Embracing this kind of thinking cheats us out of a better life. It cheats us out of ever becoming extraordinary.
So how do we become extraordinary? The answer lies in the above quote – we have to stop doing what everyone else is doing. Let’s start at the beginning. When we are in school, we make friends and tend to do what our friends do. If they get by with doing 30 minutes of homework each night and then spending the rest of night watching television or playing video games and still maintain a B average, chances are we will do the same things. To become extraordinary, we have to devote a greater amount of our time to learning. If we don’t intend to settle for a B average, we know we have to spend 2 or 3 hours learning the material for the upcoming exam and we have to forfeit reaching the next level on some video game.
The same is true for school sports. If we want to be the best, we must know that the one-hour after school practice is never going to get us there. We have to practice on our own time and forego evenings of talking on the phone to our friends. It is widely known that superstars like Michael Jordan, Pete Rose of Peyton Manning were always the first to show up for practice and the last to leave.
Dr. DeBakke never settled for being an average student. He wanted to be extraordinary and he wanted to accomplish extraordinary things and to do that meant he had to go the extra mile. Warren Buffett never wanted to be an average investor so he dedicated the time and effort to pour through financial statements like no one else did. Stevie Ray Vaughn didn’t just pick up the guitar when he felt like it; he spent countless hours becoming great at his craft.
Becoming extraordinary in any aspect of life; parenting, marriage, business, spiritual, sports, whatever it is – requires that you do one thing more than others are willing to do and that one thing is sacrifice. If you want to be an extraordinary parent, you can’t spend 30 minutes a day with your children. If you want to have an extraordinary marriage, you can’t go hang out with your friends every night. If you want the report that is due tomorrow to be extraordinary you can’t be concerned with who gets voted off the island. You must be willing to think differently. You must be willing to make the sacrifices that are necessary to become extraordinary.
We live in an incredible time when information is available at our fingertips. Literally, there isn’t anything you can’t learn if you are willing to think differently and make the necessary sacrifices. We weren’t put here to be average – we were put here to be everything we could possibly be and to accomplish great things. Do you want to have an extraordinary life? The late great Jim Rohn often said, “For things to change, you have to change.” Begin by changing the way you think. Stop thinking what everybody else is thinking and stop doing what everybody else is doing. Be extraordinary!