You know how there are some things to which you’ve given thought? They seem clear to you in your mind, but they haven’t actually become part of the you that’s living your life?

This is common for many people…

You may know something but that “knowing” has no real meaning to you. Knowing it doesn’t in any way change how you live or work. Some people call this the difference between knowledge and wisdom.

Knowledge is just another thing you have, waiting to be used…

Wisdom changes your life.

Something has to happen to drive those things from your head into your heart, into your life. It could be anything…

It could be a full-on shock to your system that does it. A kind of emotional cataclysm – the end of an important relationship, going bankrupt, or the death of a loved one.

It doesn’t have to be a negative thing. It could be the birth of a child or selling your company that does it.

It could be something neutral like simply growing older. Although all by itself that doesn’t seem to make anyone much smarter or aware.

It could even be something seemingly trivial, like getting the right email at just the right time, or a “chance” conversation with a friend or trusted advisor.

I have lived with knowing lots of things that didn’t make a damn bit of difference, but over the last few weeks whole giant aspects of my life and business have shifted.

In my “Rhonda” video – if you haven’t seen it you can watch it by clicking here (fair warning, it’s kind of rough) – I talked about an earlier time in my life when I had this extraordinary job. For a job, it was perfect in almost every way. High pay, smart colleagues and clients, interesting, challenging work, international travel… Everything.

And yet I woke up one day and realized that while it was all okay, I wasn’t doing my life’s work. I wasn’t living the way I’d hoped to.

When I finally woke up (and it literally happened waking up one morning) I had no choice but to act.

I turned in my resignation by the end of that week…

Maybe there’s nothing wrong for you with okay, but for me okay is a four-letter word. Now, I’m not saying you have to feel the way I do. For many people okay would be an upgrade…

But one of the problems with living an okay life is that it lulls you…

And you can end up sleepwalking through your okay life and wake up 20 years down the road to the sudden horror that it’s too late to live the life you’ve longed for.

You’ve survived instead of flourished, you’ve settled for existence when you could have had transcendence.

If you’ve read this far, okay probably isn’t for okay for you.

For me, it’s crystal clear: okay isn’t.

I want spectacular.

What about you?

19 Responses

  1. Carl Rizzo

    Thank you. Your words inspire and invoke change. Today is the beginning of change.
    Best regards,

    Carl Rizzo
    Nampa Idaho

    Reply
  2. J Mark

    Sorry for your loss.
    Your inspiring words raise great fear in me. The years of commitment-building to others in my life keep me “in check” being safe and okay. I struggle with the prospect of believing I have the strength and fortitude to go beyond. And so…

    Reply
  3. Jean

    Inspired. That was the life sustaining motivation for me. Excitement was the fuel for my proactive fire. Being part of something much bigger than self, bringing up an incredible child, looking forward to the awakening faith walk everyday brought and feeling a general joy for life. The last 5 years slowly opened my eyes with the knowledge, not wisdom, of the misdirection of my effort. The grace I shared and the kindness of my heart was summed up as “gullible” and weakness. Being open left avenues of disaster I could have never predicted. I don’t regret the truth of myself only the person I so foolishly wasted it on & for. And now comes wisdom. What I thought was okay temporarily was due diligence until spectacular arrived. Now, it’s not even okay.

    Reply
  4. Charlotte

    An awake life, absolutely important for me, but even more so for my children and grandchildren who I want to grow up expecting the extrordinary in their lives…unwilling to settle for OKAY! I hope that my life will be an example for them to follow……not a warning! Awareness was a long time coming for me…Today, I often ask myself….If not NOW, WHEN? I am learning to STEP UP and STEP OUT!

    Reply
  5. Simon James

    Quite right Paul. And I think it’s important, not only to have an intention to achieve the spectacular, but also to begin that process by not settling for second best in the hundreds of mundane things we do in everyday life.
    For example, I made a friend a cup of tea the other day and as I passed it to her there was a split-second “look” on her face.
    So I took a guess and asked “Is there enough milk in it for you?”.
    She hesitated and then said (in a typically English fashion) “I normally have a bit more, but it’ll be ok”.
    Much to her surprise I took the cup back off her and went to the kitchen saying “Why would you accept something that’s not quite what you want but is easily fixed in a matter of seconds?”
    Admittedly when I gave her the cup back with the right amount of milk she looked at me like I was slightly crazy, but I bet she enjoyed her cup of tea rather (than thinking, with every sip, “I wish there was a bit more milk in this”).

    I think if you accept a whole series of little things during the day that aren’t quite right, you could end the day with an a lower sense of achievement, and you can’t quite figure out why.
    So under those circumstances, even just achieving one or two small “victories (i.e. when you don’t settle for second best and get exactly what you want), will leave your day feeling more triumphant.

    Reply
  6. Colin

    Thanks for your recent messages, Paul. It must be a tough time for you and I appreciate the courage it must take to share that publicly.

    I like your warning about “sleepwalking through life” and settling for “okay” is not something I want for my life – I have always pushed for excellence. However, I also believe that it is possible to go too far in that direction and risk a lack of appreciation and gratitude for everything you already have and what you have achieved so far.

    Pursuing “stuff” on the outside, whether that be goals, wealth, toys or experiences is great. There is an equally amazing journey to be had on the inside that can create spectacular for you right where you are and in exactly what you are doing today.

    You mentioned this towards the end of your video. Whatever you are doing, wherever you are … that can be memorable and extraordinary if you milk every bit of life out of it and give it 100% of your attention.

    Reply
  7. Mahmoud

    Hi Paul,

    I agree with you 100%
    I wake up today morning, just today and experienced what you explained.up here.

    The weather was amazing this morning, and the sun coming through my window, it’s amazing spring day, I really wanted to enjoy it by having a short walk or setting on the coffee shop and enjoy the fresh air listening to the birds and enjoy the sun on my face, but you know, i don’t have choice, i have to hurry up having my shower and getting dressed while keeping my eye on the wall clock, getting out rushing to my car, getting stuck in the traffic same as everyday to arrive to the office on time to avoid having a speech from the manager about …..!!!!!!!! you all know what I’m talking about.
    i don’t know how I got here? what is going on in my live? this is not the life i wanted or planned to, I really have to do something, i will not wait till I’m getting stuck more and more, i choose to review my options now and take an action whatever is the action even a very tiny stop toward my freedom, i want to get my freedom back.
    freeeeeeedooom

    Reply
  8. Richard

    Thank you, Paul.
    I enjoyed your recent email. It truly made me think about some of the ideas I have buzzing around in my head. It’s funny because I convince myself that some ideas are achievable and others are unrealistic fantasies. The truth is, no matter what I tell myself, not one of my ideas will ever come to fruition if I don’t act on them and MAKE them happen. This simple fact contradicts my own thoughts because if I have to MAKE the achievable happen, then why not also MAKE the unrealistic happen too. We’ve all heard stories of success being born out of failures so I shouldn’t be afraid of the unrealistic ideas I have. Besides, anyone can make achievable ideas work, it’s really the unrealistic ideas that count. Plus, all ideas are unrealistic if you never do anything about them.
    I’ve just decided I don’t like that word, ‘unrealistic’ It’s such a negative, suppressing word that will only ever serve to limit someone and prevent them from taking control of their own life.

    Anyway, as you can see, I have given this a lot of thought and I feel energized and motivated to take control of my life. I guess your simple email was my emotional cataclysm.

    Thank you for your wisdom.

    Reply
  9. Glenn

    Paul,

    Your personal reflections will, with certainty, change lives beyond your own. To say this of you is to say nothing new. You have always shared a perspective rife with high-leverage, actionable wisdom.

    You remain a treasure, kind sir. Thank you for sharing the innate wisdom of this reminder.

    If we fail to assess the highest meaning(s) and values to which we would happily aspire to devote ourselves, we lack the basis by which to monitor and evaluate the use of our time relative to the quality and nature of progress that is inherently most fulfilling to us,

    A life deemed ‘okay’ carries an inference of a life for which one has settled. This idea of ‘okay’ very often derives from the ‘status quo’ of one’s peer group. This stands in stark contrast to a proactive choice to live an exceptional life set ablaze through a spark of inspiration. We can afford ourselves such a life by crafting and implementing designs of our intentions as opposed to passively adopting the preferences of others – especially those of our peers, unless of course they are who we aspire to be.

    We become, consciously or otherwise, either the sculptors of our lives, or the raw clay into which others fashion the nature and character of our existence. Only when aware of this are we empowered to choose between them.

    Thanks for the ‘nudge,’ Paul.

    Reply
  10. Mark Eric Bailey

    Okay has never been acceptable in my life. I was raised to expect to be exceptional, to do my best and to live a spectacular life. When my wife suddenly passed away last year (tomorrow a year ago) the world stopped, my life stopped, my daughter’s life stopped. In just the past few weeks, i have started to understand her death and started to feel a bit better again. Each day that passes, I am a bit happier and more alive. My daughter and I both want spectacular. Okay is not enough.

    Reply
  11. marla

    extraordinary, yes. where is the fresh print in the snow to start the path?

    Reply
  12. CJ

    Great post, Paul. I haven’t been a fan of Okay since 1988 when I came to the US and discovered a whole new world of opportunities. I dont have any regrets but I do wish I’d applied myself more and pursued my dreams more aggressively.

    Reply
  13. Wayne

    Paul,

    First, I’m very sorry for the personal pain you have experienced.
    Second, thanks for sharing both your knowledge and your wisdom. There are days when I feel “stuck” in okay. I know it’s not, … but I struggle with how to get past it. You are right; okay lulls you. I want to be better than that.
    Best wishes, and thanks for your inspiration.

    Reply
  14. Rae French

    I agree. And this is EXACTLY where I am right now. Okay is not good enough.

    I have a sign on my office door that says “Stay Relevant.” At 62, I am beginning to feel worn out and finding it harder and harder to keep up with the growing numbers of “younger” people all around me. I am at a
    precipice and need to make a change. I need to stay relevant.

    Reply
    • Richard

      @Rae French
      I think the word ‘Relevance’ in the context of a human beings value and worth is an awful buzzword that people use today. It’s such an insulting, dismissive and shallow thing to consider. It’s literally just a different way of saying to someone, ‘You are important’ or ‘You are unimportant’. Most people would be extremely offended if they were told they are ‘unimportant’
      Each and every one of us have value and worth and just because someones value and worth doesn’t align with someone else’s, it doesn’t mean they are any less of a human being. Judging someones relevance is such a vain and greedy, almost narcissistic perspective. It’s no surprise that this term has become a widespread buzz word today. It’s so frustrating. I really don’t like this term at all.
      Rae, I think it’s so sad that your worried about becoming irrelevant at work. I’m betting if you looked over your CV, the last word that should come to mind is ‘irrelevant’ As I said, it’s such a dismissive and unfair way to judge someone.

      Reply
  15. Josh

    Spot on.
    Death is an amazing catalyst for reevaluation since it brings everything that matters right into view to be inspected.
    My experience has been that fear of failure causes so many of us to not even try for spectacular since okay feels safe. I think the realization that everyone has those fears and we’re all going to end up the same way in the end helps us see that the failures along the way don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
    Blessings to you and thanks for sharing your journey to inspire us!

    Reply
  16. J Bushnell

    It’s interesting that often the difference between Okay and extraordinary is only a little extra effort…that one degree between 211 and 212 to boil water…The slight edge that produces significant returns.

    Reply
  17. Jayne Sanders

    I couldn’t agree more. I hit the “just okay” wall after 15 years as a professional speaker in the corporate world. The event that propelled me into stepping off the cliff into change and my new life was my both my parents’ dying close together. Now I wake up excited about my life and work every day! I appreciate your musings and wisdom Paul. If you recall from you hand analysis, your life purpose is “Successful visionary passionate leader and business mentor,” and you are living that now. I hope potential clients read this and understand it means you are a brilliant resource for business-building and success!

    Reply
  18. Troy Steine

    Paul,

    I agree with you 100%

    I want spectacular as well in life !

    Thank you for another eloquent and powerful message.

    Best,
    Troy
    Vancouver, Canada.

    Reply

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