Manual An Ordinary Extraordinary Life

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This, de Hooch seems to be telling us, is also the meaning of life, properly understood. Today — in modern versions of epic, aristocratic, or divine art — adverts and movies continually explain to us the appeal of things like sports cars, tropical island holidays, fame, first-class air travel and expansive limestone kitchens. The attractions are often perfectly real. But the cumulative effect is to instill in us the idea that a good life is built around elements that almost no one can afford.


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The conclusion we too easily draw is that our lives are close to worthless. Vermeer, for his part, was insisting that ordinary life is heroic in its own way, because ordinary-sounding things are very far from easy to manage. There is immense skill and true nobility involved in bringing up a child to be reasonably independent and balanced; maintaining a good-enough relationship with a partner over many years despite areas of extreme difficulty; keeping a home in reasonable order; getting an early night; doing a not very exciting or well-paid job responsibly and cheerfully; listening properly to another person and, in general, not succumbing to madness or rage at the paradox and compromises involved in being alive.

Vermeer was not claiming that everything ordinary was invariably impressive. He was merely directing us with grace to the idea that there are a host of things that we too often ignore and that happen to be both ordinary and good.

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With extraordinary talent, Vermeer was convincing us of an idea we should dare to hold on to in the face of immense pressures to imagine that we should be living in more exalted ways: that there is already much to appreciate and venerate in our lives when we learn to see them without prejudice or self-hatred. It might might mean seeing friends less often in order to do the work necessary to succeed. It might mean declining wedding invitations because the trips are too expensive. Maybe it means giving up sleeping in so you can have more time in your days.


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Maybe it means saying no to opportunities at work so you can remain a loving, present father to your children. You will have to sacrifice something that you value less than whatever it is you ultimately want. Make no mistake, this is a high price to pay.

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In fact, many people simply decline the offer of an extraordinary life after they discover how much it would cost. But there are 3 things everyone will need to give up. One of the cornerstones of an extraordinary life is giving up the safety nets, security, and guarantees of a normal life.

Maybe this is a steady paycheck at a job that will never allow you to reach your full potential. But the extraordinary life gives you full control over your life and actions, at the cost of the comfort of having others call the shots.

This is one of the hardest parts to give up, and takes a long time to really sink in for even the most dedicated entrepreneurs, adventurers, and risk-takers. Which brings us to the next requirement of an extraordinary life: letting go of your fear of judgement. Trying to explain your extraordinary life to others will begin to seem like a lost cause. The extraordinary life looks crazy to an outsider. So they judge you. They criticize you, condemn you, and ostracize you by singling you out as stupid, naive, and silly. You will never succeed if you continue to take more stock in what your critics say than what you belief about yourself.

This is another extremely difficult thing to give up. Separating ourselves from the herd is scary, and the criticisms and warnings from others might even sound wise. Let it go. This is your life, not theirs. In the words of Srinivas Rao :.

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This is one of the most difficult things to give up because it is so deeply embedded in our cultural narratives that it becomes the standard by which we measure our lives. About This Item We aim to show you accurate product information. Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it.

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