How to Achieve the Extraordinary

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    225 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?

    Two things for you to think about

    “I was waiting for something extraordinary to happen, but as the years wasted on, nothing ever did unless I caused it.” – Charles Bukowski

    Extraordinary results are a matter of repeating ordinary actions over a long period of time. Start with ordinary.

    Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.

    Three things for you to ask yourself

    What extraordinary thing are you going to make happen for yourself this year? What are the first small steps you can take towards making it happen this week? What are some realistic expectations for progress you can hold, to prevent yourself from getting discouraged and burning out (by February)?

    Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.

    One thing for you to try this week

    Take that initial step towards something extraordinary. Share the goal with me and the list. Next week I’ll compile some of the best/most common answers.

    Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.

    New This Week

    How to Enjoy Doing Hard Things (ft. Ali Abdaal) – Productivity isn’t about staying in the office for 14 hours, sleeping for six, and ignoring your family on weekends. It’s not about the grind, or about the hustle—in fact, it doesn’t have to be associated with work at all.

    Ali Abdaal is a former doctor and current YouTuber with a massive global following. I recently spoke to him about his unique perspective on productivity, which he defines as being “intentional, effective, and enjoyable”—principles that can be applied to all areas of life to optimize for happiness and success. Check it out.

    Last week’s breakthroughs (and a question answered)

    In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to be with someone without wanting to change them, to accept who they are and forgo drama this holiday season.

    Evie has a new approach to being with her mother:

    My mom regularly visits and stays with us for the holidays, and she is a cheerful, generous person—but impossible to talk to. Every year I get upset (well, depressed) because I’ll try to connect with her—for instance, I’ll share something I’ve learned, or something new that I’ve started doing—and she’ll respond in one of two ways. Either she disagrees or disapproves of everything I say, and paves over the conversation with her own ideas; or she seems to agree, and still paves over the conversation with her own ideas. Often it ends with a lengthy religious monologue, and I’m left feeling like I haven’t been heard.

    In any case, this year I showed up a bit wiser and made no attempts to make Mom see things through my eyes or understand why I do the things I do. As much as I want to tell her all about my writing and creative goals for next year, she just isn’t the right person to talk to! I feel happier and stronger knowing that I don’t actually have to set myself up for those little failures.

    I believe a huge step for any young adult is realizing that your parents don’t have to be (and also cannot be) everything you need them to be like they were when you were young. Noticing and accepting their limitations is important to getting to a place of love and respect with them.

    And so is appreciation, which is what Rebecca discovered with her father over the holidays:

    A few years ago I moved to the UK from NZ, and was happy to say goodbye to family Christmases, which were always fraught with tension, my father being extremely domineering and often very poorly behaved, and my beloved but drug-addicted sister not coping.

    We have loved our peaceful friend Christmases over the past three years however this year is different. I have caught long covid and it has been pretty dire. Now I can barely walk around my house.

    My ‘difficult’ dad has flown over from the other side of the world to help take care of me and give me a chance at recovery. He’s toiling away in the kitchen to make Christmas dinner for my partner and I as I write this. Sure, he’s difficult, often demanding and freaks out at the mention of some subjects, but I can change his mind on these things about as much as he can change mine.

    I am 30 and he’s nearly 70 and I’ve realized we are meant to disagree. It’s a work in progress but I am grateful for all the good things he is—kind, generous, helpful, great taste in music, my dad. I love him dearly and I am grateful he is with me this Christmas.

    To end, a great question from Vivian:

    How do we differentiate family members that will bring us harm (dysfunctional, emotional and verbal abuse, etc.) from those family members with whom we simply have everyday annoyances we can learn to let go of?

    The Tolerance Test: try accepting a flaw in a relationship. If that acceptance makes the relationship better and each of you feel closer, then recognize that flaw is simply part of the package of having this person in your life and set expectations accordingly.

    But if the acceptance doesn’t improve the relationship and makes you feel worse, then the flaw should not be tolerated. Either the one or both people change or you limit your exposure to each other.

    As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.

    Until next week,

    Mark Manson

    #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
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