8 Rare Things The Most Extraordinary People Do — That Normal People Don't

The shift from ordinary to extraordinary is made up of a lot of little shifts.

Last updated on Jun 16, 2024

happy smiling extraordinary woman Saifon Chairat via Canva; Ground Picture / Shutterstock

Being normal can be a person's greatest fear. They may think that they have been given this one life and been given a ton of opportunities, so it's only fair they try their best to make their life great.

But the shift from ordinary to extraordinary is not just one big shift — it’s made up of a lot of little shifts. And for you, that may involve spending your time and energy attempting to understand these subtle shifts that are quite rare in an exemplary person.

Here are 8 rare things the most extraordinary people do — that normal people don't

1. They sacrifice good things for something better

happy woman thinking about her good choice Matthias Cooper / Pexels

There are a lot of good things in life. But all things have a cost. If you spend all you have on every good thing that comes your way, you won’t have the freedom to spend what you have on great, extraordinary things.

For instance, if you buy everything you feel like buying, you won’t have the financial freedom to buy things that will really elevate your life. If you eat every single thing that tastes good, you won’t have the caloric freedom to eat food that you truly love.

Simply put, extraordinary people sacrifice good so they have the financial, temporal, and caloric freedom for the great. So, say yes only to stuff that induces a "Heck yes!" from within. To all other things, say no.

RELATED: 6 Subtle Behaviors That Make People Dislike You Almost Instantly


2. They stay active on days where most people opt-out

man staying active Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

Amelia Boone is an ultra-runner who says that she loves doing her training runs when it’s very cold or when it’s raining because the competition is probably opting out. And that’s such a great mindset shift.

When an obstacle arises, the first response is to opt-out. And it even seems reasonable to us. But that’s what everyone is doing.

If you can train yourself to love doing stuff when the people around you are opting out, you can separate yourself from the average and really stand out as extraordinary.


3. They are asymmetrically strict toward themselves

man being strict on himself Anh Nguyen / Pexels

Here’s what most people are like — they’re asymmetrically strict, but with others. Meaning, they expect others to not make any kind of mistakes, but they’re pretty lenient or tolerant of their own flaws and mistakes.

Be the opposite. As Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius said, "Be strict with yourself, and tolerant of others."

Be the most punctual person you know, but forgive people for being unpunctual. Be the most reliable person you know, but expect others to be unreliable.

This is not to say that you shouldn't care about what kind of people you surround yourself with, but instead of expecting others to be perfect, expect them to be flawed. And instead of being tolerant of yourself, be strict.

RELATED: 15 Undeniable Signs That You're A Truly Good Person


4. They embrace constraints instead of using them as excuses

woman in yelling sitting on couch Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

Let's say you are so busy with work that you find you have no time to go to the gym or even relax for a moment to watch your favorite television show. You may complain that you lack the time to do what you love.

But when you stop seeing your constraints as valid excuses and embrace them to reinvent yourself, everything changes.

For instance, maybe you don't want to quit going to the gym because of the amount of work you have to do. You ask yourself how you can do it all, and then the answers pour in. You can do it all. But this only happens when you stop seeing your restraints as excuses and embrace them instead.

At first glance, obstacles might seem uncomfortable, but truly, they’re blessings in disguise. Do you have the courage to see them that way? If so, consider yourself extraordinary and far from the normal person.

5. They celebrate their errors in judgment

man rethinking choices dmaniaxys bdj / Pexels

When a normal person is wrong about something, they argue with themselves and others to deny their error in judgment and, at all costs, avoid accepting that they were wrong. Be the opposite.

When you’re wrong, be happy about it. Because next time, you can be right. The person who denies they were wrong will be wrong the next time as well.

As author Ayodeji Awosika says, "Most people want to be right. Smart people want to get it right."

Become happy when you realize that you're wrong, because then you will understand how to be right the next time. Let the opportunity for growth excite you. Learn to celebrate the words "I’m wrong" and they’ll help you grow.

RELATED: 10 Uncomfortable Signs You're Finally Becoming The Person You're Meant To Be


6. They understand that suffering is beneficial

woman thinking about her shortcomings Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

The whole idea of suffering is upside down. Most people are trying to resist suffering, which is, of course, a futile exercise.

As the Buddha famously said, "Life is suffering." What we can instead learn to do is choose our suffering. So, maybe you choose to suffer at the gym instead of suffering in the mirror. Or, maybe you suffer at your desk while studying rather than on a test.

We’re all told to chase happiness, so we think it’s our duty to resist suffering. But what we need to chase instead is peace. And you cannot attain peace without going to war with yourself, without making yourself suffer.

Because when you make yourself suffer, by challenging yourself or doing stuff you fear, you find that you can take on suffering. You become good at suffering. And that delivers peace.

7. They don't mimic others' bad energy

positive woman playing with leaves Melvin Vito / Pexels

Most people are like thermometers. If the energy around them is negative, they become negative. If the people around are restless, they become restless too.

What you want to be is a thermostat, not a thermometer. Meaning, you stick to your desired energy of positivity, calmness and grit, no matter how negative, restless, or lazy the people around you are.

Simply put, don’t mimic people’s bad energy. Instead, stick to your good energy and help spread that good energy around.


8. They use limitations to their advantage

woman in the tall trees Becca Correia / Pexels

Ibrahim Hamadtou is a Paralympic table tennis player, despite losing both his hands in a childhood accident. (He holds the racket in his mouth).

At first glance, you would think that losing both hands is a great disadvantage. But Hamadtou is famous not because he's a table tennis player, but because he's a table tennis player with no hands.

Hamadtou's story is a great example of antifragility, a concept by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Fragile things break down in chaos, but antifragile things gain from chaos.

Hamadtou lost both his hands in the accident, but he gained much more than he lost because he chose to be antifragile. What’s your limitation? And how can you be antifragile and make that limitation an advantage?

You’ve got one life. And since you’re privileged enough to learn anything you want for free. You’ve been blessed with a life that has incredible opportunities. Be grateful for that and make the shift to extraordinary starting now.

RELATED: 5 Ways Truly Intelligent People Protect Their Brainpower

Akshad Singi, M.D. is a writer whose work has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, Medium, and more.