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Success leaves clues. Interviews and dialogues around the clues left by successful people overcoming life's challenges. Breakthrough self imposed limits. Thom Shea is a retired Navy SEAL and the best selling author of "Unbreakable: A Navy SEAL's Way of Life" and combat veteran. Thom shares interviews with extra-ordinary men and women who have pushed through their self-imposed limits. The clues lead to a measurable life.
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May 20, 2019

Over the past 30 years I have seen people do some extra-ordinary things. And I am not drawn to ordinary and average because average seems to drain the life and happiness and future out of people I see striving for it. So as a young man growing up I sought out the extra, the hard road, and the “that cannot be done” achievers. And that remains the biggest attraction to this day. I highly recommend pushing yourself and your team and even your children to next levels, for this one reason: Because when anyone pushes life beyond the comfortable average a whole new possibility arises.

 

For the sake of clarity let’s break down extra ordinary into five areas of life. The first area is capacity to learn, the second is physical ability, the third is being compensated for delivering value or wealth building, the forth in the ability to join up with someone else and form a team or relationships, and the final one is the capacity to connect the dots or spiritual capacity. Those five distinctions that must never be average and truly can be pushed beyond to extra ordinary.

 

Learning, wow, let’s just say this plainly. Normal learning is a battle. The battle in normal learning comes simply from skipping the first step in learning and going directly to studying something in the abstract. The first step for god’s sake is fire. The fire or burning desire to figure out something that you want to figure out has been entirely overlooked in modern education. Learning reading in the abstract is really the most inefficient way. Wanting to be able to plow the field like dad or wanting to be able to do something then realizing you can have to read words and write words in order to achieve your dream is the first step. Some one with fire will learn a skill rather quickly because learning than isn’t abstract.

Being hungry and realizing you need to learn to cook and clean up after yourself will immediately lead to learning. Not being hungry and someone telling you to cook makes little since. Stoking the fire and making people hungry for what they want is the primary key to not being average. Average people lack fire.

 

Normal in the category of physical ability is being fat and out of shape and having no real direction, and that is the statistical truth. In the land of plenty and the land of dial a meal and watch professional athletes at sporting events, personal physical ability as in the individual being capable physically is not possible it seems any longer. I find that to be tragic. The normal person in the United States cannot do fifty pushups on any given day. The normal person also cannot run for an hour or swim for an hour, or bike for an hour. The normal person has little to no idea of what any particular food is for or what any particular drink if for, or rather what the impact is on their bodies regarding what they consume. The first step to be extra ordinary is to get to a base line in physical ability first and then secondly maintain that base line for the rest of your life. Here is a suggested extra ordinary base line to own your body:

  1. 8 glasses a water a day
  2. 5 balanced meals, nothing processed, and hand made meals
  3. stretch every muscle and joint for at least 20 minutes a day
  4. run or swim or hike or bike or any endeavor where you use all your muscles for one hour a day
  5. do 20 push-ups, 20 sit-ups, 20 squats, 2 pull-ups, and bear crawl and grab walk for at least 20 yards a day

 

Now that may not seem extra ordinary but the honest truth is less than 10 percent of the population in the US can do this ever day.

 

Wealth. Alright, let’s talk for a moment. I define wealth as the ability to be compensated for delivering value. You want to build wealth than deliver something of value and be compensated for that. What is normal here. Normal is chasing money for the sake of money and not delivering value, or a better way to say that is expecting to be paid for time and activity instead of measurably affecting an outcome and getting a percent of what you brought to the table. It is really normal to the point of disturbing that people expect to be paid for time and activity even if that activity is doesn’t impact the game or business. Just remember this salaries are a cost to a business, sales people or people who bring in business or move the needle are not a cost they are revenue generators. The real key to building wealth is hunting and bringing home meat. That is extra ordinary and very rare.

 

Relationships and Team work are also very rare indeed. It is normal to operate in a silo. It is normal do just go do work by yourself. It is very, very hard to be on a team or in a relationship, like a marriage. The old adage really applies here, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far and do more, form a team.” So why is it normal to go alone, why is it normal now to get divorced, why is it normal to not be on a high performing team. Well, because it is damn right hard. You have to give up your point of view for the team to operate together. You have to deal with the ups and downs of drama by not adding your own drama. You have to forgive. You have to ensure others succeed before you do. If you do that you go really, freaking far in athletics, in business and in marriage. If you don’t you get stunted and end up just doing the same things that make you comfortable and content.

 

Now real greatness is in spiritual connections, or what I call connecting the dots and making one area of life impact and effect many other areas to include other people. Connecting the dots is not just rare but may be not attainable for most people. Connecting the dots means you first have the capacity to learn, have the ability to grow your body every day, have the ability to deliver measurable outcomes and get paid for it, and have the capability to work on a team with other knuckle heads. As hard as that sounds connecting the dots means you have to empathize and have to have the balls to risk everything. Spiritual master is so difficult even as a spectator that no one even tries to acquire the skill. If you do than what you thought possible before seems mundane.

 

The extra ordinary moves me. Take Matt Boling in Texas, the 18 year old runner who just crushed the sprinting world like the times that came before him seem small. Watching him run is incredible, because I know what is behind it. You can learn from a coach, he knows his body, he delivers measurable results, and he functions really freaking well on a team. That is extra ordinary.

 

What is your extra ordinary?