I just finished reading a great book by Anthony Moore, a personal growth and self-improvement author on Medium, entitled, What Extraordinary People Know: How to Cut the Busy B.S. and Live Your Kick-Ass Life.
I personally think Anthony knocks it out of the park in his straightforward and no-nonsense presentation about what is necessary to live the life you truly desire.
He does this by brilliantly breaking down the process of how to discover the life you’ve always imagined into three parts–where you are now, how to break free of your current circumstances, and then concludes with how to continue to live differently going forward, or in his words, to “live a kick-ass life.”
He especially focuses upon what he calls breaking free of “The Mediocrity Trap.” This is when we are willing to live bearable lives. Lives that have a few highs and a few lows, but are relatively safe, comfortable and familiar. Lives that are “good enough.”
Anthony’s book really resonated with me because the lessons he presents in his book have a direct correlation and application to the spiritual life, particularly in our striving for holiness.
Because how many of us have accepted “good enough” for our spiritual life?
“GOOD ENOUGH” IN OUR SPIRITUAL LIVES
Wondering how does “good enough” shows up in our spiritual life? Ask yourself…
Are you satisfied with a prayer life that might have a few highs and a few lows, but is relatively safe, comfortable and familiar rather than experiencing the deep and profound intimacy, peace and joy that comes from the knowledge of being loved and cherished beyond measure in the midst of all the good, the bad and the ugly that is a part of life?
Are you satisfied with going to Mass and leaving feeling simply “a little better” rather than “on fire” and empowered with the grace of the Holy Spirit to share the love and mercy of Jesus Christ with everyone we meet in both our words and actions?
Are you willing to continue to live a life that is relatively safe, comfortable and familiar–even when you KNOW deep down that you should be growing, changing and becoming a more holy and loving person who is a living and breathing sign and witness of God’s amazingly redemptive love?
Are you “too busy” with all the mundane and trivial details of life to be able to embrace and SAY YES to the glorious invitation to live a life of purpose, peace and abundance freely offered to you by our Lord and Savior?
Now if you answered yes to any of the questions (as I did), then you are probably suffering from some spiritual mediocrity.
But the good news is that this doesn’t have to continue. Just like Anthony points out in his book, we can “break free” in our spiritual lives from the “mediocrity trap.”
CHOOSING TO DO WHAT OTHERS WILL NOT
The biggest choice we have in the spiritual life is whether to SAY YES to God’s invitation to trying to become “perfect like our Heavenly Father is perfect.”
This consists of SAYING YES to following Him as a disciple, but it’s more than that.
It’s also about making the choice to “go for the gold” and aspire to holiness. It’s about SAYING YES to what others aren’t willing to strive for.
It’s about choosing to accept God’s invitation to become like Him and become a saint.
It’s about choosing to SAY YES to that aspiration to pursue holiness.
And it’s also about choosing to SAY YES to all the work that accompanies that choice.
So how do we do the work?
CHANGE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not about the making goals (like choosing to become a saint) that helps you achieve extraordinary results. Rather, it’s about changing your environment a little bit at a time, and this is done not through setting goals, but by creating systems.
Design a system that helps you become a little better each day.
This can apply to any area of our life, but in regards to your spiritual habits…
If you want to wake up earlier to spend a half an hour in prayer, but you always sleep through your alarm because you hit the snooze button, then set your alarm and place it across the room so you have to get up and out of bed to turn it off.
Or if you want to remember that God loves you, or to grow in your trust of God more, then post sticky notes all around the house that say, “God loves me with a everlasting love,” or “Jesus, I trust in You.”
Or if you want to get to Mass more than once a week, adjust the route you take as you go to work so you will end up going by a local church that has a morning Mass so you can just “stop in” on the way to work.
The important thing is to build systems that will help create an environment in which you will find success.
ENVISION YOUR FUTURE
What you believe about yourself is what you become. If you want to be more patient, practice patience. If you want to be more generous, give till it hurts. If you want to be more understanding, practice listening.
In other words, grow in virtue a little bit every day.
Through a daily resolution.
What is a daily resolution? It’s making a commitment to do one, small, concrete thing during the day.
So if you make a resolution to be more generous on a particular day, then BE more generous that day by doing one, small, concrete and do-able action during the day.
Something like taking the time to have a conversation with a neighbor who needs someone to talk to.
Or it could be responding to the person on the side of the road who needs help changing a tire.
Or it could be something as simple as smiling when you don’t feel like smiling.
But the compounding result of doing even just one, small, concrete and do-able action each day is that you slowly become more generous, or patient, or loving.
Anthony shares this quote in his book that is from Darren Hardy, author of The Compound Effect,
“Small, seemingly insignificant steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference”
In other words, by practicing the habit of a daily resolution, we become holier because we are becoming more “perfect like our Heavenly Father is perfect.”
“The most important part of staying out of mediocrity and continuing to excel is to be consistent – – even when it feels like you’re getting nowhere.”–Anthony Moore
Just like it is important to SAY YES to becoming a saint, it is just as important to remain committed to your commitment.
Our world will do all in its power to distract, overwhelm, or frighten you into abandoning the pursuit of the very thing that will bring you purpose, peace and abundance in your life, so SAY YES and don’t let anything or anyone stop you.
You were BORN to be a saint!
TOLERATE NOTHING LESS THAN YOUR BEST
The final component to breaking free of the “mediocrity trap” is to tolerate nothing less than your best.
Does that mean we have to be as perfect as possible every moment of every day?
We all slip up. We all make mistakes. We all get tired and don’t want to do what might still be the “harder thing.”
But we do need to get back up and try again.
We need to keep trying to do our best, the best that we can each day.
So we can keep making progress towards perfection.
Because in the end, it’s all God’s grace. Even our desire to become like Jesus is His gift to us.
But we still have to SAY YES.
So, SAY YES, and embrace becoming whom God created you to be and go read about that “kick-ass” life that Anthony Moore talks about in his book.
And then go take what Anthony shares about what extraordinary people know, and SAY YES to becoming the extraordinary saint God created you to be from before time even began.
I can promise that you will not regret it–ever.
Interested in getting your own copy of Anthony’s book? Click here
Christina Semmens is a Roman Catholic author, blogger, speaker and mentor. She currently lives in Fort Payne, Alabama where she strives to live out a life of authentic discipleship in the pursuit of holiness while encouraging, teaching and accompanying others in striving to do the same. You can find out more about Christina and her ministry efforts at www.sayyestoholiness.com. Or sign up up for her weekly Say Yes to Holiness newsletter here.