“To be or not to be.
That is the question!”

-Hamlet (Act III)

Thus said Prince Hamlet in the “Nunnery Scene” as he contemplated his life, and struggled with avenging his father’s murder at the hands of his uncle, Claudius. Hopefully your days aren’t filled with decisions of this nature, but consider this, our lives are a series of choice-based decisions.  We make choices about everything starting with our morning routines, our priorities through the day, and how we choose to end our evenings.  Those choices, drive our decisions and actions and lead us to where we are now.  What drives those choices and decisions varies from person to person.  For some it is logic, for others it could be emotions.  It could be situational or it could even be by default.  Regardless, our choices rest with us. 

Adam Sicinski provides an interesting perspective of this idea.  He is founder of IQ Matrix, a life coach, mind mapper, doodler and visual thinker.  He uses mind maps to help people understand complicated ideas.  In a recent post he considers a Hamlet-like question, The Law of Opposites:  To be Average or Not to Be?  What Will You Choose to Be? Sicinski begins with an explanation, “The Law of Opposites states that the path to success requires going against the norm; doing what might be unpopular, unreasonable or unorthodox.  Moreover it requires being the exception to the rule.  The Law suggests that the only way you will ever achieve the success you desire in your life is to walk a different path than the masses.”  Essentially he is saying, Zig when others Zag!” 

Sicinski believes that our desire to be extraordinary can begin with sixteen (16) choices we make on a daily basis.  His recommendation?  Do the opposite!

1.  Most people take the path of least resistance. Do the opposite:  Commit to taking consistent daily actions that will change your life for the better.  Challenge yourself to go the extra mile.

2.  Most people choose to press the snooze button or get those extra few moments of sleep. Do the opposite:  Get up immediately and jump into your morning routine with enthusiasm.

3.  Most people dislike their job. They go to work to make a living. Do the opposite:  Find reasons to love your work or change your career path and focus on something that you are passionate about.

4.  Most people have very little focus.  They have no purpose, sense or urgency or passionate goals that drive them. Do the opposite:  Commit yourself to staying focused on your main goals and objectives and challenge yourself to live with more urgency.

5.  Most people do not value their time.  They choose to spend it pursuing activities that have little long-term gain (surfing the web, watching TV, gossiping). Do the opposite:  Choose to prioritize your time around important goals and relationships.  Then stay focused and productive as you work on them.

6.  Most people live day to day.  They have little regard or thought about the future.  The live trying to make the most of every moment (Live for the day), and fail to consider the future impact of decisions and choices that work for the moment. Do the opposite:  Develop a plan of action for your relationships, career, and life success, and commit to being a life-long learner.

7.  Most people leave things for the last minute.  The average person tries to avoid things which are difficult or distasteful for as long as possible. Do the opposite:  Choose to take massive action to get things done now.  Tackle your problems early before they get out of hand.

8. Most people shy away from responsibility.  It is perceived as a burden that requires work and commitment to fulfilling a task. Do the opposite:  Embrace the challenge of uncertainty and commit to yourself to taking responsibility for everything that matters in your life.

9.  Most people focus on what is not working.  Instead of focusing on a solution they focus on the negatives of the situation. Do the opposite::  Challenge yourself to stay positive, calm and mindful when problems arise.

10.  Most people complain.  When thing aren’t working or going their way, most will attempt to make themselves feel better by complaining. Do the opposite: Take responsibility for the predicament and work toward a solution.  Also the time to learn from the experience.

11.  Most people make excuses instead of progress.  Taking responsibility and making an effort to improve the situation is a path rarely taken. Do the opposite:  Stop making excuses and start thinking in a solution-oriented way to work through the problem.

12.  Most quit when the going gets tough.  Fear, uncertainty and adversity gets the best of them. Do the opposite:  Challenge yourself to persist and persevere, never give up and overcome setbacks and obstacles that stand in your way.

13.  Most people have standards and expectations that are too low and fail to motivate them to move forward.  They set the bar too low. Do the opposite: Take control of your expectations, raise the bar and discipline yourself to go for the extraordinary.

14. Most people struggle financially.  They spend more than they earn.Do the opposite:   Create a budget, learn more about money and how to manage your finances.   

15.  Most people don’t exercise regularly, they dabble in it.  Exercise is hard! Do the opposite:  Self disciple, commitment and consistency is the key to becoming a healthier version of you.

16.  Most people eat on pleasure, not health.  We choose to eat based on the  immediate gratifications of time, taste and convenience.  Do the opposite:  Make dietary choices based on what is healthier and will let you enjoy a longer, healthier life.

The average person will too often make decisions and choices based on how they are feeling, on what is comfortable at the moment rather than what is best in the long run.  By doing the opposite we can begin to make choices based on what is most important in the long-run and enable us to live an extraordinary life.  Embrace the Challenge!