“I think it’s possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.”Elon Musk
That was a quote from the billionaire Elon Musk. What makes him and other billionaires out there stand out from the crowd?
Is it money? Is it fame? Is it luck? Elon Musk is not born a multibillionaire. The same is true for Steve Jobs and John D. Rockefeller. There is a method, a code which anyone can follow to become extraordinary like them.
That is what you will learn from this book. Everything starts in your mind. Before anything else, you need to change the way you think. As the Apple Inc. slogan goes, “Think Differently”.
In this summary, we will learn to change your frame of mind. If we act and think like everybody else, we can never be extraordinary. We will also learn to be strong against criticisms and also, how to achieve true happiness.
Transcend the Culturescape
Steve Jobs once said,
“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people no smarter than you.”Steve Jobs
Our life is governed by rules. Since childhood, we are told what we should do. You should study in this school. You should finish college. You should have a high-paying job. You should marry.
We are being dictated by society even in what we should feel and what we should look like. What is the reason behind this? Humanity has created this set of rules. We are like fish swimming in a sea of rules, ideas, beliefs and practices of people before us.
We are expected by society to accept and follow these rules. But the point is, these rules are already out dated. They limit us. They cripple us. They hold us back. To become extraordinary, you must live out of these rules.
Let’s take a look at the author’s own story. VishenLakhiani worked for Microsoft. He even met Bill Gates in a welcome party for new hires. Vishen studied hard to achieve this. He took up computer engineering in the University of Michigan.
Vishen should be happy. After all, he has a stable job in a great company. He graduated in a top university. People see him as a success. But Vishen is not happy at all. In only a few weeks, he quit his job at Microsoft.
What Vishen really wanted is to be a stage actor or a photographer.
But society does not see these as successful professions. People often say that
there is no money in acting or photography. People say that he should get a
nine-to-five job. And so, VishenLakshianigave up his dreams.
Question the Rules
The rules that we have are just created by people before us. If we think of it, the rules are just merely opinions. We only follow them because they have been there since we were born.
When we make decisions, we think that we are being rational. We think that the decision came solely from our mind. But, whether we like it or not, we are constantly being influenced by our friends, our family and our culture.
There is nothing wrong with following tradition. But the world is evolving so fast. The rules, ideas and beliefs that we have must evolve as well. If you just accept what everybody believes in, you are not being rational. If you just accept without thinking, you cannot be extraordinary.
So you must question the rules. You have a mind of your own. Decide for yourself if the rules are right or wrong. Do not blindly follow them.
Once, there was a 9-year-old Hindu boy who wanted to eat a McDonald’s burger. He was influenced by the many advertisements he saw. A McDonald’s branch is opening near his home. But the boy had a problem. He was not supposed to eat beef.
Because of the ads, the boy thought that a McDonald’s burger is the best meal he could ever have in his life. But still, something is holding him back. So the boy went to his mother to ask, “Why can’t I eat beef?”
His mother gently replied that it is part of their religion and culture. Still the boy is curious. Other people eat beef he said. “Why can’t Hindus eat it, too?” So his mother set him to a quest. “Why don’t you go find out?” she told him.
The 9-year-old boy read through the Encyclopaedia. He found out that to the ancient Hindus, cows are very useful. Cows help the Hindus in farming. They also give milk. There are other animals there that the Hindus could easily consume.
In the end, the boy’s mother allowed him to taste the beef burger. The boy thought that the McDonald’s burger was overrated. It’s certainly not the best meal he could have. But still, he was able to learn something.
Rewrite your Models of Reality
Have you experienced being bullied as a child? When you were young, you did not have defences yet. You did not have the choice but to believe what your family does. You did not have the choice but to believe what your friends does.
The thoughts, the beliefs, the ideas that you got from your environment became your reality. What your parents told you became your truths. You believed what people around you believed in.
You may not know it but you carry these beliefs as you grow older. They are always there. If you are bullied, you have that idea in your mind that you have to prove yourself. It might have been your inspiration to study hard, finish school and have a great career.
But this is not true. You are enough. You don’t need to prove yourself. You have what it takes to become extraordinary. You just need to change your model of reality.
The author Vishen Lakshiani was raised in Malaysia. He was bullied as a kid because he was a minority. He looked different than his classmates. They were of Chinese origin while Vishen is of Northern India. The other kids often teased him.
When he was in his teens, Vishen studied in an expat school. He felt normal being around other expats. But Vishen had another problem. As he was a teenager, he developed severe acne. Vishen was often called “Pimple Face”.
His self-esteem became so low. Vishen would always hide under his thick eyeglasses. Childhood became tough for him. He did not have any self-confidence.
At the University of Michigan, Vishenwas the typical geek. He always needed to patch up his broken glasses with tape. He rarely went out with friends.
Vishen was already 22 years old buthe still did not have a girlfriend. He did not have the guts to ask any girl out. But one day, something changed.
There was a school dance. Vishen had drunk too much beer. Maybe, that was the reason why he found himself dancing with a beautiful girl.
The girl’s name was Mary. Vishen had been crushing on her for years. He thought Mary is the most beautiful girl in school. But of course, she was out of his league. Vishen would never get a chance with her.
Maybe, it was alcohol. But while he was dancing with Mary, Vishenleaned close and finally kissed her. But he quickly pulled back. He apologized to Mary.
Vishen thought that Mary was offended. But instead, she said, “Are you kidding? You’re f**cking hot.” And then, she kissed him again. That night became the best night of Vishen’s college life.
The next morning, Vishen woke up with a different view. If Mary thinks he’s attractive, maybe other girls think the same way. Nothing changed in his appearance. But Vishen had a new model of reality.
There is nothing wrong with you. The limits that people tell you are lies. You have the abilities, the talents and the knowledge.