9 Ways to Live an Extraordinary Life

“Your life sounds like so much fun. You’re so lucky that you get to live an extraordinary life.” That is something I’ve gotten pretty used to hearing as I travel full-time and get to be a digital nomad. However, it’s not just luck. Just a few years ago, I never thought that I would be…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: December 28, 2023

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“Your life sounds like so much fun. You’re so lucky that you get to live an extraordinary life.”

Do you want to live an extraordinary life? If so, here are my tips on how to live an extraordinary life and reach your dreams!That is something I’ve gotten pretty used to hearing as I travel full-time and get to be a digital nomad.

However, it’s not just luck.

Just a few years ago, I never thought that I would be living this life. I never thought I’d be my own boss or that I’d be traveling full-time. It’s funny how much can change in just a few short years!

For me, this is extraordinary, but everyone has a different version of what living an extraordinary life means.

And, no matter what your definition is, if you want to live an extraordinary life, you can do it!

Perhaps you want to travel, retire early, start your own business, have a homestead, volunteer more, or something else.

Having an extraordinary life can be whatever you want it to be.

All you have to do is aim for it!

Related content:

If you want to live your best life, here’s how you can start. Remember:

We have one precious life: do something extraordinary today, even if it’s tiny. A pebble starts the avalanche. ~K.A. Laity

How to live an extraordinary life:


Stop making excuses.

If you want to live an extraordinary life, then you need to stop making excuses.

These might be excuses for why things may not be going your way, excuses for why you think something isn’t possible, and so on.

Everyone is guilty of making excuses, and I know that people will continue to make them until they realize that excuses are just that- excuses.

Just think about the last time you said “That won’t work for me because (insert your excuse here).”

As a personal finance expert, I hear a lot of reasons for why a person can’t save money, pay off debt, reach retirement, and so on.

But, I also hear people making excuses for why they can’t live an extraordinary life, but this is just a disaster because you’re giving up before you’ve even begun!

There are plenty of legitimate reasons for setbacks, and sometimes the road to your dream life isn’t easy. However, before you say that something isn’t possible, you should stop and think about whether or not you are just making excuses.

Once you understand the excuses you are making, you should begin to take the steps needed in order to live an extraordinary life.


Go for your extraordinary life.

What makes you happy, excited, joyful, and motivated? That’s what you should be doing with your life! Well, as long as it’s legal.

Stop thinking about what other people want you to do and start listening to your heart. Who cares about what others think? If you spend all your time thinking about others, you will be wasting a ton of time!

  • If you want to live a life of adventure – Go for it.
  • If you want to start a family – Start planning one.
  • If you want a better job – Get one.
  • If you want to change the world – Do it.

Find what it is that you want from life and announce that dream to yourself. Making this step towards reaching your extraordinary life will help you stay focused and move that much closer to reaching your dream.


Forget about what people think.

I hear from a lot of people who think they can’t go for their dreams, such as traveling full-time, starting their own business, and more. Often, their biggest fear is that other people will judge them. Most of the time the judgements are just in the person’s head, and if they’re not, who cares what others think anyways?

I used to really care about what other people thought of me. Now that I’ve learned to let go of that, I couldn’t be happier.

Listening to the opinions and negativity of others can drag you down, control you, and affect your ability to reach your extraordinary life. Letting go and saying “Who cares!?” will help you learn to live a great life.

Just remember, everyone is different, all that should matter is what is right for you.


Welcome the unknown.

The path to your extraordinary life will probably have quite a few brand new experiences.

Some people try to avoid or ignore these experiences because they are afraid of change or fear the unknown. However, these unknowns and new experiences are usually the key to your future.

They may help shape your ideals, teach you valuable lessons, and strengthen your self confidence.

Even though these unknowns can bring about positive change, it’s important to prepare for them. This begins by making a realistic plan for what may happen once you start taking steps to reach your goal. Being prepared can take a lot of the stress out of confronting the unknown.

For example, if you are afraid of what might happen when you leave your job to try something else, you should first plan on having a well-funded emergency fund. This way, if it takes you a little longer to find your dream job or dream life, your emergency fund will be there to help ease some of the stress.


Step outside your comfort zone.

When was the last time you did something new? Living an extraordinary life means that you’ll probably have to step outside of your box and do new things.

So many people live inside their comfort zone when they actually need to branch out every now and then.

Yes, stepping outside of your box can be tough, but what if it completely opened your eyes and changed your whole outlook on life?

Wouldn’t that be amazing?

If you want to learn how to live an extraordinary life, this is something you need to do every now and then. You could even set a goal to try something new each day, each week, or each month.


Improve your confidence.

To live your extraordinary life, you will have to be more confident.

A lack of confidence may:

  • Prevent you from believing in yourself.
  • You may be too shy to do what you want or need.
  • Force yourself to do things you hate.
  • Cause you to ruin a meeting, job possibility, and so on.
  • Lead to unhappiness.

On the flip side, confidence can open many doors for you.

It can lead to getting the job you want, making more money, reaching your dreams, meeting new people, networking, traveling the world, and more.

Success isn’t easy. If it were easy, then everyone would be extremely successful, meaning that word wouldn’t even exist.

To take control of your life and live it to the fullest, you need to start believing in yourself and stop making excuses.

Next time you think “That’s not possible for me because of (your excuse),” you should think about how you can make your goal a reality.

You need to admit that you are making excuses, and believe that you can accomplish your goals.

Yes, it may be a little difficult to change your mindset in the beginning, but as time passes, you’ll realize that your excuses were just a waste of time and thought. Because, if you really want something, you can find ways to make it a reality.

Read more at Be More Confident And Get What You Want In Life.


Failure is a part of life.

Okay, that may sound extremely negative, but it’s true. Instead of thinking of failure as an end, you should think of failure as a learning experience.

If you’re taking risks or trying new things, there is a chance that you may fail at the task you are attempting.

But, that’s completely okay!

You won’t know if something will work or not unless you try it, and sometimes failure is just a part of the learning process.

Part of living a great life is failing every now and then. Accept that fate now, and you’ll be better prepared when it happens again.


Don’t let life pass you by.

It can be really easy to let life pass you by. Before you know it, years or even decades may be gone.

Too many people have the mindset of “Oh, in 10 years life will be so much better because of such and such.” And then, they just let their lives go by without ever thinking about the present.

Well, what about now?!

10 years is a long time!

Reaching a goal is great, but you should always make sure you are living life to the fullest (on a realistic budget, of course).


Realize that you’ll have to make sacrifices.

To live an extraordinary life, you may have to make sacrifices. In fact, sacrifices are definitely something you will have to make.

You may have to work long hours, pay off debt, skip an expensive purchase, and more. However, if it’s truly a dream of yours, just keep your eye on the end goal! If your idea of an extraordinary life is worthwhile to you, then the sacrifices will be worthwhile as well.

Do you want to live an extraordinary life? What does an extraordinary life mean to you?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Letting go of what others think and embracing the fact that making sacrifices is inevitable is so key, Michelle. We all want things to be easy and fast. However, it’s doing certain little things on a daily basis and letting go of the petty things that hold us back that allow us to make giant leaps. That’s the “secret” that everybody searches for on Monday mornings when they have to begin another week at a soul-sucking job (myself included). Thanks for the awesome list!

  2. I really like #2 and #3 (Go for your extraordinary life and ignore what other people think). This is huge for me. My husband and I desire to set deep roots in our community and build to financial independence with our family. This means I’m not aiming to retire early and travel abroad, but I’m also not necessarily looking to a 40 year career. It will never look like anyone else’s life and others may not agree with our plan, but that’s ok because it is our plan, not their plan ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Yes, everyone’s plan SHOULD be different ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. LIsa


    I agree with the “making excuses,” and “forget about what people think” parts especially. People worry too much about what everyone else thinks.At the end of the day, you have to be the person that makes you happy.

    And another big one, making excuses. Procrastinating falls right in line with that as well. It’s an easy concept to make excuses.

    1. Yes, making excuses is something that many people do.

  4. Kim | Thinking of Someday

    This is a good list. I think “forgetting about what people think” is a big one. This one can hold people back as well as set people up for failure, especially when it comes to money/finances.

  5. Good morning Michelle,

    See how blessed you are? You never imagined living this type of life because we’re not trained to live like this. We go to school for so many years, encouraged to go to college right after high school and get our degrees, go to work for a big name corporation for 30 to 40 years, and retire on only 30% (if that) or perhaps 25% of our salary for the rest of our lives. I have to agree with you that blogging is a beautiful struggle and worth holding out faithfully while pushing forward with quality content creation.

    I forgot what people and especially my own jealous family members thought about me years ago. If I always sought the approval of people, I’d never get anywhere in life. People are never satisfied. This is why I choose to distance myself from fake friends in the real world and family members who claim they love me but jealous of my business and educational progress to press on and forge forward with my life and entrepreneurial dreams. I’m a firm believer that if you’re not working to make yourself rich and achieving your dreams, you’re making someone else’s dreams come true and making them richer.

    I’m also humble enough to say I’ve failed countless times. Is there such a thing as “failing your way to success?” I feel like I’m falling upward and I just can’t stop falling upward bound no matter what. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Gayle

      I love the quote “I’ve failed over and over again in my life, that is why I succeed” I find that so true! Success happens after many “failures” and even failures are a lesson learned. Thanks for a great post!

  6. Mike Collins

    Awesome stuff!

    I especially like “A pebble starts the avalanche.” Building a business on the side can be difficult when you already have a bunch of other responsibilities. i have to remind myself that if I can make at least a little progress each day I’ll keep getting closer and closer to my goals.

  7. Great list! Totally agree with not caring what other people think of you, stopped doing that a long time ago and it’s so liberating. I also agree with stepping out of your comfort zone, greatness never happened being comfortable ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Cody @ Dollar Habits

    Awesome list, Michelle. I especially like the “stop making excuses and just go for it” sentiment.

  9. Bradley

    Great post! I especially like “So many people live inside their comfort zone when they actually need to branch out every now and then.” You have to do this to grow and it’s needed for change. Well said!

  10. Good job on starting the path ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I still care what people think about me but a lot less than before – I guess it comes with age.

    But I like to care sometimes because the jealousy is fun. You probably know this ecactly Michelle. Have you ever gotten flack for your success? I totally want that flack with success. That’s one driver I use for me to live an extraordinary life – if someone’s not hating you for something, you’re not pushing enough! Hehehe.

  12. Great work Michelle, this is truly inspirational and motivational. I love the point of forgetting what people think. That’s a tough one for a lot of people I know, including myself. But you hit it spot on.
    Keep up the great work! I also think I may enrol in your Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course. Your content is always great!

  13. Cambria โ€ข The Wisely Accountant

    This post really resonates with me. The list basically sums up my greatest hurdles in life. I spend the majority of my time researching, researching, researching. Any time I want to try something new or step out of my comfort zone, I start be doing research. Now, this is probably fine in small doses, but I’m starting to realize I do this as an excuse to actually get out there and take action! I’ve been devouring all sorts of content on starting a blog, making positive changes in my financial situations, and other things, but I haven’t actually done anything! I’ve been using the excuse that I don’t know enough to start anything knew instead of applying the knowledge I do have!
    This post is enlightening and it’s a kick in the rear-end to stop passively living and to start taking action. I’ve been a long-time lurker and this is the first time I am taking that step outside and putting myself out there, and it really is a very freeing experience!
    Thank you so much for the motivation and the inspiration!

    1. Lyn McNamee

      I totally agree with what you’ve said here. I was just thinking the same things. I’m a great procrastinator and too scared of losing the comfortable income I have to grab the life I want. Research and dreaming and planning is great but at some stage you have to take that leap of faith and get started.
      Great post Michelle. Thanks.

    2. Yes! I am the same way, but I am getting better ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Gee Nonterah

    Absolutely great post Michelle ! I have been following your journey for the last 3 years and you are truly an inspiration to people like me. I am part-time with my blog still but will move to blogging full-time in the near future.

    I LOVE LOVE the part about excuses. These days I don’t even talk about my experiences as a blogger to certain people who know me in real life because of all the comments, excuses and subtle negativity.

    I sat in a coffee shop today and talked about my blog and the life it is affording me to a friend today and she was amazed. All I could think was “Yes, blogging DOES allow me to live this incredible life”.

    Thanks for sharing this post.

    1. I also love the part about excuses! It’s a great reminder for me that I need to be constantly aware of what I’m saying to myself–am I holding myself back by making excuses that I don’t even realize are excuses?

  15. Gayle

    Exactly true for me as well! Getting past the expectations of society and friends and family in general is a huge one.

  16. Mao

    I love the positivity and energy Michelle!

    It’s all about taking that plunge. It took me a couple of years out of college to realize that corporate life is no longer for me thus I am transitioning to take that plunge!

    You are definitely an inspiration to look up too.

  17. Shirley

    I agree, worrying about what people think is surely a waste of precious time. They will think what they want anyway so go for what you want and need to succeed.

  18. Christine

    LOVE this, and just emailed you about something very similar, strangely before I even read this post. My favorite part about this post is when you say “Find what it is that you want from life and announce that dream to yourself.” THIS is what I’m trying to do at the moment to be sure I’m pushing myself in the right direction. Too long, just as someone else said, I’ve been working towards what other people think I should be working towards. I’ve had some “a-ha” moments lately and am finally starting to say out loud what MY dreams are for my life. Great post!!!

  19. I struggle with living intentionally, not just with money, but with other areas of my life. If I’m not careful I look up after a few weeks of mindless consumption (money, food, etc.) and I get the feeling life is passing me by.

    I find unplugging from the daily grind and getting close to nature (camping, hiking, just a quick walk in the woods) helps to reset things for me.

    We have to stop and smell the roses from time to time.

  20. Love this article. Life is way to short to not live out each and every day to the fullest.

  21. Pentecost Dickson

    “Failure is a part of life” This post is highly inspiring and motivating

  22. This is such great advice! Sometimes you have to just go for what you want in life. Stop asking for permission or looking for someone else to make it happen for you. I also love what you said about sacrifice. People may look at others and envy what they have, never realizing the personal sacrifice and commitment it took to get there. Love your blog. Keep inspiring!

  23. Sarah

    I think the biggest obstacles most people encounter about living an extraordinary life is the errant belief that’s for other people and the fear of taking the plunge.

    But sometimes you’ve got to bite the bullet and simply start. Get rid of the expectations and focus on today. Making today better and the next and every one which follows.

    That’s how we get there. These daily appointments with ourselves. Honoring our personal promises until we reach our sweetspot.

    Kudos to you for persevering. It’s easier said than done. Happy sails! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Emerald

    Ms. Michelle,

    I enjoy reading your posts so much. Thank you for all of this great information that you share. Reading your material makes me so excited about my life and all the possibilities.
    I am taking the first step in trying to live my extraordinary life. This includes starting my blog and online business thanks to the motivation from you and from Ms. Sarah Titus and her great blog.
    I can’t wait to see what my life will become.
    Thank you again and may life continue to bring many blessings to you.

  25. I always like to remember to not place too much importance on others judgements and opinions because I can’t pay my bills with them! One way I’ve bettered myself is getting into a regular exercise habit. It’s done wonders for my happiness and relieving some of my anxiety.

  26. Agree,, sometimes is necessary to stop and think that pleasing others is hurting you is necessary became a little bit selfish (ibut not posh and nasty) be positive smile and be kindle but never forgettig yourself…find time for yourself…little steps big results on longterms!!!

  27. Rebecca

    These points are so spot on!
    I’m definitely guilty of making excuses – I’m tired, I’ve worked 2 hours of overtime, I’m emotional… you think of the excuse, I’ll have used it! But I definitely need to stop making the excuses and also stop thinking about what people think of me, which I think definitely ties in with my confidence!
    I figure once I start improving my confidence, I will be less inclined to care what people think about myself because I will be self-assured enough not to be concerned with their thoughts… it’s something I’m working on every day but I have determination to get to where I want to be.

  28. You explain this thing very well, there are many people who just look for a perfect answer so that they can have their life in peace. They are in such a mess that if someone just help them to sort things. I was saying this because in the past, I am myself in a situation like this and I don’t get guidance at right time. So, you are doing something different and something that people forget in their busy life.

  29. Michael Murray

    “Forgetting about what other People think.” – Nailed it years ago. It still amazes me how
    bothered they are, when they know, You don’t really care what they think. And by the same
    token, don’t join in with the gossip crowd, in talking about others. You have far better things
    to do with Your time.

    “Don’t be afraid to fail.” – It happens. Take the lesson and move on. even though the talkers
    love to watch You fall down. Get back up, dust Yourself off and smile at them. But by all
    means, keep moving forward.

    One of the greatest things I ever heard, regarding what “Others Think”, is that it really is
    none of Your business, WHAT they think of You. The only option of You that truly matters,
    is the one You have of Yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Oliver @ Appreneurinvestor.com

    Regarding the last tip, you have to ask yourself before you spend: “Do I need it or just want it?” Being debt-free and a wise shopper would lead to an extraordinary life.

  31. I am currently working on the first one. Letting got of excuses. I am guilty of failing before I even start and that is sad. But I guess the first step is recognizing it. Only then can one change.

  32. Liesbeth

    Hi Michelle,

    I am following your blog and I love the way you are writing, with that pitch of humor. I would like some advice from you. I am a Dutch psychologist, 61 now, yes time flies and I want to start my own blog about psychology in daily life, mixed with my own experiences. Shall I write in Dutch or English? And could you give me some examples how to start? I have been writing on LinkedIn and I have 1048 followers now. My goal is to pay off some debts, then start to live in my house on Bozcaada (a tiny island at the west coast of Turkey), writing about this basic life too. I hope you will give me that push. You already opened my eyes with this article. Time has come what I am telling my clients to go for it, like you do.

  33. This is such a helpful list! I love the quote by KA Laity. It’s the little things in life ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for being such an inspiration of what’s possible, Michelle! ๐Ÿ™‚