Becoming Extraordinary: If You Want to Change the World Around You, You Must Leave It

05/02/2016 04:35 pm ET Updated May 03, 2017

What makes people exceptional thinkers? Or more broadly, how does one become extraordinary in all aspects of their mind -- a mind that thinks BIG and is devoid of rampant hesitation and fear that constricts our potential? This was the question posed by Mindvalley's founder and CEO, Vishen Lakhiani. 

The book follows Lakhiani on his personal journey from barely affording to pay his bills to starting his ed-tech company that serves many millions today. He features conversations with some of the world's most remarkable visionaries including Richard Branson, Ariana Huffington, and Elon Musk, among with many others.

The underlying message is his exploration is identifying the four key stages in transcending from the existing world as you know it to one where you are extraordinary:

  1. Questioning the world as you know it
  2. Rewriting your models of reality
  3. Recoding yourself and creating a vision for your future
  4. Changing the world and living a life of meaning

In addition to changing your mindset and expanding your consciousness, Lakhiani also believes each of us need to critically analyze what he refers to as our Twelve Areas of Balance, namely your: love life, friendships, adventures, environment, health & fitness, intellectual life, skills, spiritual life, career, creative life, family life, and community life. 

He recommends analyzing these areas thoroughly to take an inventory of how successful we feel in each of those areas so we can constantly assess when we're due for a growth check-in. 

When he led his team to break a monthly revenue record, he also realized his mind was in the wrong place: postponing his happiness until he attained some future goal. 

"Have big goals -- but don't tie your happiness to your goals. You must be happy before you attain them."

For many of us, we have a plethora of aspirations we'd like to accomplish with our lifetimes, but mistakenly exert too much energy focusing on the future. In alignment with his prescription for routine meditation, Lakhiani advises to fully engulf our minds in the present -- being happy while slowly striving towards where we envision ourselves in some time.

The book also explores how we we can go about making ourselves happier. In his research, he's found there are three key areas that contribute to lifelong happiness: special and unique experiences, personal growth, and meaning. As you may have predicted, these components all tie back to the Twelve Areas of Balance as you consider and plan what bliss truly means to you.

To address the happiness dilemma, Lakhiani's favorite exercise is running people through his exercise: the 'Three Most Important Questions'. He has posed these questions to all of his employees, in addition to children in the United States and students in African villages:

  1. What experiences do you want to have in this lifetime?
  2. How do you want to grow?
  3. How do you want to contribute?

In doing this, he contends you're able to more clearly differentiate between your end goals and means goals. End goals "speak to your soul." They bring you gratification by exploring new areas. Means goals, on the other hand, are those imposed by society and do not inherently lead to happiness -- in other words, hitting a certain salary or owning that home with the white picket fence. 

When it comes to identifying how you'll contribute, Lakhiani believes we need to not choose not a career, but rather work that is "mission-driven." What does this mean exactly? It means identifying what you deem is your purpose and allowing that to guide all of your consequent decisions.

From meeting some of the world's most influential visionaries, Lakhiani identified to following commonality:

The most extraordinary people in the world do not have careers. What they have is a calling.

He defines a calling as one's contribution to the human race to leave the planet better for consequent generations. In that process, work dissipates because we are all rather doing things that excite you. 

Lakhiani asked another founder of Singularity University and the X Prize Foundation, Peter Diamandis, the following question: "What makes someone extraordinary?"

The response? 

It's having a heartfelt passion and emotionally driven passion -- something you want to solve on the planet that wakes you up in the morning and keeps you up at night. For other people, it might be something they despite or some injustice in the world they want to solve.

Having seen Lakhiani speak on numerous occasions, this book has it all: losing his job after returning from his honeymoon, leading his team to break $1M in monthly revenue, and even references an interaction between his seven-year-old and Nicki Minaj's song "Anaconda."

If you want to learn more, you can pre-order your copy of The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms here, scheduled for release on May 10th.