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The 4 Steps To Exceptional Living

01/31/2017 04:25 EST | Updated 01/31/2017 04:25 EST
Tom Merton via Getty Images

Imagine a young girl around eight years old walking along a country road, kicking the dirt on the gravel road and thinking about life and all the wonderful adventures that await her. She is enjoying the moment with the hot summer sun beating down on her, but also understanding that there is more out there. Then imagine this same girl five years later navigating the complex halls of high school, weaving her way through a time of change.

Fear, excitement and insecurity are all wrapped up in this very intense period of her life. This teen then becomes a young woman facing her fears and heading off to university to test her knowledge and open her world. Upon graduation she leaves the familiar comforts behind, heads off to the big city where love, marriage, children and professional growth follow through the years.

The driving force for this woman is to dig in and get more deeply into her life. She stumbles often along the way, but starts to see a pattern. There are certain principles that emerge from this pattern that bring clarity and vision to her. Viewing this life one would see that it is not necessarily glamorous, but the truth of the story is that it is an exceptional life.

This capacity for exceptional living is within anyone who truly wants it. I, in fact, was this girl and continue to be this woman walking along a path that has come to make sense to me. Using the principles I have developed over the years I have found a path to exceptional living. As a professional therapist I have been able to apply these principles to the clients I work with and have assisted them in achieving an exceptional life as well.

MORE is at the heart of my philosophy of exceptional living. If you want to live an exceptional life, be prepared to deal with the challenges and difficulties that come with it. Through practicing this philosophy there is a path to living a life with true satisfaction and purpose. MORE is an acronym for "Movement, Opportunity, Reality, and Exception."

The MORE philosophy is not about things, or the accumulation of wealth, or living life in pursuit of some elusive entity that fills up your life. Financial success is admirable, but it may not be wise to build your well-being entirely on wealth or accomplishments. Being attentive and present in each moment, while enjoying your life, may be ultimately more important. The MORE philosophy is quite the opposite of focusing exclusively on financial success; it is about getting a substantial experience out of your life. Living a unique and exceptional life is at the core of the MORE philosophy. Becoming increasingly present, additionally connected and authentically fulfilled is the goal.

Prior to really digging in it is helpful to understand the four steps of this philosophy so that you can understand how they connect into a pattern and are at the core of everything in your life. The four words converge in the moment. No matter what the situation is in front of you, these four principles can be applied to create a response on how to deal with that moment. It is a simple structure which can assist you in any circumstance. MORE will bring clarity to the choices and actions required of you in the moment.

1. The first letter of MORE is "M" and it stands for "Movement." Life is moving forward whether we like it or not. It is my hope that understanding the MORE philosophy will encourage movement from those who read this article. To feel stuck is incredibly frustrating, and wastes considerable energy. You may have some stuck spots in your life and "M" represents the action that is required to get things moving. There is no progression in an action plan without movement. "Movement" is "action."

2. The second letter in MORE is "O" and it stands for "Opportunity." Take the opportunities that are in front of you, and recognize that even the most difficult times are an opportunity for growth. Focusing on opportunity enables us to assess what is right in front of us, giving us the vision to reframe the moment as an opportunity for something valuable in our lives. It is also the ability to seize the moment. Once we understand this assessment skill, we have the ability to deal with and utilize all the aspects of our lives. "Opportunity" is "assessment."

3. The "R" in MORE is for "Reality." We need to have honest conversations with ourselves in order to get the most out of the life we have been given. When we can see the reality, we get the true information we need to make decisions. We need to pay attention to the "reality checks" that life offers. "Reality" is "information."

4. The "E" is for "Exception"; it is for daring to be the unique exception that you are and thus living an exceptional life. Each of us is one of a kind, and when we take the risk to be true to ourselves, we bring our best to the world and achieve a heightened experience of the world. This is the goal we are aiming for when we examine the steps to exceptional living. "Exception" is the "outcome."

The MORE philosophy is at the heart of my life. It informs my personal, parenting and professional choices. These four elements can inform any moment we encounter and assist us in how to respond to our lives. That 8 year old girl who was walking the dirt road in the sun daydreaming about the future is now a woman who is a mother, wife, friend and therapist. She is still excited about the adventures this exceptional life offers us, and looks forward to digging into this life deeper with each new experience. There is always MORE, if you have the courage to dig deep enough.

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