Thinking About Parenting

9 Principles for Uncommon Living


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9 Principles for Uncommon Living

What is Uncommon Living?


"Out of the ordinary"





Using some of the definitions above, uncommon living for me is enjoying a life that is different than most, more satisfying than most, more rewarding than most and does not exist in the gloom and grind that defines many peoples' lives.

Call it extraordinary living. 

Life is hard. Just when you think one trial is over, another one begins. There is not one of us immune to the tests, disappointments, setbacks, and roadblocks that challenge everyone.

You don't have to explore too deeply to uncover lives filled with anger, regret, infidelity, lies, and more.

Those common obstacles cannot keep you from uncommon living unless you let them. It will require discipline and an uncommon way of thinking. 

It requires the realization that you are not defined by what happens to you, but by how you respond to what happens to you.

I have encountered death, heartbreak, disappointments, setbacks, and broken promises, and still believe that I am a very blessed person. Some principles keep me grounded and allow me to live a life I wouldn't trade with anyone. I hope they might help you live the best life possible.

9 Principles for Uncommon Living

1. Life of Purpose

"He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how." 

-Friedrich Nietzsche

Life is movement.

Just like the birds flying south for the winter, the rivers flowing to the sea, and the eagles soaring toward the heavens, we are not designed to stand still, but to move forward and reach further tomorrow than we did today.

A sense of purpose will get you out of bed in the morning while others hit the snooze and pull the covers back over their heads one more time.

You can read more in these posts:

4 Tips for Finding Your Purpose in Life

7 Ways to Accomplish Your Goals

2. Life of Service

"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth." 

-Muhammad Ali

Real change in the world begins when we change ourselves and choose to serve others who are less fortunate than we are. If we take the focus off of ourselves, it doesn't take long to notice people who have less, hurt more, and cling to less hope than we do.

Take care of yourself and your loved ones, but never pass up an opportunity to make a difference in someone else's life. Every selfless gesture counts, big or small. They all add up.

You can read more in these posts:

Being Kind to Others

8 Ways to Show Someone You Appreciate Them

3. Life of Giving

"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give." 

-Winston Churchill

As Barb and I drive through our beautiful city, we pass by storage facility after storage facility with more being built. We marvel that people have so much stuff that they have to pay someone to keep it for them. Many of those units are stuffed with possessions they have no further need of or even memory of.

You don't need great wealth to live a life of giving. Remember that there is always someone less fortunate who would consider your castaways a treasure.

You don't have to stop at stuff either. Feel free to give your time, talents, and knowledge as well.

4. Life of Kindness

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." 


Kindness and goodwill are universal concepts that stretch beyond economic, social, or religious biases. 

Every act of kindness affects both the giver and the receiver of the act and causes a ripple effect that reaches further than we can see or comprehend. 

Choose a life of kindness where you show up every day with a plan to make a difference one kind gesture at a time. You'll be glad you did.

5. Life of Forgiveness

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." 

-Mahatma Gandhi

Read that quote one more time. Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, but a mark of strength and love.

Refusing to forgive hurts us more than the offender. It slowly poisons our spirit and fills up space that should harbor love and kindness instead.

When you choose a life of forgiveness, you are not condoning the actions of those who have done you wrong, you are simply releasing the hold their actions have kept over you. 

You can read more in these posts:

8 Steps of Real Forgiveness

4 Ways to Deal with Criticism Positively

6. Life of Vision

"The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision." 

-Helen Keller

We most often think of vision as dealing with our ability to see, with or without the assistance of glasses or other aids. That type of vision is important and is often taken for granted until it is diminished or taken away.

As a principle of uncommon living, I would like you to look at vision as the ability to look forward into the future with wisdom, purpose, imagination, and hope.

Notice the emphasis on looking forward

A life of vision means letting go of the past (while still learning from it), shedding regrets, and moving zealously toward a life of possibilities.

The quality of your thoughts determines the quality of your life.

You can read more in these posts:

Bible Verses to Give You Hope

40 Positive Affirmations

7. Life of Gratitude

"Wear gratitude like a cloak, and it will feed every corner of your life." 


It's uncommon these days to be content with what we have. We are bombarded daily with postings, advertisements, and notifications prodding us to want more.

The principle of living a life of gratitude reminds us that real happiness comes from what we have at this moment and enjoying it. If we do not, then no number of future achievements or possessions will bring us lasting joy.

You can read more in these posts:

80 Things to be Grateful For

Tips to Help You Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

8. Life of Loving

"We are most alive when we're in love." 

-John Updike

Love is an amazing and powerful force that ignites passion and enriches our lives in so many ways. 

I dare say that a life without love is no life at all.

And true love is rare. So much of what is being called love currently can be summarized in a Janet Jackson song, "What have you done for me lately?"

A life of loving is the cornerstone of living a fulfilling life. When you love someone enough to put their needs above yours without regard to what they "bring to the table", that love is pure, and when you are lucky enough to find someone to reciprocate, that love is grand.

Love your God. Love your Spouse. Love your Children. Love your neighbor.

Show and Tell.

You can read more in these posts:

50 Quotes About Love

30 Signs You've Found Your Soulmate

10 Ways to Make Your Children Feel Loved

9. Life of Faith

"To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible." 

-Thomas Aquinas

If I could only choose two of the principles that I've shared with you to lean on for the rest of my life, they would be numbers 8 and 9, Life of Loving and Life of Faith.

My love story with Barb for over 40 years has anchored my heart and brought me more joy than I am worthy of.

My faith is a zip line between me and hope, allowing me to overcome trials and tribulations in my life that I couldn't possibly have endured on my own.

Believing in something greater than yourself will allow you to stay the course no matter how severe the storms that challenge you during this journey called life.

You can read more in these posts:

7 Reasons to Choose Faith Over Fear

6 Ways to Keep Your Faith on Track

Bible Verses and Quotes...Trust in God

Final Thoughts on Uncommon Living

As Doc Holiday said to Wyatt Earp at the end of the 1993 movie Tombstone, "Wyatt, there is no normal life, there's just life."

It is common for many people to live lives of quiet desperation. 

I believe that life is what you make of it. No life is perfect. No life is free of trials. Yet, we can live an extraordinary life if we choose to.

Use the principles listed above to live an uncommon life. Choose to not live a life that others call normal.

Life isn't easy, but it sure beats the alternative.

Now go live your best life,