These days it seems like lots of people are into extreme everything. In sports, you see people in videos sailing off of mountains without parachutes and with just a winged-suit on their back. In business, you see entrepreneurs pass up billion dollar buy-outs in the hope that they’ll grow their company into an even bigger payday. We even see people thriving at work well into their seventies, for example, whole bunch of old rockers playing and attracting huge crowds at “Oldchella” recently, even though they once sang about life essentially being over after thirty.

It seems people aren’t satisfied with old expectations and how things used to be; when all we wanted was to be like everyone else, you know, average.  We don’t want to work at the same company forever anymore. We don’t want to get married young and start a family right away. We want be OK with who we are right now, while we search for how to get more out of life too, and not be considered a slacker in the mean time!

This concept of many people searching for more out of life, for extreme success, if you will is relatively new. For most of humanity, people accepted that our destiny was largely written for us. Think about it. In the cave woman/man days, gender roles were strict and life expectancy was short. There wasn’t much time to think about anything but surviving. Fast forward a couple thousand years, and if you grew up on the family farm you were pretty likely to grow up and be a farmer too, it just made sense.

But now things are different. Way different. Now it seems people can do things that w ere never thought possible before. Self-help gurus remind us constantly that we can do whatever we put our mind to. Kind of like, where there is a will there is a way – a way to do anything you want at any stage of your life!

But does that apply to everyone, or just some people?  It’s like the rules of life are changing and being average or normal isn’t good enough anymore.  Of course there are always going to be people who achieve at ridiculously high levels, but they’re special, right? Geniuses, right? These are the extreme achievers, like the guys who strap on a winged suit and jump off a cliff. For the rest of us we have to choose between enjoying life, or achieving greatly.

But wait a minute, does it have to be one or the other; do we have to live an “either or” life? Can’t it be “both/and” instead or either/or? Is it possible they can both exist at the same, as in a duality? Enjoy life AND achieve greatly!

I say yes, a duality is possible. Let’s look one example and I’s sure you can think of others too. People in the know say when you work at a non-profit organization and commit to serving the community, that you will have to get used to making low wages. But when I started my own non-profit and was in charge of writing the budget and raising donations, I gave myself a raise as compared to my last job. How about that! I busted through that old-school thinking and proved I could have my cake and eat it too, so to speak.

I say we’ve been fed a line of baloney when it comes to choosing between two options in life, either/or thinking. It just isn’t true, any more! What do you think? I’d appreciate your comments. Thanks.  

This blog is an example of thinking in my new organization, Community 2.0.  Last blog I posted was about drivers of change and opportunity. Understanding duality is a huge driver of change and also of freeing up energy to live your dream!