How to Become the Type of Person That Achieves Extraordinary Things

By: Jim Murphy


  • Extraordinary achievements, in general, are based on extraordinary lives. Those lives have something deep within them that’s different than everyone else: a heart that dreams big dreams, embraces hardship as training for those dreams, and especially, a heart who’s greatest pursuit is to love most what’s most empowering.
  • This sort of heart training develops discipline and resilience, passion and purpose, independent of results and circumstances. It involves surrendering the ego… being willing to look like a fool in exchange for even the smallest gains in what can be thought of as self-mastery.
  • Self-mastery and loving most what’s most empowering go hand in hand. If what you love most is money, or success or recognition, your life will always be at the mercy of your results and circumstances.
  • If however, what you love most is to become the type of person who’s ultimate goal is to live, work and relate from a heart filled with love, wisdom and courage, then fearlessness becomes possible, and resilience and passion are by-products.
  • In the direct pursuit of loving most what’s most empowering, extraordinary results take care of themselves.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – King Solomon, 3rd King of the United Monarchy

Perhaps the greatest obstacle that I’ve seen in my years coaching professional and Olympic athletes is the lack of freedom. It’s so easy for an athlete or executive, parent or pianist, to merge their work and identity. When your work becomes your identity, freedom becomes very elusive, because your sense of self is riding on your performance (or your kids performance). With so much out of your control, work/performance becomes stressful.

This is the result of your greatest love being some external success that is always temporary and not fulfilling. Most of my life has been spent in that pursuit. It’s exhausting.

Thus we need something greater to pursue, something that’s empowering and meaningful, beyond tangible success. We need some mission, some purpose that will push us when willpower fails and ordinary motivation is depleted.

That mission is to become a certain type of person… a wholehearted one, a person that walks in love, not fear, knowing that unconditional love is the most powerful force in the universe. It’s fearless.

Extraordinary achievements come from those willing to risk their lives and/or their reputations in order to share their great passion with the world. Often this passion is simply to live with a clear mind and unburdened heart, one that love others more than self.

What you can do

  • Clarify why you’re playing your sport or doing the work you do. In the end, what is it you want most? If it’s to be the best in your field, for example, what does that give you?
    • Most people are just chasing their tales (the circular story they’ve been telling themselves–if I’m successful I’ll be ok… a bigger house… or one more success, then I’ll be ok) while they chase their tails (going round and round after what they want but can’t control, some tangible result that’s temporarily exciting but ultimately empty).
    • Use your sport or work to develop and train your heart, don’t let it use you and toss you aside when you’re no longer needed.
  • Find solitude. It’s in solitude that we can think clearly and journal and recall who we are and imagine possibilities for our lives. We need time off the treadmill of busyness in external pursuits and time on the path of heart transformation.
  • Read about and study the lives of those who achieved extraordinary things. Look for how their mind worked and what their heart wanted most. Seek out the daily disciplines they considered essential.

Don’t spend your life on the treadmill chasing after acceptance from others, just to feel ok about yourself. Build something that lasts. Start today to train your heart so that at the top of its loves its greatest desire is to become the type of person who lives wholehearted, who walks in love, not fear, who awakens the lives of others.

Let me know how it’s going!

Love Jim

Movies I’m watching and books I’m reading

The Alpinist. Great documentary about Canadian climber Marc-Andre Leclerc’s inspiring life and his pursuit of living (and feeling) the life he dreamed of.

Fearless. By Eric Blehm. Listening again to Adam Brown’s powerful transformation from being a slave to feelings (and drug addiction) to living a life of purpose far beyond personal gain.

The Allure of Gentleness by Dallas Willard. I want to live a simple life… a quiet and gentle one. Willard has been one of my role models in this pursuit.

America’s Original Sin by Jim Wallis.

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