The Code of the Extraordinary Mind (2016) unveils a method for overcoming the madness of everyday life, one that enables anyone to stand out from the pack and become an extraordinary individual. The author lays down ten laws that anyone can easily follow to experience a radical transformation and find meaning and happiness in each day.
As we move through life, we’re constantly told what we should do or how we should live. Our culture contains a number of outdated beliefs that dictate what kind of job and education we should have and how we should dress and look.
Taken together, these beliefs make up today’s culturescape – a set of rules and norms on how to love, eat, marry and make a living.
But if you want to be extraordinary, the first law for an extraordinary life is to transcend your culturescape.
This is what the author realized he had to do. Until the age of 19, Vishen Lakhani lived in Malaysia, where it was the norm for families and teachers to push kids into becoming an engineer, a lawyer or a doctor. And since he was a smart student, he was told that these were the rules he needed to follow in order to succeed.
So, he went along with these expectations, giving up his hobbies of photography and performing arts to become a computer programmer. However, when he “succeeded” by landing a top job at Microsoft, he realized this wasn’t the life he was meant to lead – and he quit.
To stand out and become extraordinary, Lakhiani realized he needed to transcend his culturescape and selectively choose which rules to follow and which ones to ignore.
This leads us to the second law for an extraordinary life: question the bullshit rules.
A bullshit rule, or, to use the author’s terminology, a Brule, is an outdated rule from the culturescape that we blindly follow, even though it can hold us back from pursuing our dreams.
Take the College Brule, for example. Society tells us we need a college degree to guarantee success; but not only does a degree not guarantee us anything, it can actually hinder your success by weighing you down with massive student debts.
Steve Jobs questioned this Brule by dropping out of college and going on to become an extraordinary man. He didn’t need a degree to be a radical innovator, invent the smartphone and revolutionize multiple industries.