Most of us go through life going through the same old rat race, never getting out of our comfort zone, always taking the safe path, the tried and tested route.
When you were a kid and wanted to do something your parents or teachers didn’t like, you may have heard the question “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?” The idea is that it’s not good to do something stupid, even if everyone else is doing it. The logic is, Think for yourself instead of following the crowd.
It’s not bad advice, even if it’s sometimes used to exert control more than to support independent thinking. But one day, you grow up and suddenly the tables are turned. People start expecting you to behave very much like they do. If you disagree and don’t conform to their expectations, some of them get confused or irritated. It’s almost as if they are asking: “Hey, everyone else is jumping off the bridge. Why aren’t you?”
Just as few people will criticise you for jumping off the bridge when everyone else is doing it, this kind of life insulates you from challenge and risk.. It’s also a life of quiet desperation that leaves you with a nagging question in the back of your brain:
Is this all there is? Did I miss something somewhere?
1. Always accept what people tell you
When will you have the courage to make bold and daring decisions if you always listen to others? Always do what you know is right.
2. Never question authority
And the Man is always right, too — or at least wants you to believe so. Where would we be today if the French Revolution never happened and no one ever questioned the authority of the absolute monarchy? What would we be doing right now if settlers of the Colonies never revolted against British rule?
3. Go to college because your parents told you to, not because you want to learn anything
Going to college can be an enriching and rewarding experience. But if all you aim to do is party and not go to class, or if you just aren’t interested in studying anything further, consider getting a job or starting a business instead of wasting your time and money at college.
4. Sit at your desk for over 40 hours a week doing very little actual productive work
Just because you’re at your desk 40-plus hours a week doesn’t mean you are producing anything of value. Social media, email, and the web can become a huge time suck if not negotiated properly. Plus, why work for an employer who expects so little of you?
5. Never travel anywhere too interesting, exotic, or challenging
There are many beautiful things to see in life but unfortunately some of them are not located in your daily path. Venture outside your daily routine: for example, when vacationing stray from visiting only resorts. Or, if you don’t have the resources to backpack through Europe, you can still adventure in your area. Whether you go hiking, whitewater rafting, or on a multiday road trip, all are guaranteed to get you thinking outside the box.
6. Qualify for the absolute largest mortgage you can get and then spend the next 30 years paying for it
Barely being able to afford your mortgage each month is a sure sign that you will be stuck in your current situation, location and all, for a long time.
7. Never spend time learning new languages or cultures, since lots of people already speak English
Sometimes to come up with radical ideas that could change the world you need to look at things from a foreign vantage point.
8. Dream about writing a book that you never pen
Whether you aspire to write a book, open your own restaurant, or buy a house in Costa Rica, almost everyone dreams of accomplishing something big but unfortunately many never work toward their goals. A great way to be unremarkable is to never take so much as the first step toward accomplishing what you dream of doing.
9. Plan on starting a business that you never go through with
Living a remarkable life often means being part of something greater than yourself. In the entrepreneurial era, this can often be accomplished by starting a business that provides people useful information or services of value.
10. Avoid standing out or drawing any attention to yourself
If you always walk the line you could end up being just another sheep. Many people seek a unique and meaningful life but are afraid of the criticism that comes with standing out from the crowd!
11. Jump through hoops and check off boxes
Looking through this list, it would be hard for anyone not to be guilty of at least one thing. But think about it: you’ve always tried to play your part and make safe decisions. But are you really happy with what you’re doing with your life? Was jumping through hoops and checking off the boxes worth it? If not, you’re in luck: you still have time to make changes! You could take an amazing trip, start a business, write a book, or do anything that you’ve always wanted to, just do it right now.
“You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to — Chris Guillebeau”