I can remember the exact moment when I first heard the expression “living life outside the box.” It was 2005 and I was ready to change my life completely. I asked friends and family members if they knew anyone who had completely changed their life. To my surprise, they did know people who had left jobs and careers, moves across the country, and created lifestyles that made more sense for them.
One couple had left the corporate world and relocated from New York City to southern California. They invited me to go hiking one Saturday morning and the man began sharing how their life was different from what it had been in the past. He described it as living life outside the box.
Their story resonated with me, and I could feel the pain as they shared stories from their previous life. I was immediately motivated to embark on my own transformative journey. But first, I had to find something that I could do to replace the income I would be leaving behind as a classroom teacher, while also working part-time in real estate. I had to define my own life outside the box on my terms.
Living life outside the box is a metaphorical expression that encapsulates the idea of embracing a non-conventional or alternative approach to living. It signifies breaking free from societal norms, expectations, and the constraints of a traditional lifestyle. When someone chooses to live their life outside the box, they are often seeking personal fulfillment, authenticity, and a sense of purpose that goes beyond societal conventions.
It may come down to whether or not you think of yourself as a risk taker. Living outside the box means taking risks on a regular basis, challenging the status quo, and pursuing a path that aligns with one’s true passions and values. It involves stepping out of one’s comfort zone and exploring new possibilities, even if they deviate from the norm or might be met with skepticism from others. It’s also about having the courage to listen to your inner voice and follow your own unique path, rather than conforming to societal expectations or settling for a life that doesn’t truly resonate with you.
As for my life experience, I had always been passionate about education and had dedicated twenty years of my life to teaching in a traditional classroom. However, deep within my heart, I knew that there was something more that I wanted to do with my life. I yearned for a different kind of impact, a way to reach and inspire students beyond the confines of a single classroom. And I wanted more time to enjoy life and more income as well.
One evening, while browsing the internet for teaching resources, I stumbled upon an article about online courses and entrepreneurship from your home computer. This concept fascinated me… the idea of connecting with adult students from all around the world, sharing knowledge and experiences, and making a difference on a larger scale. This discovery ignited a spark within me, and I began to dream of a new path.
Excited and filled with a sense of purpose, I soon embarked on a journey to create my own online business. I spent countless hours researching, learning, and developing my skills in e-learning platforms, curriculum design, and digital marketing. It was a steep learning curve, but my determination and passion fueled me every step of the way. By the end of the school year, I had given notice that I would not be returning for the next school year.
As I ventured into uncharted territory, I faced self-doubts and encountered skeptics who questioned my decision to leave the familiar classroom environment. Friends and family were concerned about the uncertainties that lay ahead. But I knew deep down that living life outside the box meant embracing risks and stepping into the unknown.
With my newfound knowledge and skills, I launched my online business. I carefully crafted engaging and interactive courses that catered to adults of all ages, backgrounds, and geographic locations. My dedication to providing quality training is evident in every product and course I create. Through my virtual classroom, I am able to connect with students from different corners of the globe, bridging cultural divides and fostering a love for learning that knows no boundaries.
Although the journey is not without its challenges, my perseverance paid off. Positive feedback from her students and their families continues to pour in, praising my innovative approach and the positive impact I am making on their lives and their bank accounts. Word of mouth testimonials spread quickly, and my online business continues to thrive.
As I reflect on my decision to live life outside the box, I realize that it wasn’t just about leaving the traditional classroom; it was about finding my true calling and making a difference in a way that resonated with my soul. I had discovered the freedom to shape my own destiny, following my passions and creating a life that was uniquely my own.
Today, I continue to inspire and train people worldwide through my online business. I cherish the financial freedom and time flexibility that this unconventional path has afforded me. By embracing a life outside the box, I have not only transformed my own existence but have also touched the lives of countless people who have created their own versions of living life outside the box, no matter where on planet Earth they may be.
I hope my story will serve as a reminder to all those who dare to dream. It is a testament to the power of following one’s passions, taking risks, and believing in oneself. As I continues to live my life outside the box, my goal is to remain an inspiration to others, proving that with determination and an unwavering spirit, one can truly create a life that is extraordinary.
“Life is good when we think it’s good. Life is bad when we don’t think.” ~ Douglas Horton
What is life like in the status quo? Does this phrase make you feel safe and content, or do you cringe when you hear it?
How Living Inside the Box is Slowly Killing Your Joy
Think about this for a minute. When you’re in the status quo, you know what to expect. There are very few decisions to be made. You know what to expect and how to react to those things. If things go wrong, you know how they’re going to go wrong, and probably even how to fix it. There are no surprises.
There is no change, either. You’re living life in a box, and while this might even seem comfortable at times, you severely lack in the ups and downs of life. Worse, it’s killing your joy. It’s time to do something about it. How can you rediscover happiness, take back your life, and live life outside the lines? Try following these tips:
The biggest problem with the status quo is you stop thinking for yourself. With so few decisions to be made, it’s easier to go with the flow than worry about right or wrong or even what you want. To break free, this has to change. It’s time to seize control of your destiny. Quit listening to what others say you should be doing with your life. It’s time to figure out who you are and what you want entirely for yourself.
Rather than accept every day as another carbon copy, think about where you want to go from here. What is the next step you want to take? Although it might seem hard at first, the main idea, for now, is to break out of the pattern and move, even in a small way to a life more in keeping with what you want. Start small and go from there.
When you’ve been used to following the crowd, you’ll find your own goals and ambitions have pretty much disappeared. And this is why one of the first steps to take as you step outside the box is to start dreaming again. Forget goals for the time being. Just get used to imagining all the beautiful things you want to do to change the world. The bigger, the better. Eventually, you’ll find specific dreams keep coming up. Pay attention to those as they’re what you’re going to use to create fresh new goals that are uniquely yours.
Career-wise when you’re living inside the box, it means you are stalled. The big question? Are you going to work each day, or are you embracing a career path that is fulfilling? This is not the same thing. When you want to live life outside the lines, you need to find things that are fulfilling to you, starting with your career choice.
In the status quo, innovation is not always welcome. Over time, it becomes effortless to keep quiet when you get a thought on a new way to do things. The problem is, keeping ideas to yourself is part of what’s keeping you stuck in the status quo in the first place. Here’s where you need to shake things up if you ever expect to break free of this particular box. It’s time to speak up. Share your thoughts and ideas. Inspire new growth, and you, too, will grow.
How many times have you sat on social media, taking note of all how other people are living their lives? How does this make you feel? Here’s where you need to quit hanging out, being sad at all the opportunities you’re missing. It’s time to shine! Start living your own life by taking time out for your dreams. Got a bucket list? Why wait to start knocking things off of it. Do what makes your soul happy.
Living inside the box only works if everyone is doing what’s expected of them. Conforming to group think keeps things calm, remember. This means if you truly want to honor yourself and your individuality, you need to let loose and shine! Embrace the weird, enjoy the eccentric. Be quirky, fun, and decidedly different in all the ways you’ve always wanted to be. Wear bowties. Sing to strangers. Who knows, you might even start a new trend!
Drop Your Phone
Social media can be great when it comes to staying in touch with your friends. It’s not so great when you start using it to poll the masses before every move just so you can make sure you’re doing what’s expected of you. The problem with being in touch is you very easily fall into the trap of groupthink. Quit checking for second opinions and start trusting your gut. Not that you can’t ever ask someone else for thought or opinion on a matter. In the end, though, your decisions need to be yours alone.
One thing about the status quo is just how comfortable it is. With no decisions to make and no change from day to day, you really can just sit back and go with the flow. But while this sounds Zen (it’s not), you need a lot more in your life than the sameness of every day. It’s time to take chances. Sure this is going to feel awkward and even scary at first. It will get better as you go as you learn more about who you are and what you’re truly capable of.
Stop Playing the Game
Have you ever noticed just how much stock people put on milestones? You’re forever going to be confronted with all the significant life markers. People will ask, “when do you have kids?” or “shouldn’t you go to college” and other such questions that are more meant to satisfy themselves in their own life choices than to help you in yours. The biggest problem with this line of questioning is the damage it does to you when those questions start getting under your skin. Rather than follow a timeline set out by your parents or grandparents, it’s time to break free and consider just how you want to live your like and what order you like to live it in. Don’t want kids? Fine. Are you going back to school at fifty? Why not? Honestly, it’s all up to you.
When nothing ever changes, it’s effortless to get caught up in a negative inner dialogue. You start expecting things to be dull and even dull. You might feel trapped and will even start telling yourself things along the lines of “there’s no use even trying.” You expect failure at every turn. All this really can get you down. The problem is when you’re stepping out from the status quo; you’re going to need a lot of positive energy to help you make the transition. Your self-talk likewise needs to change. It’s time to remind yourself of how good things are going to be by focusing on the positive.
What are you good at? Too often, when we live inside the box, we suppress a lot of who we are. This includes what we’re capable of. You have a unique set of talents. Part of authentic living is in embracing who you are and what you’re good at. Push yourself to see what you can learn. See how far you can fly. By trying new things, and coming to learn just what you’re good at, you’ll start to see the possibilities. What’s more, you’ll start to trust yourself to be able to reach those goals as well.
Who have you been working for all this time? When you’re trying hard to fit in, it’s easy to toe the company line. You start living your life with someone else’s goals in mind. Now it’s time to wake up and figure out what you want to do. If you’ve got a handle on your talents and are dreaming again, you probably already have some ideas of where you want to go with your life. If not? Maybe some self-examination is in order. The important thing here is in setting goals you’re capable of, and then putting your feet on the path to reach them.
Live Your Life
The world of the status quo is a dry, dead place. Nothing happens there. In the end, the only way you’re ever going to bring joy back to your life after getting stuck is to get moving. Start doing things differently. Take actions that reflect your belief system—Chase after goals. Try new things. The sky is the limit!
Anytime you’re trying to escape out of a box, not of your own making, it’s going to be hard initially. Boxes are meant to be cages. What keeps you there are some pretty ingrained habits. Be patient with yourself as you set out on this path. Take your time, and if you need to, revisit these ideas again and again until they stick.
I encourage you to reflect on your own desires, values and passions. Whatever you do, make sure you’re honoring your hopes and dreams in all you do, for here is where you find the most joy. You’ve got this.
I’m bestselling author, marketing strategist, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green, living my life outside the box in every moment, and working closely with people all over the world who wish to create something similar. If this is of interest to you, please connect with me and let’s discover what comes next in your life journey.