“If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?”
Your mom probably said this. I know my mom did (though living in the desert she said “cliff” instead of “bridge”). This saying was meant to keep you from falling in with the bad crowd or giving in to peer pressure.
If you were like me, you rebelled against this advice even when you knew it was good for you because, well, just because you were a teenager.
So what happened?
We grew up and all of a sudden we started jumping off the cliff/bridge along with everyone else, and when we wanted to do something as an individual, something that broke the norm in our crowd, we were hushed up, reminded of our responsibilities, and told not to make waves.
College, stable career, marriage, big house, kids, etc. I don’t need to write the script for you because we all know it by heart.
Chris Guillebeau is no stranger to making waves.
His very popular blog The Art of Nonconformity has been inspiring people to set their own rules and live the life they want for a few years now, and he affectionately calls his fans the Small Army. You may have downloaded his Brief Guide to World Domination (his fans have translated this little gem into several different languages by now).
Chris is on a mission to travel to every country in the world before his 35th birthday. To finance this lifestyle, he rents instead of owns, walks instead of drives, and supports himself and his artist wife by writing. He is living large without living large. (Read more about Chris here.)
Chris may look like he lives an unconventional life at first glance, but he’s actually living a perfectly conventional life – for him. And his goal in life is to make sure you live a perfectly conventional life for you, even if it looks unconventional to others.
It doesn’t matter what you do, only that you consciously choose to do that thing.
Chris has written a book called The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World,and after one day it has already reached #9 on the Amazon bestseller list. Clearly people have a desire to follow their own paths, even if they need a little help to figure out what that path might be.
The book is broken down into three sections:
- The Remarkable Life – This section describes how to create your remarkable life with examples of other people who have done it (face it, there is no “one way” to be remarkable!)
- Reclaiming the Work – This section delves into meaningful work and giving back.
- The Power of Convergence – This section brings it all together, and I especially like what he has to say about not hanging on to your glory days and always seeking something new. (It reminds me of the guy who once told me it was a shame we were doing this big trip at 40 because the rest of our lives would be a let-down. How depressing is that guy?!)
I’ve been a reader of Chris’ blog for quite some time and even had the chance to meet with him earlier this year in Seattle. When I received an advance copy of his book from the publisher I was not expecting to learn anything drastically different from what I already knew, but I was pleasantly surprised.
What resonated most for me was section 2, Reclaiming the Work. My favorite line is actually from a friend of Chris’ who responds this way to friends who complain about not making progress:
“I’m sorry you feel bad about not meeting your goals. What I would suggest is that you begin meeting your goals, in order to feel better.”
Chris gets more done than most people, and it should not be a surprise to find out that his production is related to the connection he feels to his goals. If you felt the way about your job that Chris feels about his, you’d probably get a lot more done, too. You’d also like Monday just as much as Friday.
This section reminded me that giving back, having meaningful work, and contributing some kind of legacy is essential to feeling that you’ve made an impact with your life. It’s not about working enough to not work anymore. It is about working on the right things to make a part of the world a better place to live in.
If you like Chris Guillebeau and follow his work, the concepts in this book will not be completely new to you. What you will like is having a more comprehensive view of his ideology in book form.
If you are seeking a change in your life and a deeper connection to the world around you, this is a great way to be introduced to his ideas and see how they work in your own life.
And because you know (or will know) that Chris doesn’t do anything halfway, be sure to check out his self-funded Unconventional Book Tour to meet readers in all 50 states and each Canadian province over the next few months. Following through on his commitment to give back, Chris is donating 100% of his author royalties on the book tour to Charity: Water .
His way may not be your way, but you can learn a lot about forging your own path from someone who’s already done it.
“You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to. You can do good things for yourself and make the world a better place at the same time. Here’s how to do it.” ~ Chris Guillebeau
Disclosure: The publisher sent us an advance copy of the book and the link above is an affiliate link to Amazon.