My whole life has been an exercise in fighting back. No matter where I went or what I did, my ideas and personality never fit. So instead of giving in and joining, I pushed. I couldn’t just be part of the crowd or go with the flow unless it was on my terms. Unfortunately, when you question everything and make waves, friends and support are sometimes hard to find.
Maybe you’ve found the same thing?
The culprit is The Box, or more to the point, Your Box. While some people are more comfortable with boxes, both putting themselves and other people in them, there are others, like myself, who can’t see the world that way. I understand the lure of placing people and things in nice, neat boxes. It helps make the world safer, more secure. It’s just not in me to do that. Maybe you feel the same.
When others place me in their boxes, the small defining roles or positions that help them make sense of the world, I naturally want to fight back. If I tell the average “Boxer” that I’m an author, a revolutionary, a copywriter, a father, husband, and friend of Jesus, it’s too much for them. They can’t grasp so many boxes in use at once. Then I tell them that in addition to fine marketing copy I also write children’s books, parenting self help books, christian devotionals, humor novels, and marketing books for artists, their heads begin to explode. Not literally, but they do get very quiet so I just assume the mental demolition is happening.
Most people, when they ask you what you do, require you to say only one or possibly two things. Even two is a bit strange, but I’ve found that allowances can be made. More than two and you are obviously off your rocker, or covering for the fact that you are unemployed. “Boxers” have great difficulty envisioning a truly Unboxed life. My family is filled with boxers so I know all of this from experience.
Principles for Living Unboxed
An Unboxed Life is defined by relentlessly pursuing four principles. When you keep these as your focus then life will move more easily, more naturally. If you choose to ignore them, any one of them, then your life will be filled with frustration, disease, heartache, and a deep sense of longing that can’t be quenched.
The First Principle is Quirky Humor
If you take your life too seriously, you will find that same life will crush you. In order to fully embrace your Unboxed Life, you will have to develop a keen eye for the absurd silliness that life tends to throw at you. You must learn to laugh in the face of everything. This does not mean you crack jokes, or make fun of others, but rather that you incorporate humor and a jocularity into your personality. Make laughing and enjoyment who you are. Life will put you to the test and without humor you will be ill equipped to handle the adversity and trials ahead of you.
The Second Principle is Purposeful Discipline
An Unboxed Life is not an easy life. To live a great life, you have to be willing to get things done.
Many people with this anti-box mentality are called dreamers. You can be a dreamer, but never just a dreamer. I’ve been down that road and it only leads to heartache. I used to come up with great plans and ideas, but never had the discipline to see them through. The joy of an Unboxed Life is not in the possibility, but in the realization of your dreams. Without the discipline to see your dreams into reality, you stay in your self-made boxes and never pursue what you want. Instead you sit around and think about how great it would be if you actually accomplished something as opposed to going out and doing it.
Pursuing discipline keeps you focused and on the right track.
The Third Principle is Uncompromising Clarity
There’s the world you think is true and there’s the world that actually exists. You have to start with reality, which requires a relentless pursuit of knowledge and clarification. Ask yourself the hard questions; What is really going on in your life? Are things really as they seem or are you telling yourself a false narrative?
This also applies to you as a person. Who are you, right now? Not who you wish you were or want to be. What talents do you have? What are you good at? What skills have you developed? Be honest, be clear with yourself. This principle does not take away from your dreaming but instead jumpstarts it. You can’t pursue your dream and leave your boxes if you don’t know where you actual first step is.
Let reality be your base, the place that you start, then you build your life from there.
The Fourth Principle is Shifting Passion
Much has been written about passion, following your passion, finding your passion, how crucial it is to your well being. All that is true. You have to know where your fuel is, where you get your motivation in order to move forward.
However, you have to remember that fuel is a finite resource. Once you use it up, you must replenish the supply. This is key to know about the Unboxed personality. If you go all out on a project for too long, the explosive passion you feel will quickly turn into dread and hatred. Thankfully the Unboxed’s multitude of interests offers a solution to sustained passion.
You have to learn how to shift your passions from one project to another. Passion for ideas and work is inherent in the Unboxed personality but sustained concentration isn’t compatible with the explosive passion we feel in the moment. Shifting allows you to work on a multitude of projects. Once you’re desire begins to flag in one area then you can shift to another. That’s why it’s important to have clarity about your interests and the discipline to shift when you feel the passion waning. Humor will also help revitalize your attitude if you run out of motivation from a sustained effort. It’s all connected.
You’re Not Weird, Just You
I know someone with this personality type who constantly calls herself weird. It’s an offhand putdown meant to put herself in a box so others can understand who she is. It’s shorthand, and a kindness for more box minded folk, for all the things she loves to do. It’s also a very incomplete answer and hurts more than helps.
Don’t call yourself something you are not, embrace who you are instead. Love the varied interests and ideas that fuel your imagination and motivations. Start embracing your Unboxedness and finally live your life the way you were meant to live it.