“Life is good when we think it’s good. Life is bad when we don’t think.” – Douglas Horton, academic.
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?
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:
Start Thinking For Yourself
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.
Rethink Your Job
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. 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.
Shake Things Up
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.
Create ‘You’ Goals
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.
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.