Published on December 24, 2020

How to Break out of the Box and Live Life on Your Own Terms

How to Break out of the Box and Live Life on Your Own Terms

Good things come in boxes. Sometimes the color of the box has us salivating in anticipation. Tiffany Blue or Hermes Orange are iconic colors that let expectations run high, as we know a treat awaits. So why do we want to break out of the box?

For the same reason that the Tiffany bracelet and Hermes scarf are enjoyed and utilized once out. Neither is meant to stay there tarnishing or gathering dust without living out their purpose.

We are not meant to be in boxes. They limit us, rendering us less brilliant in all senses—less fully developed, less the person we are meant to be.

In a box we are not only less effective and less impactful, but we get trapped. The confines of the box restrict us to seeing ourselves, the situation, others, and the future in a rigid and narrow way.

Box living keeps us small—our vantage point and way of doing things. It is hard to be creative and impossible to be our full magnificent selves from inside a box. Boxes are holding places, not creative spaces. To become ourselves, we need to always be creating.

How can we get out of the box, then?


1. Practice Self-Awareness and Inner Courage

Before you break out of the box, you must first recognize that you’re in one. This sounds easy, but sometimes we are so caught up in the same old patterns of thinking and doing things that we forget to stop and have a look around—to take our pulse.

If you aren’t in a groove that results from a fluid dance of your purpose and values in daily life, you are in a box.

Here is the tell-tale sign that you are in a box: You wish for different outcomes but keep experiencing the same ones; you feel stuck and you have lost your spark.

You might alter some minor things, but if your relationship and the end result to the thing you are wishing to change or create stays the same, then those walls aren’t going to be coming down anytime soon.

Get clear on what you wish to achieve (take the long term view) and how you wish to achieve it. The what and the how are of equal importance. The long term view will allow you to be less reactive and more thoughtful and innovative. When we imagine the bigger picture, our planning and decision making has space to allow for a host of possibilities.

Possibility is all about curiosity and openness. Both lead to flexibility. None of those are the domain of in-the-box living.


You can get curious by asking:

  • What matters most to me?
  • What do I need and want today and tomorrow?

These are about what you want your legacy to be—what you want to leave behind as your work and/or the way you move through your days and touch others. It’s about honoring the things that make you you.

When you align with your purpose and values and act from them, you will be able to break out of the box. No box can hold you when you are acting in alignment and integrity.

2. Fact Check the Stories You Tell Yourself

We quickly add our opinions about why we can’t, won’t, or why something isn’t working or will fail. Be honest with yourself. Admit what is before you and what kind of help you need.

Be lean and mean about discerning fact from fiction. Editorialize all you want as long as what you add to the facts is going to energize you and not bring you down. That is called dreaming.

Dreaming gets us motivated and brings in new ideas. We excite our positive emotions. Invite those in with open arms. Create plans and goals from those dreams. Essentially, a goal is a dream with a deadline.


To help your story telling be an awesome CEO of your life, make sure the storyteller is your inner-sage and not your inner-judge[1].

You will know by the positivity vs. the negativity of each. The judge tires you out quickly, and the feeling of possibility melts away. The judge is the CEO of the box you are in.

The sage comes in when you exercise empathy and that ever-important curiosity.

Don’t give yourself a hard time for having been in a box—even if it has been for a very long time—or about what hasn’t worked. The judge will be all too happy to have you indulge in that kind of self-criticism.

To ignite the sage through curiosity and break out of the box, ask:

  • What assumptions have I been making that are false or detrimental?
  • What assumptions am I making in general?
  • What do I need to take ownership of instead of blaming on someone else?
  • What do I know to be true?
  • What is the next right move?

Play is another way to employ your sage as your CEO. There is nothing like play to encourage the sage’s fresh vantage point and stir up the sage’s innate creativity and endless energy.


Play need not be physical. It’s about doing something that delights, that has an element of surprise and lets time fly by. It just needs to not be too tightly scripted or have an attitude of heaviness.

To add some extra box-breaking strength to this whole process, do something you haven’t done in a long time, or try something new. Novelty is like a strong wind that rattles the sides of your box and lets fresh air come in. Plus, that new oxygen will let you breathe bigger, deeper breaths that will inform your dreams and actions even more.

3. Get Comfortable With Experimenting and Failing

Remember that being in a box is all about repeating what doesn’t work! Isn’t that a bigger failure than failures that come as you experiment ways to realize your dreams? Failures are not bad; they are information givers.

To see failure as your ally, engage your sage. That empathetic part of yourself will not beat you up and have you feeling bad about went “wrong.” Instead, the sage will have you find the gift in whatever unfolds and encourage you to design from there.

Final Thoughts

By getting out of any box you currently inhabit, you will start living life on your own terms. You are liberated from the confines of limiting beliefs and actions. You will be more you since you will not be held back from restrictive habits of mind and practices.

What does your sage—that intuitive part of yourself—say about what would be a great first step to get out of the box that has you stuck?


One bit of freedom leads to another. Each shake-up becomes part of the revolution that will help you fully break out of the box. It’s a revolution to bring about your evolution. To be your evolved self is the very definition of living life on your terms!

More on How to Break out of the Box

Featured photo credit: Chermiti Mohamed via


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Adele Dujardin

Adele is an author, speaker, and coach who empowers others to lead from their creative wise selves, and have fun doing it.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2021

How to Quit Your Unfulfilling Job and Lead Your Dream Career

How to Quit Your Unfulfilling Job and Lead Your Dream Career

Doesn’t matter whether it’s a 9 to 5 job or you work in shifts; is it a satisfactory job?

Ain’t you tired of the monotony or should I ask:

Did you ever feel like quitting your unfulfilling job or changing your unfulfilling career?

Realizing your materialistic needs is important but do you love your means to earn bread?

Too many questions… I’m sure you want to answer none.

But don’t worry, most people are on the same leaky boat!

Wondering what’s wrong?

As a teenager, you dream; you aspire. You are exuberant enough to chase those crazy dreams.

But as you grow older, the zeal seems to fade away. That drop-down in intensity level sets a foundation for a compromise.

You don’t persist with even one dream.

What’s worse, you give different names to your choice to back out. You blame people and situations as per your convenience.

Alas! those vivid dreams lose to your sub-conscious mind.

But before you get disheartened, here’s an interesting fact:

The real Col. Sanders was an entrepreneur who didn’t become a professional chef until he was 40, didn’t franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was 62, and didn’t become an icon until after he sold his company at 75.[1]

So yes, though it’s tough to quit your tiring job; it’s easier than you think.

And when you have realized your existing job is not leading to happiness, it’s time to change!

Desperate for super easy solutions?

Here’s a list of 19 simple actionable steps to quit your unfulfilling job and follow your aspiring career:

1. Step out of Your Comfort Zone

One big reason you are compromising today is your repulsion to challenge the boundaries of your comfort zone. You don’t want to raise the bar.

You move on subconsciously making emotional adjustments and self-harming sacrifices.

Not anymore; it’s time to challenge it!

The clock is ticking and you need to flow with time. That is how you welcome the new. It is one of the major steps in breaking the monotony of an unsatisfactory job.

Not sure about stepping out of your comfort zone still? Read this article: Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

2. Get Rid of the Memories from Your Existing Job

Most of the times, it is your past which doesn’t allow you to liberate yourself in the present. Your memories from the current job are dominant over your memories you want to create.

Come on! You are stronger than you think. You need to detach yourself from those sweet-sour memories. Only then, you could take a big leap towards self-realization.


Here’s the deal:

A beautiful future awaits you where every moment is so blissful you’ll not recall the past to trigger a memory.

Learn how to let go of the past: 7 Ways To Let Go Of The Past And Live A Happy Life

3. Listen to Your Gut

The problem is everyone has access to the locker of your right-wrong beliefs, but not you. You listen to everyone and lose your conscious decision.

Why don’t you back yourself?

If you don’t love what you are doing and you want to quit your unfulfilling job, QUIT.

Why do you restrict yourself?

Only you have the answers to your uncertainties. Stop seeking answers from others. Ask yourself receptively. You’ll unlock all the mysteries about yourself.

Here’s some advice for you: How to Listen to Your Inner Voice

4. Get Excited to Fail

Sounds silly? It’s not:

Success is an elusive mask covering many lifeless faces of failures.

In case you don’t know, if Thomas Edison hadn’t failed, he might not have become America’s most well-known and prolific innovator.[2] And there are even more examples like this: 10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

The pursuit of your dream career is full of struggles and failures. And unless you are ready to fail many times, you are ineligible to succeed.

Only if you settle with your current job which is unsatisfying will you be a real failure. The excitement to fail on the other side is unmatched. Worth a shot!

5. Disallow Social Environment to Control You

If there were no cameras, every soul would tell an interesting story.[3]

I’m sorry but your social environment is bullying you. You have become a puppet to people.

People define your journeys and destinations, and you are losing big time.

Wake up call!

Cut the chord with your social environment which is not only polluting your personal but also your professional environment: Managing Your Social Network Addiction

6. Do Not over Analyze, Execute

Intelligent people are particularly prone to the overthinking that can cause analysis paralysis and lead to a failure to make decisions or take action.[4]

Yes, you are intelligent but you need to be smarter! Never allow your intelligence to become a hindrance in quitting your unfulfilling job.

Thinking and planning are important aspects of a visionary, but never allow overthinking to take a toll on the execution.

Take small steps rather than thinking about giant leaps. Divide your goal into small targets; make sure you achieve them.

Here’s how: Less Thinking, More Doing: Develop the Action Habit Today

7. Make Your Family a Part of Your Dream

If you are fortunate enough to live with your family, you owe responsibilities towards them. After all, they are your father, mother, siblings, life-partner.

Maybe your dream career is something they haven’t heard about, but relax. Don’t expect magic overnight!

Be courageous enough to make them understand why you want to quit your unsatisfactory job.

You may fail big time but don’t lose hope. This is the absolute test of your endurance.

When you convince them, you don’t have to search for a support system in your failures. And a few applauds from them in your small wins keep you up and running.

8. Spend Time with Like-Minded People

To challenge the now and dive into the new, I’m afraid you’ll not find many people standing by your side.

But that’s fine!

Keep a close watch on people with whom you spend your precious time.

What you need to ask yourself:

Are these people your motivators or the ones who constantly try to put you down?

When you get an answer, trust it and go with the flow. You may lose people but you’ll discover yourself.

9. Prioritize Inner Happiness over Monetary Happiness

Possibly, there’s a big fat cheque between your unsatisfactory job and your aspiration. The choice is difficult!

You’ll agree money is not everything but the first thing to be happy. But if your job is not reviving and is killing your happiness, what are you waiting for?

Maybe your dream career isn’t as materialistically rich as your current job, but assuredly, it’ll make you spiritually content.

You have found out what will make you happy, so just go out there and get it: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

10. Learn to Say No

‘No’ is just a two-letter word, ever measured its intensity?

It is loud enough to make you a warrior. However, we don’t use it often.

Being on the receiving end of a no can be brutal, but saying yes to everything isn’t going to make up for that.[5]

Learn this art to quit your unfulfilling job! Not only with others but use it often with yourself. Any denial or a small sacrifice for your own good is a gateway to self-love. It boosts your self-esteem to disallow the negative influences to entice you. You find reasons to listen to yourself.

Leo Babauta has some suggestions on this: The Gentle Art of Saying No

11. Accompany Yourself in Your Alone Time

You encounter many moments in your daily life when there is no one around. What do you do in that alone time?

Either you retreat to the past or you drive to the future. What you don’t realize is your present requires an introspection.


This ignorance is making you incomplete. Neither you are self-aware nor there is a clarity in your thought process.

The secret is when you spend alone time with yourself, your dream becomes your mission, and the inroads make way for beautiful roads. Your journey doesn’t need a navigator. And your questions have answers.

Use your alone time to do some self reflection: How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life

12. Feel Fortunate for the Blessing

When most of us are fighting for the necessities of survival; you discovered your dream.

Where most of the people don’t get solitude time, you know what makes you blissful.

Yes… you are fortunate! How could you dump this wonderful opportunity?

There are many people who might replace you in your unfulfilling job. But make sure no one replaces you in the work you do the best.

13. Never Lie to Yourself

Confidence is imperative but if there is no transparency in your thought process, only confidence is a big disaster.

Self-acceptance is supreme in pursuance of your dream career.

You need to acknowledge your current standing and future goals.

You need to be brutally honest to yourself. Only then, there’s a clarity in your thought process.

Don’t blindly run towards your dream’s realization; walk on your aspiration-driven path consciously.

14. Become an Inspiration for Others

Amidst your uncertainties, someone is closely watching your actions and reactions.

Maybe your close friend or your younger sibling, there’s someone relating to you. They are curious about your next move.

But what do they seek from you? They silently urge you to take one brave move to open the floodgate.

Only you can break the shackles of their boring monotony. Because when you execute, they feel happy and liberated like you.

You become their unsung hero!

15. Realize Your Current Job Is Saturating You

Your current job is unsatisfactory. It cannot get worse. It is tiring and boring, it doesn’t release serotonin anymore.

And you know it!

You even know your exploration begins only when you quit your current job. What else can motivate?

Always remember:

You may do well in your existing job but you will create wonders on the other side. Go all in!

16. Segregate Your Dream into a Passionate Movement

You have a dream career in mind. But to follow it, you are not resilient to do what it takes to reach there.

You lose hope quickly!



Neither dreaming is enough nor quitting your existing job is easy.

Only your passionate will is powerful enough to withstand the test of time. Let that fire burn inside you until your dream coincides with reality.

17. Pen down the Possible Positives

It’s super easy! But you are probably wondering:

How could such a small step be beneficial in quitting my unsatisfactory job?

Yes, it’s a small step but immensely powerful.

When you list down how quitting your unfulfilling job is a boon, trusting your decision becomes easier.

Any apprehensions at any point flush out when you recall those jotted positives of leading a dream career.

18. Break the Rules

There is no thumb rule or a particular mantra for success. It’s good to have idols. There’s no harm in following them. But what’s wrong is you compare your journey with them.

What you don’t realize is that you may share the same goal but the approach has to be different.

Never kill your originality trying to become like them.

Define your own journey. Never set a rule or a predefined path for success. Break-free!

19. Presume the Worst-Case Situation

Try to question yourself:

What will happen if you quit your unfulfilling job to lead to your dream career?

Is it your financial stability or an emotional dependency you are losing on? Whatever it is, imagining the worst-case scenario enables you to loosen up.

It provokes a nothing-to-lose attitude where there is no fear of anyone and anything. You move forward wholeheartedly with authority and devotion.

Your self-motivation is at cloud nine; you don’t fear the consequences anymore.

I hope any of these actionable techniques revive the feel you were about to lose.

Final Thoughts

You are a blessed soul who knows a couple of things more than most of the people:

Your current job is unfulfilling, and that you have a career-oriented dream.

But knowing about these isn’t enough!

Set yourself free as an individual and dive into the competition where your only competitor is you.

Life is too short to regret! Now when you have tasted the feeling of your chips being down, you deserve the magical feel to be on the other side of the table.

Always remember:

You are wrong only till the time you are struggling. But if you keep moving and taking those hard punches, one day you’ll realize your dream. With you, people realize everything about you were (and are) right!

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Featured photo credit: Leonardo Yip via



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