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5 Unconventional Ways To Live Life More Freely

5 Unconventional Ways To Live Life More Freely

Does the concept of doing the same thing, in the same cubicle, next to the same people for X amount of years until you retire or get fired terrify you? Then perhaps you should consider the five unconventional options below!

1. Start Your Own Business

Even while keeping the realities of starting your own business in mind, it’s hard to deny that it does allow you some extra freedom compared to a traditional career trajectory. There’s freedom to work with something you don’t have the experience to get a job doing. And the freedom to fail miserably again and again, without worrying about getting fired. You only have to worry about failing some more until you find what works. Then there’s the freedom to stop doing meaningless things that just don’t have any real purpose.

And while you might still be working the same horrible hours (or worse), at least it’s your own choice now, dammit!

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2. Volunteer on Your Own Terms

Instead of being forced into an internship, volunteer on your own terms. Choose a country you’ve always wanted to visit, or a cause you’ve always wanted to contribute to, and dedicate your time, and yourself, to helping others. For a few months, a year, or forever.

WWOOFing is getting more and more common, and is probably the easiest way to choose a location you’re specifically interested in visiting and still having the free time to explore and enjoy it. If you’re more interested in making a difference to a certain place or for a certain group of people, feel free to pursue other avenues. Some options are very much ill suited for the person who just wants some free travel. And if you end up going with that mentality, you’re likely to make a lot of enemies and probably enjoy yourself a lot less than you thought you would.

3. Take Odd Jobs and Live as a Nomad

Some people spit in the face of the ideas of “being responsible,” “settling down,” and “job security.” They choose travel first, and take temporary odd jobs to finance their travels. If they’re down to their last few dollars (or cents depending on the country) they might stay for a while, but only long enough to finance the next part of their endless journey.

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You can become one of these modern day nomads quite easily, but what follows is in all likelihood not going to be easy. On the other hand, trying to debate whether or not this is a real option for you from the outside looking in is probably not going to yield any real answer, so going for it might be the best decision if you’re tempted.

4. Choose an Unconventional Career

I remember thinking to myself when I was a kid that I wanted to be a writer. Not because of any need for fame, or that I felt like I was some sort of unprecedented literary genius (okay maybe a little bit of the latter), but the idea of being able to work from anywhere in the world appealed to me. A lot. And it still does.

In this day and age, while going into journalism or writing might seem like a bad decision (although it doesn’t have to be), there are plenty of new options for people who want more control over their daily lives. Freelance designers, developers, programmers, consultants, cinematographers — the list goes on.

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And then you have people who make a living doing exactly what they want to do. People who build an audience on YouTube, for example, can make money doing virtually anything, as long as they capture it on video or whatever format they use. If you can entertain people, there have never been more ways for you to make money from that ability. So go out there and make a name for yourself if you can.

5. Telecommute

If you’re not interested in going out on your own, volunteering, living as a modern nomad or suffering the stress that often comes with freelancing, telecommuting just might be your best choice.

Even standard office jobs are starting to become available for telecommuting these days. While this way you’re most likely still forced to go through the standard procedure of getting a job, and you will most likely have to deal with management too, once you have a telecommute job, you will have increased flexibility throughout your workday, and will save the time you would usually spend on commuting. And of course, you can move far, far, away if you feel like it. Telecommuting can be a way to make ends meet by moving out of an expensive city center, without having to endure a long and torturous daily commute.

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The downside is that you can only rely on your own willpower and focus to get things done. You don’t have any of the social pressures, or any of the watch-dog managers to force your butt into action. To make sure that you don’t stray too far off course, it’s good to maintain a workday routine, even at home, and avoid fitting in a “short” Netflix break here and there, tempting though it may be.

If any of the options appeal to you, but you feel like it’s too difficult, you can always start with baby steps. In fact, it just might be the very best way to tackle it, as gradually building momentum is a lot more motivating than always trying your best every day and never getting anywhere (because these things take time).

Ultimately, freedom is subjective, and if your vision of personal freedom aligns with a “normal job” or “normal life,” great. I’m not here to tell you that’s a bad idea for you. How could I possibly know that? I’m only pointing out ways you can add some freedom for change and movement on the work side of things, if that’s a priority for you.

Featured photo credit: Nagesh Jayaraman via flickr.com

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Ragnar Miljeteig

Ragnar is a passionate writer who blogs about personal development at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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