Unboxed Life

Boldly existing outside the box through conscious living and constant learning.

How Chris Guillebeau Lives Unboxed

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting and listening to Chris Guillebeau, the creator of The Art of Non Conformity and author of the books “The Art of Non Conformity” and “The $100 Startup.” In addition to being a well know author and unconventionalist he is also an adventure seeker who has the goal of visiting every country in the world. I have been reading and being influenced by Chris for a long time now and have found so many things that have improved my life and helped me find my own path to freedom from his work. Chris is a writer, world traveler, and ardent advocate of thinking outside any and all boxes.

Chris Guillebeau signing my book and attempting to answer one of my many questions

After listening to Chris speak in Seattle recently I asked him if I could interview him about how he has made a life out of leaving behind tired, pre-determined methods of success and finding freedom in life outside the box. He graciously agreed and below you will find the interview. What I most wanted to find out was how Chris not only took the first step to an unconventional life, but how he continues to be enriched by a life spent in constant learning and expanding of his mind. After the Q & AA (questions and awesome answers) we will recap and see what Chris’ answers tell us about Unboxed Living. Enjoy!

1. What first led or inspired you to look at life differently and leave behind the pre-determined path society has for us all?

Well, I got my start as a juvenile delinquent, so I’m not sure that’s the best path for everyone to follow. Thankfully, I eventually improved after I got out of the detention center and stopped stealing cars.

2. Why don’t more people seek an Unboxed Life?

Some of them don’t know it’s possible, and others don’t know what to do to make it happen. This is why it helps to have examples of different kinds of people who have found their own unconventional life, in their own way. It also helps to show how those people have done it, and what obstacles they overcame on the way.

3. What are your most important tips for someone looking to break out of conformist thinking?

Ask why. Always be thinking about motivations — what do you really want to do? Who do you want to become? Next, think about what’s stopping you, and how you can make deliberate choices to get closer to your ideal life.

Ultimately, though, it all comes down to action. You have to do something different, not just think about it.

4. What role does service play in living a life that matters?

Service is essential and shouldn’t just be an afterthought to everything else. First, anyone who reads this post has tremendous privileges and opportunities that are unique to our time in history and our place in the world. We do indeed have a responsibility to do everything we can for others.

Second, pursuing service isn’t a sacrifice; it’s something that improves our own lives as well. I use the phrase “selfish generosity”—as we seek to engage, we also benefit.

5. You have made a goal of visiting every country in the world. How have those experiences helped you expand your mind?

Great question. In the beginning, the quest was mostly about self-discovery and my own love of adventure. Over time it evolved to a sense of learning about the world and being willing to be changed through it. As I come to the end of the journey, I’m still unpacking some of the lessons and what it all means.

6. If you had to choose one, what would be the greatest benefit of living life unbound by the confines of mental boxes?

If I had to choose one benefit, I’d choose the benefit of freedom itself. The desire to live life unbound is a powerful motivation; the ability to actually do so is addicting. Once you experience it, watch out! It’s hard to go back.

end interview

First of all I would like to thank Chris for taking the time to answer these questions and giving us all some insight into how to build a unique and unconventional life outside the box. Just as he said above it is so valuable to look at people who are blazing the trail to freedom and learn from what they have achieved. I think that Chris has some valuable advice and powerful experience to share here that we can all utilize on our journey to an Unboxed Life.

I would like to pick out a couple of points and expand on them. In question #3 Chris talks about the importance of both thinking about the life you want and then taking action to make it happen. We have talked about this idea before and I don’t think it can be overstressed. The importance of turning our desires and passions into tangible action and steps is often our greatest challenge. That is a lot about what Chris’ book The $100 Startup is all about. Action coupled with honest, critical thought about what drives your passions will lead you closer to the life you want.

In questions #4 Chris talks about the importance of service and our collective responsibility to take care of each other. One of the core principles of Unboxed Life is the pursuit of true service to others and experiencing the full spectrum of the human experience through serving. I think Chris sums it up when he says, “We do indeed have a responsibility to do everything we can for others.” I couldn’t agree more.

Lastly, Chris talks so much in almost all of his work about the idea of freedom. Each person will have their own definition of freedom much like we all have our own definitions of success and happiness. Freedom really means having how you spend your time and live your life be in line with your passions and desires and be able to pursue those things with the majority of your time. An Unboxed Life is one where the freedom from constricting mental boxes allows us to pursue a life that matters and to create a better world through our life’s work. But be warned, “The desire to live life unbound is a powerful motivation; the ability to actually do so is addicting.” Perfectly said Chris.

As we all pursue our own version of freedom and seek to expand our minds through a variety of avenues there is one idea that binds it all together: The life you are told to live doesn’t have to be the one you choose to live. Be willing to work hard and take your freedom back, go out there and make your extraordinary life happen. Though it will be a lifelong pursuit, today can be the birth, the moment when thoughts turn to action, when desires become reality and the box becomes obliterated. Thanks again to Chris Guillebeau and to all of you for reading.

Me and Chris photo: here

Freedom pic: tim phillips photos


12 comments on “How Chris Guillebeau Lives Unboxed

  1. julia christine stephen
    June 20, 2012

    It took me a lot of time to stop caring what everyone else wanted from me and to live the life I wanted…now I’m happy 🙂

    • Tanner Colton
      June 20, 2012

      Amazing! I love hearing stories of people who have found success and freedom in life. The path is never easy but the reward is well worth the effort. Good luck and keep being awesome! Thanks for the comment.

  2. Holli
    June 20, 2012

    I really like what Julia said too. I think somehow in American culture we’re taught to live up to the expectations of others – be it our parents or peers or ideals at some point in life.

    What I love about Chris’ work is that it’s applicable no matter where you are in life. As a stay at home Mom, I found inspiration to write and start a photography business that I never thought I “had time for” – and it meant cutting out TV, cutting down on my tidiness standards and putting it on the priority list:)

    Thanks for doing the interview, Tanner. I always love learning more about “how” and “why” others have broken out of the boxed life!

    • Tanner Colton
      June 20, 2012

      I totally agree, it seems that sometimes people decide that an unconventional life is “not for them” because of this or that. It is awesome to see that people from all walks of life and in all places in life can find freedom and happiness in their own way. I think that no matter what point we are at in life we can decide to take charge and ownership of our lives and make a change. Thanks for the comment and sharing your story, keep up the awesome work too!

  3. kolena
    June 20, 2012

    What a great post thank you for sharing. It is nice to hear how other people choose to live their life it is very inspiring.

    • Tanner Colton
      June 20, 2012

      Thanks Kolena, that is one of the best benfits of writing this blog, I get to hear stories of amazing people and be inspired every day to keep thinking Unboxed. Take care and good luck.

  4. The Professor
    June 24, 2012

    Great interview!!! I love Chris’ stuff.

    Mark Blasini

    • Tanner Colton
      June 24, 2012

      Me too, he is a huge part of why I am doing this writing thing! I love his work and just his whole philosophy of gaining freedom through doing what we love. Awesome! Thanks for the comment!

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