Over the weekend, I was reading Chris Guillebeau’s book – The Art of Non-Conformity. One section that stood out was where he listed 11 ways to be unremarkably average. In fact, I liked it so much I’ve decided to share it today:
1. Accept what people tell you at face value
2. Don’t question authority
3. Go to college because you’re supposed to, not because you want to learn something
4. Go overseas once or twice in your life, to somewhere safe like England
5. Don’t try to learn another language; everyone else will eventually learn English
6. Think about starting your own business, but never do it
7. Think about writing a book, but never do it
8. Get the largest mortgage you qualify for and spend 30 years paying for it
9. Sit at a desk 40 hours a week for an average of 10 hours of productive work
10. Don’t stand out or draw attention to yourself
11. Jump through hoops. Check off boxes.
If you want nothing out of life, all you have to do is follow Chris’s list. I meet people all the time who claim they want more, but they never take action. For some, it’s easier to dream of a better life, then to go out there and get it.
Anyway, I LOVE this list. I’ll probably write it out on a whiteboard and hang it in my office.
If you want to know more about Chris, I definitely recommend you check his book and his online manifesto – A Brief Guide to World Domination. Both are excellent reads!Take Action. Get Results.
19 thoughts on “11 Ways to be Unremarkably Average”
All are on the money but 9 leaps off the page at me. If you want to be unremarkably average devote 40 hours per week for 40 years of your life to somebody else’s definite major purpose. Namely, the founder of the company.
Until you adopt your own definite major purpose and spend your life – not a few hours a day – to making this purpose a reality, you will be average. It’s not good, nor bad, necessarily. It just means you fit in. And I don’t think we were born to fit in.
3 is another one sheeple lead you to believe is a talisman of wisdom. If this is so why are most billionaires college drop outs? A college degree can help you to obtain street smarts but unless you learn to put this knowledge into action, creating street smarts, you will be average.
I find myself releasing the urge to fit in more ease day. I used to try to be myself; now it happens with less and less effort. Embrace your individuality and you will never be average.
Thanks for sharing the inspiration Steve.
You must be in a good mood to write an entertaining post. I loved reading it. It has some facts explained to learn from. I can not say which one I liked, as I enjoyed each and every one from the list. Chris is a good writer.
Have an awesome day
Been guilty of #9 “Sit at a desk 40 hours a week for an average of 10 hours of productive work” – for the longest time. Just spinning my wheels and getting little done.
I’ve come a LONG way since then thank goodness. I’ve learned to put systems in place so when I’m working I’m at my most productive … well at least most of the time. 😉
Thanks for the link to the manifesto! Will be sure to check it out.
@ Ryan, there is nothing wrong with spending 40 hours a week doing a 9-5, imo. But it should be at a job you love. If you do not “look forward” to working, at least on MOST days, there might be something wrong with what you are doing and it is time to set up and think up a change.
@Fran, thanks glad you like them. Chris is a very good writer. Quite entertaining.
@michele having that job where time literally ‘drips’ by is the worst, I was there once myself. Glad i got out relatively fast
No truer words have ever been written! I love his book, thanks for posting this, it is a great reminder to not follow the herd.
It looks like I’ve done a great job at being average. Can I get a medal?
I glanced at the title of this post without comprehending the ‘UN’ of unremarkable
and headed straight for the bullets points.
And thought to myself WTF, Steve, what have you been smoking?
Then I re-read the title. Ahhhh, the penny dropped. I get it!
The ANOC is on my list for my “read a book a week for 2011” challenge. I look forward to that one.
blAZE yOUR tRAIL
Whoah. I just read this in my copy of AONC this morning! Trippy, man! Steve, I think we might slowly be morphing into the same person.
I really liked this list, too, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the book so far. It’s a quick read but I really like Chris’s ideas.
There’s really nothing wrong with following that list… if you consciously choose it. Some people are indeed better off just doing a normal day job with no stress because it brings home the bacon to their family. Nothing wrong with that!
Hey thanks, Steve — really honored to be here on your blog. And I’m so glad you liked the book. All the best with world domination and everything else.
I love the list. Sit at your desk and dream. Why do anything about it? lol
I really like this book, it’s a great motivational / mind set book.
I agree, with you Steve, there’s nothing wrong with working 40 hours a week, as long as you are finding meaning and doing something you love. There’s a danger that a lot of people fall into, of assuming everyone who works in a ‘proper job’ is an idiot and all the internet marketeers out there peddling ways to make it online are the smart ones. The truth is without the folks in the ‘real jobs’ for a lot of these online businesses, they’d have no business at all.
Thanks for dropping by Chris, love your books and guides!
@ Matthew great point, I am very glad to have a job working on the internet. It would not be sustainable if there were no people working, “real jobs” though. I encourage people to try it if they are dissatisfied, but many people love what they do. If you do love what you do, why change? you love it after all?
@ Tristan Chris is a great guy, a very entertaining writer and has some really good ideas, things that are often hard to find all in one person.
@ Henway I agree …to a point I am not knocking the 9-5 lifestyle…as stated above, I am knocking doing it AND hating it. Doing just the minimum, never wanting to grow or learn. Not enjoying what you do. Really the internet lifestyle is AN option against all that (I believe) but certainly not the only option, the important thing is to be challenged by what you do, enjoy the work, grow as a person and experience life and all it has to offer. at least that is my opinion.
I too am guilty of #9, but I am trying to work this thing out and increase my productivity while decreasing lots of my distractions.
One good thing I see from this list is that it can motivate you, when you see a point that may describe you, then you know it’s not right and most people will try to do something about it.
Anyway, It’s a great list to have, it can keep you away from being average.
Hi Steve, I really got a chuckle out of this list. I’ve been working for myself since 2003 so I don’t resemble this list at all. My husband and I rent so we don’t even have a mortgage. I think it’s a great wake up call to people who are doing everything “by the book” but are unhappy.
About #5, I can’t tell you how many people find out I’m learning Spanish and say they wish they could. I tell them to just start. They tell me how hard it must be and how time consuming and expensive, and I just blow their excuses away. Most people won’t even try, though.
Okay, I’m guilty of #3, going to college because I was supposed to, but don’t hold that against me because I’m doing pretty good on the rest of them. I haven’t started #5 yet, but I will.
I think if people make concious decisions on how they want to spend their lives, they’re fine. It’s when they say “I can’t because… [fill in the blank with any excuse that makes the problem something or someone else rather than them]” or just drift along, then that’s not ok in my book.
Really appreciate the tongue in cheek way to bring awareness of how not to get ahead. Sometimes it takes a real hard look at what’s not working to motivate others towards their personal best. My hope is that your article here is a wake up call for people to begin making the most of their life.
I really enjoyed reading this. I have two kids who are in college right now, and I think I will share the list with them. I always tell them that if they want to achieve something, then they have to be willing to out work their competition.
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