Creating an Unlife Life

By October 8, 2012Inspiration

Our lives contain an interesting mix of past and present. We carry forward a legacy from our parents, our experiences, and our communities. Many of these elements can be good, as they form a foundation from which we can build. Some can be bad, as they can hold us back or carry forward unhealthy habits and principles.

In living, there is an unliving activity required. It is undoing what needs to remain in the past. Life requires us to live anew while unliving damage. It is in this unlife/life mix we live in a better way, growing and advancing our gifts.

In creating our unlife life, our practices of learning and unlearning requires sharpening. In living an unlife life, we need to prevent remaining stuck in the past while doing certain things to stay unstuck going forward.

Learning/Unlearning and Stuck/Unstuck creates a life receipe to make and take in fully.

  • Learn vs. Unlearn:  What activities are done or time is spent in doing both?
  • Stuck vs. Unstuck:  What keeps us stuck or unstuck?

Creating an Unlife Life

Our thoughts and actions place (un)learning against (un)stuck, setting the stage to see what really matters in creating our (un)life.

Each combination brings insight to embrace and engage.

  • Advance (Learn/Stuck):  In the quadrant of learning yet being stuck, it delivers a message of advancement. To get moving in a better direction, we may need to read different books, go to different groups, or attend different conferences. We need to move forward in our learning if we hope to get unstuck. We need to move forward in our relationships if we hope to reach a new level of conversation and support. We either have become too comfortable or held back in understanding of what is really possible in our life. It is time to advance.
  • Revitalize (Unlearn/Stuck):  In the box of unlearning yet being stuck, the indication may be that we are not unlearning what needs to be. If we are still stuck, some habit is being used to hold us in place. We need to pay closer attention to certain actions and thoughts and then unplug from them. In a moment, we may recognize our undoing by doing what we disliked when growing up or working in a certain team. It is time to revitalize our thoughts and actions.
  • Refresh (Unlearn/Unstuck):  In the frame of unlearning and being unstuck, we are likely keeping our perspective and habits refreshed at the right rate. We need to keep aware so that the renewal process happens frequently to prevent slipping into a stuck state. It may mean setting life mile markers to ensure we are always moving forward in the right direction. It is spending the necessary time to refresh.
  • Align (Learn/Unstuck):  In the state of learning and being unstuck, we need to continue to align our learning efforts in a way to stay on this path. It is about not getting stale in what we are reading or the people we are interacting with. It is not about abandoning certain learning practices, but it is about standing guard against becoming too comfortable with current ones. We have the right direction in our sights, and we need to continue to move in a smart line. It is devoting the necessary time to align.

We need to live an unlife. We need to add a sparkle to our perspectives and pop open our thoughts and actions to embrace new practices. We need to live our life in an unlife way, balancing what we think and do in order to create a more purposeful life.

Create an unlife life. Live fulfilled.

Join in. In what ways do you balance learning and unlearning in order to avoid getting stuck and live a more purpose-filled life?

Jon Mertz
Jon Mertz is one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business and highlighted as one of the Leaders to Watch in 2015 by the American Management Association. He also is the author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders. Jon serves as vice president of marketing at Corepoint Health. Outside of his professional life, Jon brings together a community to inspire Millennial leaders and close the gap between two generations of leaders.
Jon Mertz
Jon Mertz

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Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Ali Davies says:

    Came to this post form your Unlife poem post. Love what you are saying here and totally agree. Unlearning can present a lot of challenges especially if we are not aware that there are things we need to unlearn. A reminder that the first step in any change is awareness – so we need to learn how to create awareness in order to unlearn things that hold us back.

    • Jon M says:

      Thanks, Ali, for your insights on this. Unlearning is an important life activity we need to embrace more often in order to move forward in a renewed, purposeful way. I hope you consider writing your own “un” perspective on your blog, as I would love to collect several different views to promote and offer out to this community. Thanks! Jon

  • Gani D. Capaning says:

    Jon, this is such a powerful perspective! In the context of organizations, there is limitless potential to what individuals may be able to contribute if each one starts living the unlife life! You are definitely thriving here on solid ground. I can’t help but relate this with a previous reflection I wrote in my blog:

    More power, Jon! Keep up and keep on!

  • […] by Susan Mazza on October 16, 2012 “In living, there is an unliving activity required. It is undoing what needs to remain in the past. Life requires us to live anew while unliving damage. It is in this unlife/life mix we live in a better way, growing and advancing our gifts.” Jon Mertz (aka @thindifference) from Creating an Unlife Life […]

  • Great message Jon! I so agree with you about the importance of letting go of the past and periodically cleaning out our mental clutter in order to keep making room for new information and experiences.

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