Three Vignettes on Unlife Life Choices

By October 11, 2012Inspiration

Live an Unlife Life

Creating an unlife life is vital. It is a balance of unlearning and learning to live unstuck, empowering us to grow and live a purpose-filled life. To build on this philosophy, this post contains a unique mix of three perspectives on an unlife life.


Have you ever had that feeling of “it just isn’t going to work out?” What do you do? Stay or move on?

Sitting on an American Airlines flight, the story was set. It involved things out of my control, as most life stories do. With the disputes and slowdowns at American, their flights have been messed up.

I had a small window of time to make my connection. With the multiple delays, the time gap closed. I could stay on the plane and hope the next flight was delayed, too. I could stay on and just hope something would work out. The likely result, though, would be staying overnight in a crappy hotel and then returning the next day (a circular path with no real result). Although my outcome seemed clear, there is still an uncertainty of whether or not to act or just sit still.

So it is with life, too. We may know the path we are on will not take us to where we want to go, yet we stay on it. We hesitate. We know we shouldn’t, yet we do.

What we need to do is unbuckle from where we are. We need to get off the wrong path and get on a better one. After all, it is about living with a solid sense of direction and related actions.


We look into their eyes. We see their habits unfold. It is almost déjà vu, at least to the observer.

No one is perfect. When we see a parent who consistently exhibits a negative behavior, the last thing anyone wants is to have it carried forward. Years unfold, and the behavior begins to appear in a son or daughter. For all the expressions of “I will never be like her/him,” they begin to be like them. The chains of that past are hard to break. Years wear on our behaviors, like water streaming over stones… eventually the mark is left.

It takes real effort to unchain from past examples. We need to make the effort to break free and adopt better behaviors and habits. This isn’t an indictment on all parents; it is a call to unlearn and raise up our efforts.

We need to try our very best to embrace habits worthy of our time and worthwhile for generations to come.


Although “unlife” may sound unnatural, it is a positive way to refresh our perspective and lighten our load, freeing us to live in a better way.

In 1967, an innovative marketing campaign for 7UP hit, positioning the drink as an uncola. It was done to change popular tastes from drinking dark cola to a clear one. The uncola campaign was designed to change our habits away from the “establishment” view of what soda should be. It was about undoing our thoughts and actions with cola. As a result of refreshing our perspective, habits were changed and sales for 7UP rose 56 percent in one year. Change happened.

There is a parallel to life.

Just as uncola changed perceptions and actions, unlife must serve as a wake-up call. To live life anew and fully, we need to unpack old ways at times and adopt new, better practices and perspectives. It is about advancing forward. This is our life responsibility.

An unlife is much more valuable to life than uncola is to cola.

Just think… if our new, positive thoughts and actions increased 56 percent in one year, imagine what we could accomplish!

What is your advice in how to unbuckle from a wrong path, unchain from past bad habits, and unpack old perspectives? Join the life conversation.

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

Latest posts by Jon Mertz (see all)

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Lisa Buben says:

    Nice post, it reminds us that we can change things – we don’t have to stay the course if something is not working. We can find something better that will make a difference in our life. Something I needed today 🙂

    • Jon M says:

      Thanks, Lisa. I am glad it resonated. Love your statement – “We can find something better that will make a difference in our life.” An vital point to remember. Thanks! Jon

  • […] his article, Three Vignetters on Unlife Life Choices, Jon Mertz provides three great examples of un-life choices we can make: unbuckle from a wrong […]

  • Scott Mabry says:

    Great post Jon. Often when we fail to act we leave our destiny in the hands of others and more often than not this leads us down a path we regret, a path that was not our intention. It’s hard to act when you are uncertain, when it might rub others the wrong way, when it seems like it’s better not to rock the boat…but a meaning filled life requires choices, we may have to get up…when we’d rather sit and hope.

Leave a Reply