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The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the WorldJust two weeks since I picked up Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World at the launch event, I’ve finished reading it. Now comes the more difficult part of integrating the information into daily life.

While the whole book delivered many good tips about how to reformat how I approach life, some of them had particularly strong resonance as things that need to be done immediately.

Time management is a huge topic in this book. Why do we do the things we do? Often it’s because of a sense of commitment and not because  we actually need to do them. The recommendation is to take a hard look at each thing we do to make sure it’s worth our time. It is usually okay to say “no” to requests for your time. The overarching idea is that you should be spending your time doing the things that are important to you–things that further your work and further the work you’re doing to make the world a better place. I’m using this as a way to help me organize my to-do lists (along with creating a to-stop-doing list) and to reclaim some time. As shocking as it sounds, I’m actually reducing my hockey playing time this fall–not because I don’t enjoy it but because there are other things I want to spend my time on, such as revising my novel which has been on the back burner while I’ve been training for Braking the Cycle.

The other thing I’ve thought a lot about since I started reading Guillebeau’s blog is about what I can do to change the world that no one else can. That’s a tall order. It’s not just about changing the world, it’s doing it in a way that’s unique. I could work to change the world by getting involved with any number of non-profit groups, for example. But what can I do that no one else can? The book talks about this in more depth and offers up some great stories of people who’ve gone on to launch charities and other great work. It’s time for me to find my great work.

Not only does Guillebeau tell his own story through the book he also shares stories from others who are doing extraordinary things. There’s a story of a woman who, while looking for a job, shared the traits of any number of other applicants and so she decided to turn the tables and rather than interviewing for jobs she decided to interview bosses. The tactic got her a job at a company that wasn’t even hiring at the time but decided they wanted her for the out-of-the-box thinking.

The Art of Non-Conformity is packed with good information. If you want to shake up your life a bit and get motivated to start working on your legacy I highly recommend picking up this book.