Unconventional Ideas to Help You Think and Live Outside the Box

All It Takes is One


“We all agreed that your idea is crazy. What divides us is whether it is crazy enough.”

Niels Bohr

Not all of the 20+ unconventional ideas below will interest you. You’ll think some are pointless, unoriginal, or too difficult. That’s fine. Because all it takes is one.

Hopefully just one of these unconventional ideas sparks your curiosity and inspires you towards extraordinary things. And hopefully it’ll be crazy enough to break you out of your puny little comfort zone for good.

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Unconventional Ideas

Human user manual image

1. Use personal user manuals


Get along with each other better.

Instead of expecting people to decipher your quirks, preferences, pet peeves, and motivations through trial and error, put together a personal user manual and send it to them.

Read More: Personal User Manuals: Good Samples and Tips on Making Your Own

Kim and Chris together peeing in an outhouse in northern Canada.
Take a seat guys and join the ladies. Pee sitting down.

2. Pee sitting down if you’re a man.


End the toilet seat debate for good

It’s cleaner, more relaxing, and any female you share your home will be grateful for it. But only do it at home, never in nature or if a urinal is available.

Read More: Why Men Should Pee Sitting Down (At Home)

De-motivational speaking cover image of Kim giving thumbs down

3. De-motivational speaking


Burst some bubbles for the greater good.

Participation trophies and “If you can believe it you can achieve it” mantras are turning into us into a bunch of deluded, entitled, self-talking lunatics. It’s like an eternal grown-up Halloween of people pretending (and believing) they’re superheroes and getting candy for it.

The antidote? Bursting bubbles with de-motivational speaking.

Read More: De-Motivational Speaking: Enough Being “Nice,” Let’s Get Real

4. Do stuff alone


Stop feeling so self-conscious.

Befriend yourself. Go to movies alone. Eat dinner at a nice restaurant alone. Travel to a new country alone. Go bowling alone. And don’t bring your phone with you as company either.

Alexander Technique review cover image of Chris lying on the ground as instructed by his teacher.
Chris doing his intense Alexander Technique homework.

5. Try the Alexander Technique


Mindfulness for your body.

Like mindfulness does for your mind, the Alexander Technique reduces stress, clears up pain, and improves effectiveness for your body. It’s body-fulness!

Read More: Alexander Technique Review: A Skeptic’s Take After 10 Classes

6. Pack an extension cord


Stay plugged in when traveling.

Extension cords always end up coming in handy by helping you reach inconveniently-located outlets, turning one plug into three, and even serving as a rope or clothes hanger when push comes to shove.

Read More: Minimalist Packing List for Men: The Best 57 Items to Take Everywhere

7. Ditch the gym and work out outside


Get a naturally fit body and mind.

Do sprints, jumps, handstands, pull-ups, and partner exercises. Go even when the weather’s shitty. Your mind and body will feel freer than ever.

Read More: Why You Should Ditch the Gym and Work Out Outside

Chris reviewing the DEXA scan with Peter
Chris reviewing his DEXA scan.

8. Ditch your scale and get a DEXA scan


Keep track of your weight-loss or gains.

Scales cannot distinguish between muscle and fat. DEXA scans can. They’re non-invasive x-rays that accurately measure your body fat, lean mass, and bone density. What’s extra cool is that it gives you those measurements by body part!

Read More: How a DEXA Scan Get Help You Achieve Your Fitness Goals

9. Brush your body with a daily mobility routine


Prevent your body from decaying.

Just as you protect your teeth from decaying by brushing them daily, protect your body with a daily mobility routine. Moving your body across all its possible ranges of motion for just a few minutes a day will keep you spry and pain-free for decades to come.

As they say, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”

Read More: Brush Your Body With a Daily Mobility Routine

10. Sleep on the floor


Realign your spine.

Sleeping on a marginally-padded floor (no pillow needed either) will help your spine realign to its natural position and can help eliminate back pain.

Plus it saves you tons of floor space and money on mattresses!

Read More: Sleeping on the Floor Is Overrated. But So Are Beds.

Chris and Kim living the high life at a Cape Town winery

11. Turn the conventional ring shopping process upside down


Find the perfect engagement ring.

Save the part about how much money to spend for the very end, ignore the marketing hype and start by figuring out with your partner what the point of the ring is and what unconventional alternatives will be best for your relationship.

Read More: Rethinking How to Find the Perfect Engagement Ring

12. Exchange daily gratitude


Fight less with your partner or spouse.

Every day, tell your partner or spouse something different about them that you are grateful for.

As the years progress, it gets harder and harder to come up with new gratefuls, but you’ll also notice your fights get fewer and farther between.

Read More: Daily Gratitude: The Cheese but Easy Way to Fix a Struggling Relationship

water fasting tips cover image of an empty plate and glass of water

13. Fast


Overcome your addiction to food.

Don’t consume anything but water for days at a time. You’ll realize you don’t need to eat all the time and at certain times of day, give your digestive system a long-overdue and well-deserved chance to rest and recover, and potentially get closer to kicking your hunger habit.

Read More: What to Expect from a 3-Day Fast if You’ve Never Fasted Before

Enjoy food more carnal eating cover image

14. Carnal eating


A hedonistic approach to eating more healthily.

To eat carnally is to treat forking like f**king. It’s picking the right partners, getting in the mood, making it meaningful, extracting maximum enjoyment, and doing it well. And it’s natural. So if the whole “mindful eating” feels boring, clinical, and dry to you, give it a try.

Read More: “Carnal Eating”: A Mindful Eating Alternative to Enjoy Food More

15. Log everything you do


Regain control of your time and memories.

Put that phone that never leaves your side to good use by logging your activities day in and day out. Every time you finish an activity or task, note the time and, briefly, what you did.

You’ll become conscious of how you’re spending your time, which will cause you to use it more wisely. And you’ll be able to look back at your logs years later to rekindle fond memories.

Read More: Lifelogging: Can Keeping Track of Everything You Do Help You Do More?

Travel tips and tricks cover of Kim in Jordan

16. Try some unconventional travel tips


Experience extraordinary travels.

Put a hole in your bucket lists, learn photography even if you don’t care to, embrace the planning process, always ask for the price first, learn certain phrases rather than general ones in foreign languages… and many more.

Read More: The Best Travel Tips and Tricks Our Moms Never Told Us

17. Move to a new city


Change your perspective on life.

Move to a new city, ideally one in a different country for at least a few months.

Rather than be a tourist there, integrate yourself. Introduce new friends to your culture and allow them to introduce you to theirs. Open your mind, try new things, and when (if!) you return home, your perspective won’t be the same.

Read More: How to Move to a New City and Make New Friends

One of the 36 questions that can create a bond between you and anybody in no time.

18. Go through 36 questions with someone


Make a new intimate friend in one sitting.

According to The Power of Moments, strangers who’ve gone through these 36 scientifically-devised and increasingly-intense questions rate their level of intimacy as high as that of best friends or family members.

19. Throw dinner parties.


Make new friends as adults.

Rather than go to some restaurant where others cook for you while you absentmindedly talk about the same topics as always as you check out other tables from the corner of your eye, invite a few new people to the intimacy of your home, cook something yourself (it really doesn’t matter what), and organize a game or activity (blind taste tests are great) to spice things up.

Read More: Host Better Dinner Parties With These 5 Counterintuitive Steps

Close up of Austin tasting aguardiente with disgusted Caroline in background
Are you sure you know your true preferences or have marketers and society brainwashed you?

20. Do blind taste tests.


Stop wasting money on overpriced food and drink.

Whatever you blind taste test—wine, beer, croissants, California roll sushi, pizza, gelatoColombian cheese, rum, coffee—you’ll likely make surprising discoveries about your taste preferences that will change what you buy at the supermarket or order at restaurants.

Plus they’re fun.

Read More: Blind Taste Test Ideas, FAQ, and How to Conduct One in 13 Steps

21. Hire a coach.


Accelerate your development.

And we don’t mean a life coach.

Just as you would hire a coach to accelerate your learning of a specific sport, identify a specific skill you want to improve (like public speaking, negotiating, writing, or typing), find people who are the best at it, and ask them to refer you to someone who might be able to coach you one-on-one.

Flags of the Esperanto language, one of the unconventional ideas we've suggested in our Unconventional Monthly.
Should we all learn the language behind this flag? [Photo credit: Ziko, CC BY-SA 3.0via Wikimedia Commons]

22. Learn Esperanto


The shortcut to learning other languages faster.

Esperanto was invented to be learned in as little as 150 hours. Studies find that students who studied Esperanto before taking on another “real” language learned that “real” language 25-to-50% faster than their counterparts who studied the “real” language from the start.

23. Train for the Centenarian Olympics


Stay fit and healthy longer.

Imagine there was an Olympic Games for 100-year-olds and start training for it now.

Training with this mindset, even when you’re many decades away, may be for you greater good. It disincentivizes training that could cost you later on in life (running and jumping on cement, steroids, imbalanced training) and refocuses your regime on what matters (mobility, strength, coordination). Maybe it’ll hold you back a little now when you’re young, but it may also help you feel like a gold medalist when you’re 100.

Read More: How to Be Fit at 100: The Centenarian Olympics

24. Phone people


Waste less time on emails and text messages.

Emailing and text messaging seem easier at first, but then they morph into time-swallowing discussions that could’ve been handled more quickly and clearly with a call.

And as for the quick questions, if it’s not worth calling somebody about, it’s almost certainly not worth emailing or texting about either.

Pretirement cover image of Chris on the beach
Chris loving pretirement life.

25. Pretire


Find a career worth living for.

Pre-retire, a.k.a. “pretire,” well in advance of retirement age. Travel and destress to factory reset your brain then pursue your interests without monetary concerns.

Odds are before you run out of pretirement funds you’ll have found a new profession that doesn’t feel like working.

Read More: The Unexpected Consequences of “Pretiring” at 27

More Unconventional Ideas

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Chris and Kim

Kim and Chris started The Unconventional Route in 2018 to share their adventures fighting complacency to win at life. Today, over 150,000 people a month visit the site and thousands more explore a dose of uncomplacent ideas with them every 10 days in their free newsletter, Consider This.

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