Many people still get living life on your own terms wrong. So this post is for them.
It’s not when you’re following other people’s advice only because they’ve got more experience, but when you’re carefully calculating and strategizing and then deciding on your own.
It’s not when you’re wasting your present in regrets for the past, but focusing on action that can change the future outcome.
It’s not when you’re traveling the world thinking you’re free or independent, but using someone else’s money or help somehow. It’s when you’ve been saving for some time, and then go somewhere far away, spend at least a few weeks there, enjoy every second and every challenge on the way (there will be many if you do it right), and come back a better person.
It’s not when you’re going to college to make your relatives proud and let society accept you, telling yourself that’s the best career trajectory. But when you take a few courses that you think are a good investment of your time, and dedicate all your free time to self-education.
That means reading anything you can from people you admire, learning the ins and outs of entrepreneurship, sales and marketing, checking out the success stories of businesses you want to replicate, talking to people in real life who have something to share, testing your own ideas until one works.
Most people trick themselves into believing all that makes them independent and they’re living life on their own terms. But they’re simply lying to themselves.
Now that I’ve given examples of what living life on your own terms is not, let’s see what are the actual elements of this lifestyle:
1. Self-realization is the foundation.
If you haven’t made some changes related to personal and spiritual growth on the inside, you can’t start living the ideal life.
Because without fully accepting yourself for who you are together with your past and mistakes, without clearly defining what you don’t like about your current life and making a plan on how to remove it, without creating a vision for the near future and always keeping it in mind, without dealing with your fears, doubts and insecurities, without letting go of all the anger, disappointment in yourself and the desire to be liked and not judged by others – then you simply can’t move on in the right direction, and can’t enjoy the present moment for what it is.
So if you never set time aside to jot down some ideas on what you want to change, or to think about the way your past is preventing you from living in the moment, then you definitely aren’t living life on your own terms. At least not yet.
Not to worry, though. It’s never too late to get closer to it.
Sit down today, empty your mind, and start drawing a picture in your mind of who you want to be and how you want to live.
Then, see what negative qualities you possess now, what bad habits you have, and physical barriers like a limiting environment, a job that makes you miserable, or people holding you back. These are the things that need to go away first so that you can make room for better behavior, mindset, and – ultimately – reality.
Don’t stop until you feel like you finally know where you belong and are determined to get there.
Self-realization is also related to finding peace of mind, to realizing your potential and that there’s a lot you can offer to contribute to the world in different ways. And, as a result, finding the will, motivation and confidence to speak up for yourself, set some big goals, and go out and take action, day after day.
2. It’s not about the money, but that is one of the tools to get where you’re headed.
When lifestyle designers, successful business owners, creatives working for themselves, or any other independent individual who’s going after what he wants and deserves in life speaks about what it takes to live this way, most people consider that too materialistic.
But here’s the reality.
These ambitious, focused and happy souls I just mentioned, are a group who’ve earned not just every dollar, but who’ve strategized for years, have failed many times, have lost hope and found it again, so that they can now not just provide for themselves, but have a lifestyle business.
Some make just enough money to provide for themselves and their loved ones.
Others are more about the game of entrepreneurship and preferred to scale and create systems, and thus make passive income. Meaning, they can be sleeping, or be anywhere else in the world, and still make money without being behind the screen.
The options are many, the end goal is usually the same – living an enjoyable lifestyle, not depending on location, a boss, a workweek, or fixed working hours.
But, hey, still working harder! Just with a more focused mind and on better and more meaningful things than the average person.
So all that work the people living independently are doing involves thinking about, making and spending money.
Yes, money is a big part of it.
But here’s the deal. These inspiring souls have also developed the right money mindset.
They respect it, know how much they need to make to live the ideal lifestyle, and know exactly how to spend it wisely. Just like they manage their life and time, so they do with money.
So only when you make this mental change, can you be living life on your own terms.
And even when you’re traveling the world for 6 months, even when you prefer to stay at a luxury hotel, even when you build the ultimate home office at your place so you can do better and deep work, even when you start wearing suits made by top brands, you still won’t be materialistic. You’ll just have raised the standards of your enjoyable lifestyle.
3. Providing your own security.
Living life on your own terms also includes creating a safe environment for yourself, and letting it be the foundation of your future achievements.
- leaving your parents’ home;
- not using their money anymore;
- hopefully leaving your hometown (or even better, home country);
- paying your bills for a start when you’re just renting a place;
- finding a better home for yourself (even if you don’t own it);
- covering your health insurance and taking control of your health by having regular checkups;
- learning the basics of money management;
- finding a way to make money on the side;
- working for yourself;
- fixing all possible legal and financial issues in the beginning so you don’t have any unexpected problems later on;
- removing toxic people from your life;
- saving some money;
- maybe thinking about investing;
- having multiple income streams so that you don’t depend on one online business project, for instance, as nothing is sure and it often depends on outer factors.
When you’ve got this covered and have done something about each of these (the last few are next-level, of course, so don’t be in a hurry, just keep each in mind), you can enjoy your life and aim higher.
It’s important, though, that you don’t let anyone provide this for you.
There are women who consider themselves independent but, in fact, their boyfriends got the apartment or car. That doesn’t count. In fact, I know people like that, and I wouldn’t wanna be living their life.
There are also the people who are on a top position in a profitable company, but their family runs it. That doesn’t count either.
The only way to be truly satisfied with each and every aspect of your life, and to be living life on your own terms, is to take responsibility for your own problems, fix your own issues, and achieve your own goals.
Of course, once you’ve done that, and when you’ve built the character and discipline necessary to do that all over again even if something bad happens, you’ll be ready to let other people in your life, sell a place to buy a new one together with someone special, start a family, sell a business to retire young, or else. The possibilities are endless, but you are the one who lays the foundations for all this.
4. Making our own decisions, conscious ones.
You aren’t living life on your own terms if you let other people dictate the way you think or live.
But you are independent when you take decisions fast, and then act upon each and make the most of what you got.
Simple as that.
You also shouldn’t be afraid to speak up when you have something to say, to reject people’s offers even if someone ends up hurt (he’ll get over it, and you’re still saving yourself and him precious time).
Once you get to that point, you’ll also have better communication and will make sure that you form meaningful relationships with those you decide to keep in your life.
And how awesome is it that anyone you have around you will be there because you enjoy their company and are learning and growing together!
I can go on like this more. Living life on your own terms feels fantastic. I’m doing it, and there’s more to work on, of course. The challenge never stops.
It’s amazing to see how people start taking you seriously once you yourself begin doing that. Then, they come to ask you for jobs, for life advice, and for conversations to spend some time with you.
And all that, not because you crave attention, but simply because you’re doing your own things, are creating your own path, are setting your own rules, and are making a statement with everything you do with your life 🙂
Writing this post might have been the highlight of my day. It’s still early morning, though, and I’m so energized and excited for all the opportunities that are everywhere, so we’ll see about that.
Over to you now.
What does living life on your own terms mean to you?
We all have different versions of success, happiness, lifestyle design, etc. So share that. I accept anything. Also, it would be nice if you add another point to the list in this article.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
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