In order to be able to live on your own terms you will have to shake off social shackles, swim upstream, become aware, and not give a shit about what others think. Breaking rules and making your own can be tough. Here are just a few quick reminders that can help you in your quest to make your own kind of music.
1) Think for yourself
If you accept everything you are told you will be manipulated. Blind trust has caused the world’s greatest miseries. Question the outer world as well as examine your own conscious thoughts and feelings. A lack of introspection and self-reflection makes delusional.
Critical thinking saves you a lot of regrets and stress. It makes you more conscious, a prerequisite for living on your own terms. In his book, A Demon Haunted World, Carl Sagan put it like this,“Avoidable human misery is more often caused not so much by stupidity as by ignorance, particularly our ignorance about ourselves.”
2) Don’t care so much what others think
The Dude abides. While in the cult classic -The Big Lebowski – abiding a.k.a. submitting is criticized, on a personal level it can be seen as admirable. Do other’s not agree with your choices? Well, that’s just their opinion man. There is no truth, only perceptions. Block those illusions, only what you think of yourself matters. “If you don’t mind it doesn’t matter.” Various famous people advocate that not giving a shit can bring you so much.
3) Find out what matters most to you
Call it your purpose, your calling or just that what ticks the box for you. Research shows that almost half of the adult Americans haven’t determined a sense of purpose in their lives. Without having this at least somewhat figured out “live life on your own terms” is just a hollow phrase. No wonder so many people find themselves drifting like rudderless ships through their own existence.
4) Never give up control
Know what you want. Take control. Navigate life with a compass setting your own course instead of reacting on blips popping up on your existential radar. There’s a world of difference between proactive living and reactive drifting.
5) Take responsibility for your happiness
Don’t give your happiness and self-worth out of hands. By putting it all in someone else’s hands you have a surefire formula for misery. Love yourself. See yourself as the most important person in your life. This way, by saying I love you to someone else, you are giving something truly valueable instead of just wanting them to fill a gap in your dignity.
6) Question your culture
Culture, commonly hailed as noble and admirabe, is not your friend. This may be an eye-opener to you.
7) Avoid debt
Bought a house on a mortgage? Technically you didn’t buy it. You are leasing it. When your debt is payed off you are free to do with it what you want. Such as renting it out. Until that time, the bank owns it. And you.
Debt limits you, costs you, owns you, harms you. Even the Bible says, “The borrower is servant to the lender”. For many debt is seemingly not a problem but when you desire to live on your terms debt doesn’t really help. Image, StockMonkeys.
8) Don’t believe in anything
Psychonaut Terence McKenna’s technique was to not believe in anything. He said, “My technique, which I recommend to you, is, don’t believe anything. If you believe in something, you are automatically precluded from believing its opposite”.
Based on his anti-ideological stance and profound psychedelics-induced introspectives he put things in perspective by saying,
After all, what is the basis for believing anything? I mean, you have to understand: You’re a monkey. In some kind of a biological situation where everything has been evolved to serve the economy of survival—this is not a philosophy course. So belief is a curious reaction to the present at hand. It isn’t to be believed, it’s to be dealt with—experienced and modeled.
9) Except for yourself
Fear and self-doubt are the single biggest obstacles to personal genius. Stay true to what matters most, stay true to yourself. Have the guts to be your own person.
10) Mind your own business
Wouldn’t allowing other people to live on their terms be the right thing to do? On top of that, sticking your nose in other’s business can backfire too, like this joke describes,
I was walking past the mental hospital the other day and all the patients were shouting, ’13….13…..13.’ The fence was too high to see over, but I saw a little gap in the planks. I looked through to see what was going on…..Some bastard poked me in the eye with a stick! Then they all started shouting ’14…..14….14…. Image: Indulgy.
11) Take action
Noticed how omnipresent Obey fashionwear and Keep Calm ecards are? It’s a sign of our apathic times. Stand up to this. Question everything, wake up and speak up. TV zombifies, pharmaceutical drugs keep docile, corporate sponsored education brainwashes, governments practice illegal activites. Defy oppression. Get informed, read, discuss, make art, think, contemplate, protest, withdraw, change. Do anything subversive that aids towards a better world and a more self-determined life.
12) Realize you’re allowed to choose your own path
Doing things differently seems counterintuitive, not done and even prohibited but it’s your life, your choices, your path, your destiny. Do only what you belief in. Whether it’s becoming location independent, starting a Buddhist library for kids in your backyard or being full-time cloud spotter (just to name a few things). Go against the grain if necessary to follow your passion. The pathways paved by society may just not be your thing.
“No one on earth can do what you do, in precisely the way that you do it!” Alexandra Franzen
“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” William Jennings Bryan. Original photo by Greg Westfall.
13) Never give up
Living on your own terms can be daunting. Society is conformity. Though this may seem like a positive thing, which it is in one way, it limits your freedom and interferes with personal growth. Cultural diversions are like invisible shackles. Everything in society is an attempt to make you something you may not be. It’s like Rita Mae Brown said, “I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.”.
14) Don’t hold on
Sometimes giving up is the best thing you can do. This is true for your own terms too. Don’t accept nor adopt dogmas and principles. As Brad Blanton writes in Radical Honesty,
We believe our interpretations of reality intensely, and we want other people to join us in our interpretations to make us feel secure.
To principle increases your rigidity, which only increases your insecurity. Principles are the wardens of the mind. Why do you think the principle officer in prison is named like that? Original image by alexisnyal.
15) Feel, don’t overthink
Lose your mind, come to your senses, said psychologist and father of gestalt therapy Fritz Perls. Many of us are way too much in our heads. Overthinking and analyzing all the time. You can’t rationalize everything. Especially not how to live your life on your own terms.
Accepting pure sensory input as your world can help you live in the moment and find out what your really want. Terence McKenna said, what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. Original photo by Jewell Willett.
16) Remind yourself of what is important
Make notes, write in a diary, spraypaint your walls, hang a poster set reminders in your phone or use other tricks to keep reminding yourself to what is important. We are being constantly deluded. Like ancient Greek philosopher Epicurean’s wall writings notifying the masses about how they are incurably deluded by the corrupt powerful, your own personal reminders can help you stay on track.
Want more offbeat inspiration?
Click here to find out how to be a true bohemian.