For introverts to live life on their own terms, they should embrace self-determination, minimalism, and frugality.
One of my greatest joys in life was when I attended college. Every day was structured and regimented, and I needed very little to survive. And since I was a struggling student (No car and limited money), I didn’t have a care in the world despite my shortcomings.
As I have gotten older, I tried to maintain the life I had in college with very few luxuries.
This was more out of a strategy to pursue what I wanted most out of life—writing and developing intellectual property.
I haven’t taken a vow of poverty, but I realized early on that reading, studying, and publishing my thoughts gave me the greatest joy.
I never expected to write the Great American Novel, but only wished to earn a living through writing, which I am still pursuing diligently.
The beauty of this life is the joy of following what I love, and aligning everything with this love.
By conventional standards, many would say that I am living beneath my education and employability.
However, once I determined that writing was my calling, every job I held was merely to pay my bills, so that I can write more.
I have discovered that the lucky ones in life are rewarded by finding an avocation that turns into a vocation over time.
To live life on your own terms requires that you create a lifestyle where your avocation is at the center of everything you do.
Additionally, if you want to live life on your terms by developing a business, venture, or enterprise, consider it a mere hypothesis as you gather evidence for its long-term viability.
However, it’s your choice whether you want to turn an avocation into a vocation or enjoy an avocation leisurely.
Dr. Ellen Burts-Cooper of Improve Consulting and Training Group said, “I’m convinced whatever you enjoy as a hobby or passion can be turned into your career. Some people want to keep their hobbies just that, keeping their passion separate from the way they earn a living. Others search for something more in terms of a career yet something enjoyable. So why not turn one of your passions into the way you earn a living? Most people have more than one passion, so pick one that provides the easiest transition from your avocation to your vocation. If you put in enough time and energy, you can take any idea and figure out a way to add value in order to earn income” (p. 1).
Dr. Burts-Cooper is correct in her assessment. However, the lifestyle you must embrace to pursue your aspirations isn’t discussed or emphasized often enough.
The time it takes to turn a hobby into a career is long and arduous. The late Steve Jobs once talked about the necessity of being passionate about what you are pursuing because it takes such a long time to achieve it. He said that if you’re not passionate about it, you’ll give up on it.
So, living life on your terms starts with creating a suitable lifestyle for long-term success.
Everything starts with self-determination
Educational consultant Kendra Cherry said, “In psychology, self-determination is an important concept that refers to each person’s ability to make choices and manage their own life. This ability plays an important role in psychological health and well-being. Self-determination allows people to feel that they have control over their choices and lives. It also has an impact on motivation—people feel more motivated to take action when they feel that what they do will have an effect on the outcome” (para. 1).
Choosing to live life on your terms starts with committing to the process and the journey.
During the 1990s, finding one’s purpose was all the rage.
Books such as The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron and The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren were staples in many personal libraries that promised to help readers discover their life’s calling.
Unfortunately, after six months with very little progress, readers were resigned to finding jobs and placing thoughts of self-actualizing on the backburner.
As scripture suggests, “The spirit is willing, but flesh is weak.”
These aspirants were willing, but had not fully committed totally to designing the life they had imagined.
Impatience and shortsightedness were their enemies.
Self-efficacy is an essential component of self-determination.
You must believe that you possess specialized skills and abilities to even consider having control over your choices.
Minimalism as a way of life
Best-selling author Joshua Becker said “…Minimalism is intentionally living with only the things I really need—those items that support my purpose. I am removing the distraction of excess possessions so I can focus more on those things that matter most” (para. 4).
In this vein, Becker is referring to an intellectual and concerted effort to declutter one’s mind from the things and thoughts that preclude you from pursuing your goals.
Whereas, many people fill their lives with material possessions to offset the inner void of not having peace, minimalism fills such voids with ideas and progressive movement.
Things have no value, only ideas and plans.
Consequently, the intangibility of the work itself is its own reward over the fruits of one’s labor.
Any tangible rewards are reinvested back into the work to expand on the opportunity that was first imagined before it was brought into reality.
A minimalist lifestyle keeps you focused on your objective.
Frugality is a strategy
Trent Hamm (2019), writer for U.S. News & World Report said, “Frugality is actually about aiming to get maximum value out of your money. It doesn’t mean that you don’t spend money on things that are important to you. It means that you don’t spend money on things that are not important to you” (para.3).
Hamm’s focus on the economics of self-actualization rests on the ability to use money as a resource to expand on the work. Money allows participants to “Stay in the game.”
Remember the venture is merely a hobby until it begins to make money.
Your hypothesis is that the problem you are attempting to address is important to enough people who are willing to pay for the solutions.
You are a scientist in a laboratory using data to conjure up elixirs that serve as the missing solution to a core problem.
You don’t know the answers yet. Your self-determination, minimalism, and frugality allow you to stay within your laboratory until you have discovered your secret sauce.
That’s why passion is the energy necessary to carry you through the journey.
I have been able to maintain my youthful vigor throughout the years because I never left school.
Although I have degrees from college and graduate school, I will never graduate from the University of Life.
For me, being a life-long learner isn’t a fancy phrase uttered by lazy intellectuals who are devoid of a body of work.
I am not sure if anyone gets everything they desire in life, but I have lived life on my terms based on my personal assessment.
Yes, on my terms means only that I made the trade-offs that benefited me the most.
I am still pursuing my goals and may be honored posthumously if the clock runs out before completion.
Life has been my very own scientific project and I documented all that I experienced experientially and vicariously.
To have lived a full life based on my intellectual curiosity is worth the journey.
I’ll keep you posted as I continue researching and experimenting with my ideas.
This path has truly given my life a sense of purpose.
Becker, J. (2019, Nov. 13). What is minimalism? Becoming Minimalist. Retrieved from: https://www.becomingminimalist.com/what-is-minimalism.
Cherry, K. (2019, Oct. 7). Self-determination and motivation. Verywell Mind. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-self-determination-theory-2795387.
Cooper-Burts, E. (n.d.). Making the journey from avocation to vocation. Improve Consulting and Training Group. Retrieved from: https://improveconsulting.biz/making-the-journey-from-avocation-to-vocation.
Hamm, T. (2019, Feb. 27). What does it mean to be frugal? U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved from: https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/articles/what-does-it-mean-to-be-frugal.