Want to design your own life but don’t know how? Here are some resources

Suvarchala Narayanan December 15, 2016 6 min

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” — Jim Rohn

Over the past few weeks, some of you have written in to say how much you love the digital nomad idea and lifestyle, but that as much as you’d love to do it, you just can’t imagine where to begin. Many of the readers who wrote in seemed to have assumed that where I am today is how I started out 15 years ago. But that’s not how it is.

As humans, we tend to project the past into the future — believing what has worked for us will always continue to work  

So, I’ve dedicated today’s article to helping get your mind prepared to becoming a digital nomad. For, where the mind goes, the backpack will follow!

First, a quick peek into why we do what we do.

We are tribal creatures. We belong in communities and do things our respective groups would approve of. For most of us, our narrative and “truths” are gleaned from the social conventions we grew up with and the lives of people we are surrounded by. So, for many of us, the school-engineering college-MBA-stable job formula is what we follow because that’s what we know best. That’s the story we are surrounded by. Which is why a radically different path is likely to strike fear in our hearts even if it feels like it’s right for us.

For most of us, our narrative and “truths” are gleaned from the social conventions we grew up with and the lives of people we are surrounded by. Which is why a radically different path is likely to strike fear in our hearts even if it feels like it’s right for us  

This particular confirmation bias has a name: The herd instinct — a common tendency to adopt the opinions and follow the behaviours of the majority to feel safe and to avoid conflict.

The best way to know you’re not alone and to find the courage to walk a new path is to find a community of people who are living the life you dream of living. Another way is to read about others who have done it.

Below are some of my favourite books to get you started on your adventure.

Shake and break: New paradigms of the future

As humans, we tend to project the past into the future — believing what has worked for us will always continue to work. While we intellectually know that the future is going to be different, we can’t really appreciate how radically different it’s going to be unless we pay attention. Here are a few resources that point to this changing world and how we can prepare for it!

  • The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly
  • The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross
  • The Shift: The Future of Work is Already Here by Lynda Gratton

bookcovers1

And here are some to help you design your own life.

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss

“Stunning and amazing. From mini-retirements to outsourcing your life, it’s all here. Whether you’re a wage slave or a Fortune 500 CEO, this book will change your life!”
— Phil Town, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Rule #1

If you asked Tim Ferris “What do you do,” here’s what he might answer: “I write”; “I dance tango in Buenos Aires”; “I ski in the Andes”; “I make millions and teach others how to live a life on their terms.”

“Reality is Negotiable,” he said once.

This book has its share of admirers and critics, but the fact remains that the 4-Hour Workweek was one of those instrumental books that brought the idea of designing your own life into mainstream consciousness. It’s an idea that you can never unlearn.

‘The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World’ — Chris Guillebeau

“This is a direct, honest and truly scary book. I hope you have the guts to listen to what Chris has to say, and not become one of the monkeys he warns you about.”
— Seth Godin, author of ‘Linchpin’

bookcovers3

This is another game-changing book, and one that I revisit a lot. Read it if you’re truly ready to take the Red Pill.

‘Vagabonding’  Rolf Potts

“A crucial reference for any budget wanderer.”
Time

If you believe you were put on this earth to travel, this book is for you. If you are curious, this book is for you. If you’re on the fence, this book is for you.

From ideas, tips, tricks, resources to his own experiences, this book has (almost) everything you need to prepare for a life on the road.

‘Rework’  Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

“If given a choice between investing in someone who has read Rework or has an MBA, I’m investing in Rework every time. This is a must read for every entrepreneur.”
— Mark Cuban, co-founder of HDNet and Broadcast.com and owner of the Dallas Mavericks

bookcovers2

By the founders of 37 Signals, this book tears down every bit of conventional business wisdom we’re familiar with. It begins with this provocative teaser: Ignore the real world.

“The Real World isn’t a place. It’s an excuse. It’s a justification for not trying. It has nothing to do with you,” the book says.

‘Remote: Office Not Required’ — Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

“In the near future, everyone will work remotely, including those sitting across from you. You’ll need this farsighted book to prepare for this inversion.” — Kevin Kelly, Senior Maverick for Wired Magazine and author of What Technology Wants

The second book by the authors of Rework and founders of 37 Signals, ‘Remote: Office Not Required’ shows you an entirely different reality of working, and one that may soon be the norm.

‘Big Magic’  Elizabeth Gilbert

From the author of the hugely successful Eat, Pray, Love comes this magical and inspirational book about creating and living a highly creative life.

“Big Magic is a celebration of a creative life… Gilbert’s love of creativity is infectious, and there’s a lot of great advice in this sunny book… Gilbert doesn’t just call for aspiring artists to speak their truth, however daffy that may appear to others; she is showing them how.” — Washington Post

“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary” — Jim Rohn  

No one gets to where they are in one go. Start with the small steps. Change comes with immersing yourself in a different narrative from the one you’ve always been exposed to. So, find new stories, talk to new people, do new things.

May The Force Be With You. 🙂

“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary” — Jim Rohn

Read more from the Digital Nomad series:

How a family bankruptcy pushed me towards becoming a digital nomad

The life and travels of a Digital Nomad: Not all those who wander are lost

Updated on February 27, 2017, at 1.55pm with Digital Nomads and the Future of Jobs bands.


Powered By

Careernet is the sponsor of our Future of Jobs in India coverage and events. The coverage and the content of the event are editorially independent. For more on how we separate our newsroom and our business functions, read our code of conduct here.