A few weeks ago during our launch and in our manifesto we introduced to you a concept called untemplater. The underlying idea is understood simply as breaking out of a template, but many have defined it further.
Here are some ways ‘untemplater’ has been defined by a few:
“Nobody knows what will happen, but the difference is that untemplaters realize it, accept it and make the best out of their time while believing in themselves and their vision.”
“A significant portion of the untemplate lifestyle is leaving what you have to do for what you want to do.”
So in those two quotes we’ve got that untemplaters do not fear what is unknown in the future and they are self-confident. They are courageous. These are fixed definitions that should apply to everyone who considers themselves an untemplater, right?
Well, maybe not quite…
“Everyone will have their own definition of the untemplated life. Some will say that it means to quit your job and take the entrepreneurial path. For others, it’s to build your career online. Some might say it’s to get get a formal education in a field you enjoy. … Self-knowledge is key, and most of the time, you just need to follow your heart.”
Now my mind is all boggled with questions. If the main idea is breaking away from a template, what is that template? Is it a single template that applies to our society? Or to our generation? Or to a certain aspect of life? Or does each individual person have their own template? What then does it mean to be an untemplater, to live the untemplate lifestyle? Does it differ for each person, or is there a common thread that defines the untemplate lifestyle? Or is it a bit of both? Can a person be templated in one part of their life but untemplated in another?
Financial Samurai says
Choosing to not be unhappy anymore is probably the answer.
Ryan Paugh says
I would say that it’s about taking the road less traveled. An untemplater is always looking for an opportunity to do something different than everybody else. That’s the common thread.
Where each untemplater differs is in how they do it. Some travel the world as a location independent, while others might be creating an untemplated existence right in their own backyard.
Wow, some interesting discussion going on here!
For me, you can call it “untemplating” or whatever else you’d like, I just want to go and do what I want to do and live the life I want to live, even if people tell me it’s not possible or it’ll be difficult or any other number of excuses as to why people just don’t do that.
I want a job that doesn’t care where I work from, because my husband is military and there’s no telling where we’re going to end up. I don’t want some job that I need to put in years of effort just to have to leave before I really get anywhere. I also want the time flexibility to enjoy my hobby… Not something I can really do effectively on my own. I need time to go to events, time to work on the cars, time to go and race.
Basically, living life on my terms is my goal… Whatever term that falls under. 🙂
David Foust says
I have gotten more from these conversations than anything on here so far and i thank everyone who participated. I don’t have any questions or additions but am happy that everything can be openly questioned on here and then rebuttal-ed with good grace.
Thanks guys and i hope we have more discussions
Dariane Nabor says
Thanks David! I’m glad you’re enjoying the discussions.
If there’s any question you have that you’d like to ask the readers, shoot me an email: dariane [at] untemplater [dot] com.
We’re two kids straight out of college starting a company. We’re not following the entrepreneur template – I say this not only because it’s not primarily an internet company. We’re starting a wholesale distribution company, for a product that does not yet exist in the States. We’re going to brand it ourselves, with manufacturing contracted out. We have no capital, no experience, nothing but irrational self-confidence. And we think that’ll be enough.
I think we’re… “untemplated”. But that can’t be because of what we’re trying to do (no matter how foolhardy.) I think it’s because of what we want to be.
I just want to say that when I first came across this site I didn’t like the “untemplater” concept at all. It seemed like just a generic inducement to rebellion for rebellion’s sake (as Duff said.) But a bit more reading and thought really changed my mind. “Untemplating” has to be not about rebellion, but awareness. Knowing exactly what you want. Learning from the mistakes of others. Realizing when you are at crossroads, then realizing what ALL the possible paths are. Making the choices that are right for you regardless of whether anyone’s ever made them before.
Most people walk a path in life without even seeing the crossroads they pass. That’s a tragedy.
Edward - Entry Level Dilemma says
I wish you the best of luck on your endeavor.
Just remember, entrepreneurship was old when the internet was new. Heck, entrepreneurship was old when corporations were new; they predate corporations by… most of the age of civilization. Neither starting a business without any money or becoming a distributor for a new product a new idea either. Perhaps combining them all together, a non-internet wholesaler with no seed money, is a new idea, but I’ve argued that that has to be step 1 for any new business. You have to do something new, or something better
That said, I think you are absolutely right about what untemplating is – being aware of what you want and of the different possible paths.
Hmm…interesting question and one I have asked myself since the site was launched and the word “untemplater” came into my field of recognition. Oh and by the way, I was one of those in the 2nd way of saying the word – guess my pronunciation needs some work 🙂
To me, being an untemplater is knowing when and when the standard blueprint of life does and does not affect me. It’s when I see or hear something that is “supposed” to make sense and is what society expects of me, and I still step back for a moment and think “but how does that affect me?” or “how does that make sense for myself and my life?”.
I have a long history of being the ‘black sheep’ in my family – I’ve always been the one who does things because they sound cool or seemed good at the time (providing its legal and/or may not kill me). It’s how I switched majors at university, its how I transferred universities when the one didn’t suit me, how I became homeless for 2 weeks and then became a firefighter, and its how I randomly took a trip to Israel after googling ‘free travel’, and ultimately how I immigrated to Israel on my own with no family, friends and $3000 in cash.
So the untemplater lifestyle is one that is filled with a lot of bumps in the road, a lot of frustrations and a lot of ‘what the hell am I doing this for?’ uncertain moments – but ultimately, its the path that allows you to feel more comfortable in your own skin and design the life that truly makes you happy – no matter what anyone else says.
So kol hakavod (congratulations in Hebrew) to you and the crew here at this blog – you’re doing the world a major service by putting your thoughts and expertise out there. You have a loyal reader already in me!
Dariane Nabor says
Homeless to firefighter to Israel? That is so awesome.
Your comment got me thinking… maybe it’s not worth focusing on defining the template we want to break away from. Maybe it’s better to focus on what’s best for ourselves regardless of whether or not a template exists.
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences! I hope you enjoy the posts to come.
To me the untemplated lifestyle is one of self-expression and self-determination and a revolution in thinking.
I agree with Edward, although I see our generation more as a generation of “getting things right,” and not necessarily one of rebellion.
I say ‘getting things right’ because I see us questioning everything. Not for the sake of rebellion, but from the result of instrospection and the search for meaning. So I say getting it right with “right” being determined by each individual.
I think our generation is just questioning everything, rethinking everything we’ve been told and taught. Not all of us, but more and more people. Not just in our careers, but in religion, health,etc.
I think we’re about changing the old paradigms that we found ineffective to being our best selves and taking advantage of the opportunites that have taken rise in our times, all while living a life that we as individuals have determined for ourselves.
Edward - Entry Level Dilemma says
There is a degree of “getting things right” but I do see an awful lot of rebellion. And an incredible lack of introspection and self-searching.
I know a woman who became a vegan in college. When I asked her why, she rattled off a bunch of bullet points off some website. If you can’t elucidate beyond “meat is bad,” there probably wasn’t a whole lot of thought process behind the decision. Most likely, the subconscious thought was “vegans are so cool and principled, I should become one.” I’ve seen people take a class because a crush was in it.
From what I can tell, every generation has thought that it was going to change the world and destroy the paradigms of their parents. They decide to take on religion, careers, lifestyle. Baby-boomers questioned the patriotism and sacrifice of the WWII generation. Gen X’ers question the community and lost idealism of the baby-boomers. Gen Y questions the work and isolation of the Gen X’ers.
Oscar Wilde noticed this and personified it in “The Picture of Dorian Gray” with the character Lord Henry Wotton who said “The longer I live, Dorian, the more keenly I feel that whatever was good enough for our fathers is not good enough for us.” In the book, he talks a lot about the supremacy of youth and the how the current “modern” generation has everything figured out while the previous generations are clueless.
The point is, I wasn’t indicting our generation in particular of rebellion; I was merely trying to point out that we should always evaluate our feelings and determine whether we are breaking a template or merely following another one.
You’ve got a point there.
Breaking a template to break a template is a template in itself, a trend somewhat.
But no idea is original, it’s never what you do but how it’s done.
I don’t think living the untemplate lifestyle has anything to do with being original, but everything to do with self-determination and living a life of your own conscious design regardless of why.
Edward - Entry Level Dilemma says
My take is that a template is anything that you are TOLD to do, whether it’s by your parents/family, your friends, your guidance counselor. They all have a template of what they think is best for you based on their own experiences, prejudices, fears, and limitations.
Your parents may want you to go to school and get good grades, then get a stable, well-paying job, find a nice member of the opposite sex and get married, buy a house, and have kids. Your friends may want you to party, hookup, and find a job that allows you plenty of free time to spend with them. Your guidance counselor may want you to study hard and continue your education (or enlist in the army, that’s what my high school counselor vigorously recommended).
Sometimes, however, our generation places a template on ourselves in the form of rebellion against these templates. Blog after blog, tweet after tweet, we are told we should be throwing out all those templates placed on us growing up and dedicate yourself to traveling and entrepreneurship. While those are great goals, if they are not YOUR goals, then it’s just another template. Rebellion is just another template.
have a friend who has a C-level career in a minor Wall Street firm in Manhattan. He loves it. He worked a lot of jobs he didn’t particularly like to get to the level he is at, but he stuck to it to achieve his goal. To some it may sound like like the prototype of a templated life, but it’s as far from the template of the son of a contractor in rural Tennessee as it gets.
To me, living an un-templated life means living a life of introspection and doing what is right for you, regardless of what what you are told to do or to not do. I As Shakespeare put it: “To thine own self, be true.”
I like where you are headed with this comment.
Why does it seem that every person who blogs or tweets wants to live location independently or is wholeheartedly against the corporate world?
Is it that every person who made it to become an accountant, consultant, or I-banker is too busy to blog? Is it that once you made it to the “prestigious” careers you hold on for dear life because you’re pretty much set in life? Is it because people who don’t “make it” in the corporate world have to blog, so they are spiteful of the corporate world?
I would love to see more corporate people blog – like Daniel Hoang.
Anyways… this topic seems like a great future blog post! More to come 🙂
Edward - Entry Level Dilemma says
Similar to what Matt Cheuvront talked about the other day at Life Without Pants (http://www.lifewithoutpants.com/blogging/one-thing-that-will-completely-change-your-life/), maybe the people who blog are looking to empower themselves in some way. Matt says that blogging will change your life. Well, if you are happy with your life, maybe you don’t feel the need to blog.
I’m not quite sure that happiness is the exact answer, but I don’t believe that “too busy” is quite the right answer either. Maybe it’s just that the majority of people haven’t bought into blogging or twitter yet. I don’t have any IRL friends who blog, and only two who twitter (and one exclusively tweets song lyrics he’s writing). So maybe it’s that the same kinds of people who live at the edge of social media also live at the edge of societal norms re: location independence and entrepreneurship. Maybe when when blogging becomes more mainstream, there will be more mainstream blogs.
Jun – I think your observations are interesting. Let me ask you – for someone working in the corporate world, especially now, with the recession, layoffs and all the additional work and responsibilities which come along with that, and then on top of that, putting in family time and responsibilities around the home, do you think that these folks living the so-called templated life have time for writing or keeping up a blog?
Hey, I am a templater and damned proud of it! I have the corporate job. I’ve made it. We own our home, have no mortgage, no debts, and are financially set. What do I have to gain by blogging? Is something missing in my life that gives me the need/desire to blog? Am I looking for an outlet or for something that blogging would provide to me, that I have a need to make time for? What purpose does it serve for someone who has no need or desire? For most of the people here, they blog because they have no other “job” or means to make money. Blogging and their online presence is all they have to look forward to each day.
The way I see it, as one of the pioneers in this industry, who was in grad school and working on networks with names like Arpanet/Bitnet/Milnet/UUCP long before there was an “internet” and before many of the people here were even born, I can say unconditionally that blogging is just the next milemarker on the highway leading to the worldwide garbage dump the internet is rapidly becoming.
Your manifesto provided six templates for the “untemplater” lifestyle, all of which involve business and entrepreneurship. There is no template included in your manifesto for the poet, the philosopher, the mystic, the nurse, the activist, the mechanic, the farmer, the politician, the academic, or even the corporate employee that loves her job. So I define the “untemplate” as rebranding entrepreneurship for young, relatively privileged Americans, who travel to countries with a favorable exchange rate to the US dollar.
In fact, there is no “untemplate”–just different templates, i.e. consumer demographics. This is not a political choice as the word “manifesto” would suggest, but the choice to give up one’s political involvement to become a hyperconsumer. It’s not exactly living life on your own terms, it’s living life in very specific terms usually defined by traveling, working independently on the internet, eating raw or “paleolithic” or vegan, doing internet marketing, and selling yourself.
Breaking out of a template is itself a template, and the “untemplaters,” lifestyle designers, liberation artists, and a million other rebrands of the same millennial internet entrepreneur consumer demographic all look so similar to me that I question whether there is any questioning going on at all. When you ask yourself, ““Am I doing the same thing as everyone around me?” make sure to include all the other bloggers and internet marketers as part of the “everyone.”
If you like the new mobile millennial entrepreneur template, I say go for it. But if we are truly to break out of templates, we should question even how we are going about such apparent rebellion, and what things we are reinforcing in the new templates we are creating. The seduction of apparent novelty can trap us in a consumer prison of getting what we want, only to be forever barred from getting what we truly need.
Hey Duff, good comment.
I believe to say that everything in life is a “template” really defeats the purpose of the phrase. In my opinion, the template lifestyle is doing what you’ve been told what to do, without questioning why you’re doing it.
People who tell you what to do: parents, teachers, internet marketers, entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, etc…
In the manifesto, I clearly state that entrepreneurship has been “templated.” The purpose of my writing on Untemplater is to show readers step-by-step how I have been able to build my startups. I can honestly tell you that I have not followed the traditional path that an entrepreneur should take; I’ve pretty much made it up as I go along.
If writing about how I do creates a “Jun Loayza template for entrepreneurship,” then so be it.
Entrepreneurship has a template.
Location Independence has a template.
Personal Development has a template.
I think that seeking to improve yourself in these areas and finding a more effective way of doing things in these areas is breaking the template.
We should get together and chat sometime
It’s very common for entrepreneurs to claim that they made it up as they went along, which does seem right from the first-person perspective, yet taking a broader view entrepreneurship follows predictable templates. In fact, being flexible in pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors is itself a well-worn template!
If the purpose of your site is to show “to show readers step-by-step how I have been able to build my startups,” then this is a template. Is this not telling others how they should template their lives, or at least their business endeavors? There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this, but it is the opposite of “untemplating.”
Personally, I’m interested in personal development as open-ended inquiry, which to me means forever questioning our assumptions.
Edward - Entry Level Dilemma says
I’ve been making similar comments, both here and on my own blog. I’ve been fairly critical about rebellion for the sake of rebellion, just as I am about blindly following authority.
I’m not quite sure about your critique of this being about consumption. Several people involved in this site are anti-consumption. Or do you refer to the consumption of ideas as opposed to the consumption of consumer goods?
Brett - DareToExpress says
Edward, Duff – Spot on.
“Untemplater” seems to be… deviation from the norm. Or is it?
The way I see it, here we’re just building on the “template”, adding a few new bits and pieces, and calling it “new”. That’s not breaking the template; that’s taking it from version 1.0 to 1.1.
I’m not being critical – it’s hard to build a brand new template from scratch. And, truly, the only way to do that is to do it by yourself – as an individual. That way, you tailor *your* template to your likes and dislikes.
The writers here can only share their experiences on how they created their ‘new’ template – like Jun said. That’s the only real thing they can do to help you “untemplate” your life; they can’t make you reevaluate your life situation and existing belief system and make changes in your life. Only you can do that, in a way that fits you best.
The paradox of it all is that, inevitably, people will look at Jun’s (for example) experiences and his story and then copy it, all for the sake of “untemplating” their lives. However, as you guys caught on, the trap is by doing that, they’re actually following someone else’s template.
As one of the founders and contributors to Untemplater (and the manifesto), I am not sure you’re seeing the entire scope of what we’re doing here. Did I leave a corporate job to work for myself? Yes I did. But it was more of out need to complete my education and take care of my family than ‘running away’ from the chains of a cubicle. The main focus is that laying out your own plan, and not one decided by someone else, is a way to have more enjoyment out of life. For myself personally, I don’t travel much (I don’t like it), I’m neither a minimalist nor a consumer whore, and I don’t like selling myself. But I can still call my life ‘untemplated’ due to the choices I’ve made.
Wow, you ask some pretty deep questions there at the end. Very timely post for me because I just finished reading the manifesto today at lunch (loved it by the way).
First, I think each demographic has its own template. I was born in 1980 and grew up in middle-class Northeast U.S.A. Looking back on it now, there’s a certain template that I followed (consciously or not), which is representative of the larger western WASP template I guess you could say (high school…college…good job…house…engaged….married (not yet)…kids (not yet)…). Not having grown up in other societies, I’m not positive how their templates differ, but I conjecture there are different templates for different cultures.
The way I think about the Untemplater lifestyle is questioning the norm, which, according to Tim Ferris, is nothing more than a group of socially reinforced beliefs. I agree with Robert above: any time you step outside of the template and question, reevaluate, and challenge the norm in search of meaning and with the aim of living intentionally, I think you’re beginning the Untemplater lifestyle. This is different for every demographic, culture, and person. Each person wants different things out of life, so each person’s Untemplate lifestyle will be different. The common thread? The common thread is that each Untemplater made a conscious decision to step out of the box and reevaluate his/her life from a unique, new, and semi-objective perspective. This is the first step. The second step is putting a plan into action that allows you to live your life intentionally. I’m sure there are more steps, but this is where I am right now, in the middle of figuring everything out and beginning to live intentionally.
Thanks for such a thought-provoking post. I’m sure I’ll be thinking about this one a lot over the weekend.
Dariane Nabor says
I’m really glad that this post got you thinking. I really like how you define the Untemplater lifestyle in that it’s different for different people with different backgrounds and experiences.
As far as the steps, that second one is very difficult. I’m right there with you. Thanks for sharing!
Nomadic Chick says
Love this post. I’m about to untemplate myself. To me, it means unplugging from a norm or belief, and clicking into what makes me happy and sane. My current life is a path without heart. Great site!
Please do tell us more about this big step you are taking! I’d love to profile you on our video series that will launch in Feb 🙂