A couple weeks ago I asked you all how you define ‘untemplater.’ The discussion that followed was incredible. People talked about societal norms, generational attitudes, and personal experiences as a black sheep. There was even a comment made that being an ‘untemplater’ isn’t really about breaking from a template, it’s about transitioning into a new template.
Overall, I think most people agree that being an ‘untemplater’ marks a shift in an individual’s life from acting according to social norms and environmental pressures to designing a lifestyle that fits them regardless of any external influence. Although untemplating your life is a very personal choice, we’ve created a community here to share experiences and help each other make a transition.
Earlier this week, Untemplater co-founder Carlos Miceli wrote a great article about how many of us scour books and the internets for information about how to do the things we want to do, how to break the template and how to navigate the next unknown step. But all the information in the world won’t make us take the next step. He says:
The world is ready for recipes, you need more than that to break free. You need to create your own recipes. What we can and will do is give you the ingredients, but you’ll have to do the actual cooking.
In this article he mentioned courage and the willingness to lose a sense of control. In the past we heard about self-knowledge and self-confidence.
My question to you this week is:
What do you think is the single most important ingredient for living an untemplater lifestyle?
I ask this question NOT to find the single most important ingredient for EVERYONE, but rather the single most important ingredient for YOU.
Like Carlos says, we can’t make you do what you want. The only thing we can do is offer our personal experiences so that we can learn from each other.
Edward - Entry Level Dilemma says
I’ve said it on my blog and in other comments here. The single most important ingredient for living an untemplated life is introspection. Without taking a good hard look in the mirror and knowing yourself, you are always going to live a template. Maybe it’s societies template, maybe it’s the rebellious 20-something template. But it’s somebody’s template because you aren’t making conscious decisions about your life.
Erik Asuncion says
For me, the main ingredient would be feeling content with challenges. I spent most of my college career working on project teams where I did my part without having to get out of my comfort zone. I sought internships where I could sit in my cubicle 8 hours a day, in comfort, without having to be in positions where I would have to encounter adversity and challenges. After graduating college, I got tired of living in my comfort zone. I landed a job in for an international company which had recently opened an office in the city my college in located. I am one of two engineers. Both of us graduated college in May. Neither of us had a clue what we were getting into. Since day one I have been faced with challenges of choosing ethics over profits, standards over management, and seeking the right resources to get my job done. Since the first day I have been out of my comfort zone and I have been more content that I have ever been.
Richard Spindler says
While I think that its the mix that makes up your individual lifestyle flavor, I definitely think that the ingredient “LOW INFORMATION DIET” hast given me the most amazing boost lately.
I’ve always been someone who followed his own passion, but I’ve never before realized how much consumption of mass and also “unhealthy” niche media can divert you from your path.
Other than that, I’ve found that talking to “real” people openly and honestly has never been a problem. Just being humble and talking in a language that can be understood, using values and metaphors that are universal and in line with your own.
For me, it is the courage to make choices. We make choices about everything we do. Sometimes these choices are conscious – we actually make them ourselves. Other times, they are unconscious – somebody or something else makes them for us. So when I think about the three pillars of the untemplater lifestyle – work where you want, live where you want, and be who you want to be – it about making conscious choices in those areas. And to reflect on those choices periodically to see if they still fit. It is also about recognizing that the choice that I believe works for me may not work for another. The process of getting clear on the choices that we do make does apply to all.
Craig Gonzales says
Cash flow and debtlessness.
Without the means, you can’t find your way.
Tiara the Merch Girl says
This was going to be my answer. In a way, I’m “untemplating” and have been for the past year or so. I create performance art, and help out other creative types through stage production work, research, admin, anything they need a hand with. It’s been great work, but it doesn’t often pay, and so far I’ve been living off my dad and (occasionally) my boyfriend.
I’m so sick of jobhunting – I can’t even seem to get the jobs I love and am passionate for, so I feel discouraged about applying for other jobs that I know that I can do but aren’t in my field (the obvious just-need-the-money) ones. My residency situation means I can’t apply for things like grants or scholarships or welfare or loans or credit cards – things other creative folk have used to support themselves. (Don’t get me started on the bridging visa rant).
I have about a month and a half left of savings, then I’m in trouble. I don’t earn enough to pay rent continually. My dad’s offered to keep supporting me – he knows about my money woes – but I really don’t want to depend on him. And it looks like if I can’t work out a sustainable way soon, I’ll have to go back to “templating” as I can’t afford to keep being a creative performance artist/helper elf. And yet the only way I can afford it is to be in the template at least for part of my time.
Edward - Entry Level Dilemma says
Have you thought about doing street performances? I know a few entertainers that started out with that sort of thing, and children’s parties (I realize burlesque isn’t exactly street/children’s venue material). One friend of mine started out doing magic tricks for children’s parties while in college, and now has an entertainment business that employs 10.
Tiara the Merch Girl says
I actually did a street theatre project last year, we did a roller derby skit 🙂 It’s an option, though I need to think of something family-friendly, haha!
Balls! (or the female equivalent)
Mike Key - Entrepreneurial Ninja says
ACTION is the key ingredient in my life. Taking action vs not taking action. I hate to admit it, but by nature I’m pretty lazy. I could spend my life doing nothing and be totally happy. So I have to make the decision daily to work my hardest till I bleed and to take action towards my goals, wants and dreams. Weather it means doing work or just getting outside my comfort zone to over coming my fears. Action is whats needed.
Confidence & a strong sense of self. 🙂 You have to be able to know yourself, be sure you know yourself and be sure you’re going to make that leap and somehow, someway land on your feet.
It doesn’t mean being blindingly optimistic, but it doesn’t hurt to have a sunny outlook and to work towards something that you believe will work out — Just know the signs when something won’t click.
But you cannot be afraid to try, to have the perseverance to kick whatever you don’t want in your life out and make room for what you do want. That’s the whole principle of lifestyle-design, isn’t it?
Probably self confidence and the mental attitude to slog it out in the next few years. My dad is a good example of the untemplater lifestyle. He started his first company when he was around 32. Unfortunately, he couldn’t build upon it very well and so had to shut it down. Now, nearly 15 years later, he has done it again. He started his own consultancy service and things are starting to look up. I’ve learnt a lot from him but I guess these two are the most important qualities I would attest to him.
My method of breaking out of the template is to start my own business and become an entrepreneur. Probably going to need lots of inspiration for all that, so I will be coming to this place often!
Financial Samurai says
Unhappiness is Kari, could be spot on!
You break out of the norm b/c you are unhappy with your job, lack of job, life, boss, money, relationship, whatever. You wouldn’t break out and untemplate if you were happy!
Bravo Kari! Dariane, give Kari a raise! 🙂
Done and done. :]
Eran - The Quarterlife Quest says
Bravery! For me, it’s actually about having the guts and the courage to actually make changes and live outside “the norm”. Support comes in at a close second 🙂
I think those two things could go together. When people around you see the fearlessness you have when embarking on something you’re passionate about, they become more willing to support you. They believe in you because they see that you believe in you.
For me it was actually unhappiness. It was being at a traditional 4-year university after 2 years of community college and finding out I DON’T want to spend the rest of my life wasting away in higher education (I thought I wanted to be a university professor). It was finding out the “template” lifestyle for a history/writing geek wasn’t fun, hardly paid, and would put me in dazzling amounts of debt. It was waking up in the morning and wanting to run off to another city and disappear off the map that made me realize the template wasn’t working and I needed to be brave enough to go out on my own and find my own path.
Being unhappy allowed me to break out of the formula (get your BA, get a masters, teach, get a PhD, do research, teach, research, teach, go insane), decide to become a public historian, and gave me the vision of making history more accessible and relevant through the internet and social media. It made me focus on what really DOES make me happy — writing and talking to people and helping others see how history matters. I’m just starting down this crazy path, and have no idea how it’ll pay, but at least I’ll be able to evaluate every step of the way whether or not I’m happy or need to try something new.
As per Financial Samurai’s request, I shall give you a virtual raise. I definitely understand what its like waking up in the morning wishing you could run off to another city… I actually did that for a very short amount of time. But that’s a story I’m saving for another time.
I think that most people who embark on the untemplate lifestyle begin by being unhappy with their current (template) life. I find it so exciting that you’ve discovered what makes you happy and that you’ve decided to focus on that… In fact, I kinda envy you a little. :]
What I think the single most important ingredient for me is: Support!
I am currently untemplating my life and will be one large step closer in March! I try to tell everyone around me what I am doing and why, but hardly anyone actually “gets it”. Which is exactly why I and others will need the support of an online community of people who are in the process of untemplating or already have untemplated their life. We all will find our own path, but it will make the path much greater with the support like untemplater.com.
Thanks so much Hansen! I’m glad you’re finding support in this community that ‘gets it.’ I’m curious, what is this one big step you’re taking in March? I’d love to hear more about it.
I’m sure all of would like to think we could live the type of ideal lifestyle we are trying to create without it, but we really do it need it. For communities like this, for business, to express ourself, etc. I know there are a lot of deep reasons people can think of and they are all very important factors, but internet is essential.
The internet is definitely a useful tool for communication and information. I wonder if living WITHOUT internet automatically makes that person an ‘untemplater’ (ie. living against the norms).
Maybe its just me, but i sort of feel the template has to break you. If i had less job security, i would totally investigate that untemplater lifestyle a bit more. In fact, i may be making a career shift from a safe and steady job to something a bit more risky, and that alone will drastically change my outlook for the next 1-5 years.
So thats it for me and i feel for others that are currently living inside the template. Reduce job security to a point where your career is as risky as taking a leap to try something new, and you have yourself an untemplater in the making
Edward - Entry Level Dilemma says
Job security maybe a crutch for fear. I don’t have a job, and haven’t had one for 7 months. But that hasn’t made me any more untemplated. In fact, all it has really done is allowed me to slide into the “job seeker” template of sending out targeted resumes, searching job boards (major, minor, and aggregator), go to networking events, and take classes to expand my skill set.
I heard a very interesting talk last week by Gus Lee, the author of Courage: the Backbone of Leadership. He talked about fear and how fear brings us to do or say things that aren’t principled and to blame others for our own mistakes and shortcomings.
So if you claim that the security of your job limits your interest in following an untemplated lifestyle, what you really mean is that you fear not having a steady job. If you overcome that fear, no amount of job security would hinder you from following an untemplated path if that was what you really desired.
Brian, I like the ideas you bring up. I agree that for many people there comes a breaking point where living inside the template simply doesn’t work anymore. Others just break out of the template despite the risk. What’s this new risky career shift you’re considering? I’m intrigued. :]