Today, I want to discuss how individualism, as a personal philosophy, can help you live your best life.
Why Living A Full, Engaged, and Meaningful Life Is Hard
Living a meaningful life involves many things: we must have a firm understanding of our future, a productive and meaningful present, and an inner-peace with our past. However, all these tasks are challenging to accomplish. Developing a life goal and plotting our future can be arduous and intimidating. Becoming more productive, at the expense of short-term pleasures, is never straightforward or simple. Lastly, coming to peace with our past mistakes will always be emotionally challenging.
However, when we fail to plan our future, utilize our present, and forgive our past, we’ll create a mediocre existence where we drift from day to day with no larger purpose. Such a state of inertia is depressing and leads to the belief that life is wretched and devoid of meaning. Such nihilistic mindsets are dangerous for the health and wellbeing for the individual as well as a civilization. Therefore, it’s essential to help every one develop a plan for their future, meaning in their present, and peace with their past. By accomplishing these three goals, you can live your life to the fullest.
Four Ways Individualism Enables You To Live A Full Life
Now how do we go about doing this?
- By developing your life goals, you’ll have a clear understanding of your future.
- By avoiding the vices of society, you’ll save time in the present while easing the regrets of your past.
- By increasing your willpower and emotional control, you’ll have the maturity and energy to deal with present difficulties.
- Lastly, by keeping track of your actions, you’ll understand past behaviors and how they can help improve your current efforts.
Through these four techniques, we can begin to live our lives as richly as possible in sustainable and enjoyable ways.
1. Create Your Life Goal and Define Your Life’s Purpose
What is a life goal and why is it important? A life goal is a purpose that you spend your entire life trying to accomplish. It’s important that your life goal fulfills a deeply held passion. However, your life goal can’t be something that relies too much on external influences or can be accomplished relatively quickly.
For example, “end world hunger” isn’t a good life goal because it’s too externally focused and is impossible for an individual to fulfill through their own merits and efforts. However, “become a master farmer” is accomplishable by the individual because learning the best farming techniques relies on your focus and dedication to the craft. Furthermore, you can utilize your excess food to feed others in your community which helps reduce the people who suffer from hunger.
The problem with the modern world is that most people do not know what they want to do with their lives which leaves them feeling aimless and lost. However, when we understand what we want to do with our lives (“become a master farmer”), we can better plan our days, weeks, months, and years.
Instead of wasting time playing video games “because there’s nothing else to do,” we can instead focus on learning about proper crop rotation. Instead of continuously working at a job we hate, we can put our resume out to every local farm in our area in the hopes of landing a better job. Instead of not knowing what we want to study, we know that our passion is farming, which means we can go for an environmental science or biology degree.
How Do You Set A Life Goal?
Reflect. If you have a thought that is constantly on your mind, then you may want to pursue that. Another way of determining your life goal is to figure out who you want to help or what cause you’re passionate about. Lastly, look at your innate talents – are you really great at drawing? Then maybe you’d love to master drawing.
Have a deeper understanding of what you want to do with your life, so living every day becomes less of a chore and more of a purpose-driven activity.
2. Avoiding Negative People and Institutions
Society is a basket case of negativity, ingratitude, and destruction. When you remove yourself from the machinations and manipulations of society, then it becomes easier to think and reflect on your own life instead of being lost in the emotional turmoil of the latest tweet or political scandal. By reducing the time you spend caring about society, you’ll have more time in the present to live a fulfilling life.
You only have power over yourself and your direct actions. Always think internally and seek to control your urges and bad habits, so you can direct yourself towards accomplishing your goals. Focusing on the external world will drain you because your emotional highs and lows will not change anything. Politicians will continue to be corrupt, abusive media personalities will continue their abuse, and ungrateful people will continue to promote toxicity and hatred.
To be clear, I am arguing that you reduce your investment in society. By all means, keep up with the news, vote on occasion, and have an understanding of the world around you, but only invest as much time and effort as worthwhile investing.
For example, I don’t need to turn on the news every day and watch it for an hour at a time to be reminded that there are racists and fascists in the world. Such activity only shortens my lifespan and gives terrible people power over my time. However, investing a few hours during election season to familiarize myself with the people I could vote for is worthwhile endeavor because it allows me to be engaged with the community while minimizing my investment in political machinations.
Focus on Yourself and Your Loved Ones
The news and massive societal problems make people stressed and anxious. As individuals, we cannot solve large-scale issues. We can join our voices with others, but all that happens is that our voices are drowned out, and we lose ourselves in the crowd. Additionally, who’s to say that a mass movement meant to defeat one evil won’t soon grow into a different evil? It pays to work with others but only with your individuality intact and your sovereignity respected by those you work with.
This is why one must think locally. Always focus on your own community, family, and friends. Don’t focus on trying to solve the world’s problems. Look at your family and friends who may need your emotional support. Or look at your community for individuals who may need your excess resources. Never get lost in big dreams of saving everyone – humble yourself and focus on the local community which you can influence.
Additionally, most large-scale problems in our society, such as racism, homophobia, financial instability, emotional insecurity, all start at the local, individual level. Are you worried about racists? Then don’t be racist. Are you worried about attacks on the innocent? Then hit the gym, learn some basic self-defense, and be at peace that you’re prepared for the worst. Are you worried about the financial future of your country? Make better monetary decisions, build your wealth, and invest in multiple sources of income.
Never invest in society. Be loyal by focusing on helping your friends and family while utilizing your excess resources to assist those in need. By focusing less on the larger problems you can barely influence, you’ll have more time, energy, and effort to control and improve your present.
3. Strengthen Your Emotional Control and Increase Your Willpower
Increasing your willpower and emotional control will do wonders for your life. Instead of feeling “tired” when it’s time to do something productive, you can push yourself to accomplish an important task. Instead of giving into mood swings, you can redirect your emotional energy and feel positive no matter the situation.
Being able to control your emotions and adjust your willpower provides you with the tools you need to live the best life you can in the present.
How To Build Willpower and Emotional Control
Always be grateful – No matter what it is, always remain thankful for the life that you have. From the cars we drive to the food we eat, there are plenty of things to be grateful for. Think about the amazing items and opportunities you have access to, and it’ll become harder to lose control of your emotions.
Avoid emotionally taxing ideas and people – I have terrible road rage, so I make an effort to the take the long route to a location. Even if the drive is a little longer, I’ll do what I can to avoid other drivers. If politics gets under your skin or a particular person tries your patience, then ignore them. There’s no need to engage with the activities or people who rob you of your stability. When you involve yourself with destructive people, you’ll get an emotional high that’ll deplete your willpower which leads to a reduction in your self-control.
When you build willpower and develop emotional control, you’ll have more power over yourself which allows you to live your life as fully as possible.
4. Keep Track Of Your Daily Life
No such thing as spare time, no such thing as free time, no such thing as down time. All you got is life time. Go. – Henry Rollins
The last way to live life to the fullest is to keep track of your daily activities. Having a clear record of what you’re doing with your time allows you to better self-reflect by removing ambiguity. Can’t seem to finish a project? Well, you did waste a few hours a day this week browsing on your phone. Since you know that your phone has been the source of your wasted time, you can take steps to reduce the time you spend on your phone.
Knowing where you spend your time gives you the tools you need to change your life and adjust your actions. There are three ways to keep track of your time:
To journal, simply sit down at the end of the day and reflect. Sample questions include:
- What am I most proud of today?
- What could I have done differently today?
- How do I feel about this day overall?
- Did I spend most of the day working towards my personal goals?
By asking questions and delving into your inner thoughts, you’ll have the insights you need to make changes in the future. Additionally, you’ll be able to talk to yourself and gain a deeper appreciation for your life and your efforts to be a better person.
Create a “Get-To-Do” List
Create a list of tasks you’d like to complete for the day. Set a time limit on each job. If you’re going to cook dinner, for instance, conclude you should take only 30 minutes. If it takes more, then make a note of why it took longer.
I always like to say “get-to-do” list because we need to be grateful. Have to wash the dishes? Be thankful that you can afford dishes, that you have food to eat, and that you have running water. Have to go to the DMV? Be grateful that you have a stable (yet slow) government. Have to go pick up groceries? Be thankful that you have such easy access to quality food.
Lastly, having an understanding of your “why” helps when it comes to “get-to-do” lists. Why do you need to wash the dishes? To have a cleaner home which will help you think clearly. Why do you need to read today? To build your vocabulary. Why do you need to work today? To build wealth. Providing a “why” for each item on your list will help you better understand how your present actions build your future success.
Keep Track Of Your Daily Activites
Instead of planning your day, you record what you’ve done throughout the day. Whether you go to work, relax, study a new skill, what have you, you keep a record of what you did and how long you spent doing it. By keeping track of your actions throughout the day, you’ll have a deeper understanding of where your time is going and why.
To have the best results, you’ll need to do all three. Journaling, to-do lists, and tracking daily activities provides the information you need about your past actions, so you can better utilize your time in the present. By being aware of your time management, you’ll be able to make improvements when needed.
Let me conclude by saying that it’s important to be honest with yourself. In order to make meaningful changes, the information you provide must be accurate. Furthermore, you’ll need to know that you can trust yourself. For example, if you lie about how much time you wasted one day, then you’ll lose trust in your ability to accomplish your goals.
You cannot lie to yourself. If you can’t trust yourself, then you’ll always feel despair and doubt. So, if you’re ashamed about what you’re spending your time on, then you have a clear indication of what you need to cut from or reduce within your life.
By being aware of what you’re doing, you can make fundamental changes to your behavior while directing your actions towards the goals you’re setting for yourself. Additionally, keeping track of your activities allows you to be at peace with your past as you try to improve yourself.
Do Everything You Can To Live Fully
Determine your life goal so that you can direct your actions toward a clear purpose. Avoid negative people who will only waste your time, drain your energy, and abuse your loyalty. Develop the willpower and emotional control necessary to influence your actions and impulses in the directions you want them to go. Lastly, record your actions, so you can reduce bad habits while increasing good ones.
You cannot understand your own internal wants and needs by obsessing over society. You cannot develop positivity by overanalyzing the actions of a negative, ungrateful populace. You cannot direct your emotions and actions towards positive ends if you’re focusing on everyone else instead of reflecting on your own flaws. Lastly, you cannot record your own behavior if you’re busy looking at the reactions of others.
Individualism places the focus on you as an individual so you can resolve your personal turmoils and upsets. By addressing your inner issues as best as possible, you’ll have the freedom and ability to help others do the same while living an enriched and meaningful life.
- If you were to live your life to the fullest, what would that look like? What great things would you accomplish?
- Do you want to live your life to the fullest? Yes or no? Why?
- What do you struggle with the most? Planning your future, engaging with your present, or forgiving your past? Why?
- Of the four steps outlined above, which is the most difficult for you to act on?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.