What do you know about living? How do you make your money? What do you do for fun? What interests do you partake in?
If I might take a guess everything you know about life you learned from your parents and teachers, to do well in school, go to college then get a good job, as this is the only formula for a successful life. As adults some of us went to college while others did not, but many of us ended up getting jobs, and from there all it has been an endless cycle of work, home, sleep. You’ve saddled yourself with some debt and now if it weren’t for those dreaded bills you would have more money, or be able to try something new with your career, but ugh those bills!
Those dreaded bills seem to beat you down enough where you accept that this is how life is and must be for everyone. Before long, you are repeating the same nonsense to your kids that is embedded into your mind “Do good in school, go to college so you don’t end up struggling to pay bills like me”. That is what their parents told them, that is what they are telling us, that is what we are telling our kids, and that is what they will tell theirs.
In school we were not taught to be free thinkers, we were taught how to think. In high school every breath we took was somehow related to college, or my favorite “prepping you for the real world”. School through my eyes was just training to work a 9-5 job taught by people working 9-5 jobs. No one taught us to follow our dreams or to do what we love; I clearly remember this teacher breaking down why this one kids dream of becoming a pro soccer player was unrealistic and not likely to happen. Even if it is not likely to happen do not crush a child’s dream. But teachers don’t teach free thinking, they teach you to come to class on time, shut up, respect authority, do what you’re told, and any mistake is punished. Sound familiar?
Telling children or young adults to do what they love, chase their dreams is not met with positive response most times. Unless the dream is to go an Ivy League school and to become a doctor or engineer.
We are taught to live what I like to call the “The Typical Life Model”. In this model we are taught to do well in school, then get into a good college, then get a good job, because this equals success. Who has this piece of advice actually worked for? It may work for some but in many cases, it will bring a sense of unfulfillment, a feeling of something missing, you “feel” happy but not quite. These types of feelings usually lead to anxiety, depression, worry, substance abuse, and in extreme cases, suicide.
Let’s take a visit on the other side of the spectrum, this is called “The Unconventional Life Model”. In this life you’ve spent your time chasing your dreams and pursuing what you love. In this life you’re not working a traditional 9-5 job, here you add value to people’s lives through your passion and are rewarded for the value, not paid for your time. Since you are not constrained to a job for survival you’re job essentially is adding value to the world through your passion. Finances are the least of your concerns which opens doors for you to explore other outlets of life, things that are of interest to you. You have the time to explore new hobbies, take on a job solely for the love of the industry and not for money, explore charitable work, or simply just wake up every morning to cook your kids’ breakfast before school. Things that are of importance to you, things that you love.
In this life you are happier, less stressed and less worried, you are doing what you love and look forward to waking up every morning to start the day.
To most people this life seems unrealistic, maybe it seems unrealistic to you as well, but it really isn’t. Conversation about this life model is often met with sarcastic remarks such as “That sounds nice, but how are you going to eat”? People love using that “How are you going to eat”?
It has been burned into our minds that The Typical Life Model is the only life model and anything else other than that is unrealistic and unattainable. It is seen as something you see in the movies, or something you must be born into, or you must win the lottery to live like that. Worst assumption is that these types of people are greedy and do not contribute anything to society but everything to themselves.
Success is praised in an odd way, we are taught to look at Doctors, Lawyers, and Engineers as the ultimate role models of success. Not to say they aren’t good role models, but they seem to be the ones repeated from generation to generation, in our Asian immigrant communities anyway. It is because they followed the typical life model and are viewed as the ones that “made it”. We need these people in our world but introducing any other idea of achieving success and living a life of fulfillment is disapproved.
We also need these unconventional people to challenge the old ways of thinking and create a path for future generations instead of passing them down outdated information. We have been conditioned to be tied to our careers, to be tied to the little piece of paper that took 4 years to achieve. We have been broken down to earn money to pay down our debts and put food in our mouths because now we must survive as what teachers called the “real world”. Survive to pay off your student loans, shelter yourself, clothe yourself, feed yourself. How pathetic that does that sound to you? A life of survival, which is what many people live.
The conventional life model is easy, it is safe and, in a sense, guaranteed. But, full of unfulfillment, unhappiness, and a feeling of something missing. The unconventional life model is full of happiness, fulfillment, ultimate life satisfaction, but it is much riskier and full of what ifs? But in the end unconventional life model will best serve you, your family, and generations to come.
How can one achieve to live in an unconventional way?
First you must ask yourself if it’s even for you. If you find the idea of a secure job and steady paycheck comforting, then it may not be the best for you. If you find that idea of sitting in a cubicle and having a boss appalling, then you are the perfect match, but don’t go quitting your job just yet.
If you’ve decided the unconventional way is the only way for you, you must now figure out what it means to YOU. Figuring this out in on itself is the very first step of living an unconventional life, most people have accepted their life as it is and spend their time working, sleeping, and watching television. If you have made it this far down in the article that is not you, you are different, you want to break out this autopilot and make change.
I have only laid out the foundation of The Unconventional Life Model, that being: You are adding value to the world through your passions instead of contributing a small part through selling your time. You are rewarded for value, and not paid for your time, you have the freedom to explore all your interests, try new things, learn new things. You understand what is important to you and have a great sense of fulfillment and happiness.
There is no right or wrong answer to this, these answers are buried deep within your mind, it is your life, you know what is good for you and what is not. Have you had enough of following the herd? Where has conventional advice landed you? Where has listening to ‘everyone’ landed you? Live your life according to how you want it, not only will you be happier, but the world will also be happier.
Sumit Singh Randhawa