Self-determined life: Lifestyle design

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Text comes from: Das Handbuch für digitale Nomaden: Selbstbestimmt leben – ortsunabhängig arbeiten (2016) from Sebastian Kühn, published by Münchener Verlagsgruppe (MVG), Reprints by friendly permission of the publisher.
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At least since the success of the “4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss, the term lifestyle design has gained a clear meaning and received a lot of attention. lifestyle design

Here writes for you:


Sebastian Kühn Autorenfoto_Sebastian Kühn_ (c) ShanghainFocus Photography 2Sebastian Kühn is an entrepreneur and digital nomad.


From the author:


Looking for self-determination

Ever since, more and more people are looking for alternative forms of work and self-realization. Lifestyle designers want to create their own lives instead of following what society has planned for them.

As a lifestyle designer you decide what your life should look like in the future. You break with old assumptions and expectations of your environment to write your own rules from now on. That is exactly what I mean by self-determined life.

Decide on dependencies yourself

In the broader sense, self-determination is the independence of other people, of an environment, a social system, an employer and unwanted obligations that bring you no value. I do not want to say that dependencies always have to be negative. However, I would like to have the freedom to decide these dependencies myself. This includes

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  • when and where I work,
  • with whom I spend my time,
  • in which way I assure myself,
  • as I care for my age,
  • in which country I live and pay taxes and
  • what conventions I follow.


The society in which we live is based on conventions. Without these unwritten rules and norms, living together peacefully would be difficult. But these conventions can limit us at the same time in our freedom of action.

The biggest hurdle towards self-determined life is for most of us mental. We ourselves are our biggest problem because we sabotage, question and dramatize where we can. To be critical of something new, we were brought up.


In order to live self-determined, you have to dismiss your skepticism about changes and instead question the status quo. You must not follow the majority, but trust your own feelings.

Maybe it's because of low self-esteem or social pressure - far too often we prefer to meet the expectations of others, rather than make ourselves right. At a young age we were taught that it is rude to say no.

Adults are responsible for their thoughts and actions

Always nod friendly and say thank you was the motto. In adulthood, we are responsible for our actions and consequences. That's why you always have the right to shake your head.

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A good educational qualification, a house in the countryside and a career in a decent company are just some of the desirable goals that parents, teachers and acquaintances give us along the way.

Change begins in the head

All these stories that are told to you are conventions. You have the right to question what is being told. Follow the stories you want to follow and say no to everyone else.

The first step to more independence in your life definitely starts in your head. Without throwing deadlocked thinking barriers overboard and letting new ideas in, all the next steps will do little Sense, If you are striving for more freedom, you must also be ready to take on more responsibility for yourself.

The dependence on others

Real freedom begins when you take responsibility for aspects of your life that were previously external. Because, as Spider-Man says: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Whenever you let someone else - friends, employers or government - decide for you, you become dependent. This makes it easier to blame others for the consequences of this decision, but it certainly does not lead to greater freedoms.

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All the areas of your life where you are not satisfied, you have to control yourself. If you do not, then someone else does it for you and you should not complain about the result.

As an entrepreneur you can decide for yourself

As an entrepreneur, you can make the course of your future career much more flexible. By leaving social security you can decide for yourself if and how you want to protect yourself. As an alternative to studying, you can put together your own curriculum on the Internet and determine the content of your education yourself. The list is endless.

You should think about which systems and institutions you want to make you dependent on and which ones you want to remove from your life in order to consciously control them yourself in the future.

Ready for more responsibility?

The “disadvantage” of a self-determined life is that only you are solely responsible for your decisions and the resulting consequences. You can't blame anyone anymore. Not your parents, not your employer, and not even any government. You alone are responsible for everything that goes well, but also goes badly. The reward is independence.

To the point it has Hal Elrod with the following statement:

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"The degree to which you accept responsibility for everything in your life is precisely the degree of personal power you have to change or create anything in your life."

The more responsibility you are willing to take, the more control you have over your life. Are you ready to take on more responsibility?

To put it right

I admit that an uncertain future can be scary. Especially if you are not only responsible for yourself, but also for other people.

Fears arise whenever you move to new terrain. When you do something for the first time. Always then doubts arise and the fear of failure inhibits you in your plans.

To rationalize fears

By rationalizing your fears, you make concrete things out of the phantasy that you can face. This is especially the case when you become self-employed, go to an unknown country for a long time, or end a long relationship. These emerging doubts are partly justified, but partly subjective.

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To handle your fears and doubts correctly, you must separate the useful self-doubt from blocking thinking. Personally, when dealing with doubts, it helped greatly to change my definition of failure. If something does not work, then I do not see it as a failure, but as a learning process.

Failure as a learning process

I analyze what went wrong for me, and I'll do better next time. When you are at a point where your self-doubts devour you, do not always ask yourself what would be if it does not work, but instead ask yourself: what if I do not try? What if I could do it? What is the best case?

Do not think about the security you have to give up, but think of the independence you gain. Anticipation instead of fear of loss, that should be your motto in the future! Your open attitude to change will alone cause you to see opportunities instead of risks.

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