— Jonathan Mead, Illuminated Mind
Some people are stuck living a life controlled by others. Some people just don’t live in a way that makes them happy. Then, there are the few mavericks who take full control and live the life of their dreams.
That’s why I wanted to talk to Jonathan Mead so badly, because he falls under the third category and has (in his own words) opted out of the typical life-template.
He writes about living and working on your own terms at his blog, Illuminated Mind. I wanted to bring some of that wisdom over here to share on Life Notion, so I asked him the following 7 questions on what it takes to live the life of your dreams.
Alex: You have a very successful blog with just an incredible community atmosphere in it. What is the message you are trying to send throughout your community, and what is the one main thing you want people to takeaway from reading your blog?
Jon: My main goal is to help people live and work on their own terms. And I see self employment as a major vehicle for personal growth. I encourage people to decide for themselves what type of life they want their business to support, and to work toward creating their own freedom.
Really it’s about living deliberately, loving the path that you are on, and getting paid to be who you are. If I can help people do those things, I’m very honored and fulfilled by that.
Alex: It looks like we have a similar story, and as you put it on Illuminated Mind – we don’t follow the “typical life-template.” How did you go from following that template to reclaiming your dreams (link to your article) and living the life you want to?
Jon: I think it comes down to questioning. Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve had the habit of questioning everything, whether it’s physics, religion, or why peanut butter goes with jelly.
I’ve just been the type of person that doesn’t quite sit well with accepting that things are “just the way they are.” So I also questioned the assumption that work was supposed to be a chore, and tried to create something different. And here I am.
Alex: To me, the most powerful message throughout your blog is to “live and work on your own terms.” With the majority of people hating their jobs and the way they work now, how do you think your work on Illuminated Mind has changed some people’s perspectives?
Jon: My hope is that it gives people a sense that they can do this too. We’ve worked very hard to build a community around this idea that people can live and work on their own terms. And I think when people have support and encouragement it makes them feel less alone in their quest.
Alex: What’s the first thing that should be going through the mind of somebody who wants to take control of their life and become the person they want to be?
Jon: I think it starts with finding the heart of what makes them come alive. And in order to do that you’re probably going to need to go through a process of shedding all of the things that don’t make you excited.
Once you create that space, you’ll actually be able to see more clearly what you want your life to be about.
Alex: You have an eBook which I am looking to pick up soon called “Reclaim Your Dreams.” One of the things about it that really caught my attention was the tagline – “An Uncommon Guide to Living on Your Own Terms.” What would you say is so uncommon about the advice you have in your book?
Jon: Well, it’s not so much that the book itself contains uncommon advice. It just so happens that compared to the way most people operate in the world, it appears to be uncommon or unconventional. It’s really quite simple, have the courage to create the life you want.
Alex: Currently, I’m not in college and don’t see myself going any time soon. Of course, this is my personal preference and schooling is certainly not for everyone. How has schooling affected your life personally, and how big of a role did it play into becoming the person you are today?
Jon: School really helped me realize how much of a lack of participation there is in our own education. I think that’s the biggest flaw in our k-12 system, at least in the states and much of the world.
In college, things can be a bit different, but there are also templates you’re expected to follow there as well. I did end up going to college, but took a different approach. I never intended to get a degree, I just took classes that interested me. When I tell people this, most just don’t really get it.
Alex: I want to end this interview and just give you a chance to talk a little about yourself and leave any advice you think will be valuable to someone looking to follow in your footsteps of claiming the life they want.
Jon: I would say the best way to start is with what excites you.
People have a tendency to think they need to meet a bunch of prerequisites before they do what they want, and I just don’t think that’s necessary. We don’t need to earn our happiness or right to do work that makes us feel fulfilled. We can make that choice right now.
If you cultivate that heart set, you’ll begin to see how easy it really is to live deliberately, get paid to be who you are, and work on your own terms.
A big thanks to Jonathan for taking the time to answer these questions for us! Don’t forget to leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the interview!
And of course — be sure to check out some more of his awesome work over at Illuminated Mind →