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15 Signs You’re Born to Be A Free-Thinker

15 Signs You’re Born to Be A Free-Thinker

Free-thinkers are confident, logical and intelligent. They give birth to their own ideas and resist the dominating mantras of the simple-minded. Having a mind that is free and the courage to express it will often mean free-thinkers have only a few close friends (who are equally interesting and intelligent). Though they are proud of their brilliant minds they are also sensitive and seek harmonious relationships with accepting partners. It can be exhausting to resist the overwhelming myths of popular thought on a regular basis. Free-thinkers are intellectual heavy lifters in our world and their non-conformist, irreverent wit and insight shines a light on the fallacy of often illogical beliefs in many areas.

1. You Are The Pope Of Your Own Life

Speaking of dogma… as a free-thinker you live by your own set of rules and no one,  not even your beloved mother, can tell you to live otherwise. You came by your beliefs through your own experience and curiosity. You tested them and they stood up to your tests. It’s impossible for you to kowtow to religious or secular bylaws that were created to control people.

2. You Are Outstanding In Your Work And Play

A free-thinker does not understand mediocrity! You give everything your all. You don’t need to do a non-traditional job to be a free thinker. Because of your insight and imagination you may be the best legal secretary in the land but no-one knows that every weekend you jump into a uniform that looks like a space suit and go longboarding down mountain highways. Most people are happy to spell-check their way through their days, but you write life at a higher level.

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3.You Have Unique Style

Who wants to fit in? Free-thinkers stand out and you don’t need tattoos to do it. You may have them but you’re not following a trend; you’re expressing your life. Most people you know let their jobs dictate their style of thought and dress. Not you. You’re dapper, edgy or classic. You wear what you want and you wear it well.You’re Oscar Wilde or Baudelaire.

4. You Are Creative

Free-thinkers engage in creative thinking on many levels. Socially, emotionally, logically and spiritually. You may make movies that question deeply held beliefs, paint pictures that challenge conventional thinking about love, write stories that provoke people to question their place in the world or sing songs that dispel myths about sexual orientation. You think creatively because you think freely.

5. You Have Been Called Weird

Normies don’t get you. Nine to fivers think you’re wasting your life. Buttoned down bankers who profit from the funds of dictators and other (more local) criminals think you’re morally bankrupt because you don’t buy into the American dream. Free-thinkers see that the dream is crushing the reality. You go off to live in the woods off the grid and raise a bunch of hippie kids. You spend a year traveling to see every work of art you’ve ever wanted to see. You start a publishing company focusing on books for old people. You do what your heart calls you to do and that’s pretty weird.

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6. You Think For Yourself

As a free-thinker it goes without saying that you think for yourself. Ever since you heard your friends who are outside your faith are going to hell you’ve thought for yourself. There has been some seminal moment where you rejected the authority over you and started to think secret not-so-secret radical thoughts. You are so determined to think without constraints that you question your own thoughts and beliefs on a regular basis.

7. You Question Authority

A free-thinker knows that more knowledge or power does not mean you have a superior belief system. Historically, people with vast intelligence and power have been a destructive force in the world. The atom bomb was devised by some fairly smart dudes but they did some serious damage in the world. Even the most learned can be wrong. You know you don’t have to believe them but you also know you can if their ideas pass your qualifying tests.

8. You Have Friends With Whom You Disagree

Free-thinkers agree to disagree. Your book clubs are pretty raucous events. Eight people read the same book and have eight different takes on it. All of them make you think. It’s a pleasure to be in the company of people who spark your imagination. You think dinner parties are better when they sound like an old joke: “So, a Jew, a Catholic and an atheist come to dinner.” A closed community is a boring community. You’re not much for boring.

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9. You Have Heard Of The Kardashians (but know nothing about them)

Free-thinkers know what is going on in modern culture but they feel no need to buy in. You’re definitely not dead to modern culture. You think freely enough to have friends who watch this stuff but you don’t have time for it. The real estate in your brain comes at a higher cost than the price of admission charged by so called reality TV. You’d rather eat rusty nails.

10. You Don’t Watch Television

A free-thinker won’t find entertainment in a mind control box. There is nothing on TV that appeals to you and you don’t want your mind numbed and your money stolen by the marketing messiahs who promise a better life (if you only eat their brand of yogurt). TV is dead anyway. You can find your entertainment climbing mountains, dining with friends or selecting movies you want to watch when you want to watch them. Your mind will not be tamed.

11. You Read

A free-thinker likes to read. Yes, you read books. Whole books. With big words in them. You read more than headlines. You read more than articles. You like to fill your mind with well thought out, complex ideas – not sound bites. E-readers or actual books are equally of value to you.

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12. You Don’t Pay Attention To Labels (Except Food)

A free-thinker is label-free. Gay, straight and everything in between – you could care less and it’s likely you’ve tasted from the smorgasbord of Conservative, Liberal, Libertarian – you listen to all and come up with your own ideas. Feminist, Humanist, Pacifist, Realist – if there is any thing in any ist you like you adopt it but you don’t go wholesale to the point of exclusion or inclusion. The only labels you read are the ones that list allergies.

13. You Understand There Are Many Ways To See The World

A free-thinker is multi-dimensional and sees the world that way. Your best friend studies Buddhism, doesn’t eat meat or onions or garlic and stays away from the demon liquor. Your mum goes to church, runs a mission for orphans and refrains from the naughty words. Your favorite professor is a passionate communist, marks too hard (and with his bias showing) and has worn the same elbow patched stereotype of a tweed coat every day for at least the last 25 years. You like it all.You see the value in each and every way of being and it makes you happy that these people are in the world.

14. You Never Stopped Asking Why

Free-thinkers are confoundingly curious buggers. From about the age of three you’ve been asking why and you’ve never stopped. You now know why you poop, why dogs smell everything and why the caged bird sings. The bigger questions about life fascinate you and you love to explore them. Having said that… you’re still curious about the little things too. A visit to the dentist opens another world for you – so, when you eat sugar, microbial bacteria on your teeth release acids that cause cavities. Interesting…

15. You Have Fun

Free-thinkers don’t take things too seriously when they don’t have to. It’s fun to wrap your head around new ideas. It’s fun to try new things. It’s fun to eat new foods. Life is full of adventures and free thinkers are up for adventure.

Featured photo credit: Young hippie in a red dress dancing in the middle of the road on a hot summer day via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

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