Derek Sivers
from the book “How to Live”:

Here’s how to live: Be independent.


All misery comes from dependency.
If you weren’t dependent on income, people, or technology, you would be truly free.
The only way to be deeply happy is to break all dependencies.

Most problems are interpersonal.
To be part of society is to lose a part of yourself.
Cut ties with society.
Don’t engage.
Don’t even rebel, because that’s reacting.
Instead, do what you’d do if you were the only person on Earth.

People think we live in a world of politics, society, norms, and news.
But none of it is real.
They’re just interpersonal drama.
They’re the noisy waste product of unhealthy minds.

Crowds are hysterical, and inbreed opinions.
Don’t be a part of any group.
Don’t take sides on any fight.
Instead of standing out from the crowd, just avoid and ignore the crowd.
Avoid social media and the zeitgeist.
Its stupidity will infect you.
Don’t align with any religion, philosophy, or political stance.
Stay unlabeled and unbound.

Rules and norms were created by the upper class to protect their privilege — to categorize people into high versus low society.
None of it applies to you.
Long ago, people had to follow norms to have high social status, otherwise they’d be ostracized and couldn’t survive.
But now you can survive, mate, and thrive without social status.
So it’s both irrational and unwise to follow those norms.

Dogs bark.
People speak.
It doesn’t mean a thing.
What they say and do has nothing to do with you, even if it seems directed your way.
The only opinion that matters is your own.
When you know what you’re doing, you won’t care what anyone else is doing.
When you’re indifferent to people’s words and actions, nobody can affect you.

Don’t believe anything anyone says.
Listen if you want, but always decide for yourself.
Never agree with anything the same day you hear it, because some ideas are persuasively hypnotic.
Wait a few days to decide what you really think.
Don’t let ideas into your head or heart without your permission.

Being independent means you can’t blame others.
Decide everything is your fault.
Whoever you blame has power over you, so blame only yourself.
When you blame your location, culture, race, or history, you’re abdicating your autonomy.

Everyone has their own lives to manage.
Nobody is responsible for you, and you aren’t responsible for anybody.
You don’t owe anyone anything.

Friends are great at the right distance.
Just like you can’t read something if it’s pushed up against your face, or too far away, you should keep your friends at arm’s length — close but not too close.

Have more than one romantic partner, or none.
To avoid emotional dependence, never have just one.
Don’t worry about being lonely.
Nothing is more lonely than being with the wrong person.
It’s always better to be alone.

You can’t be free without self-mastery.
Your past indulgences and habits might be addictions.
Quit a harmless habit for a month, just to prove you can.

When you say you want more freedom from the world, you may just need freedom from your past self.
You don’t see things as they are.
You see them as you are.
Change yourself and you change the world.

Learn the skills you need to be self-reliant.
Learn to drive, fly, sail, garden, fish, and camp.
Learn emergency medical and disaster preparedness.
Assume nobody will help you.

Don’t depend on any company, especially not the big tech giants.
Use only open-source software and open communication protocols.
Keep your own backups.
Get your own domain.
Run your own server.

Live where you feel most free.
Move symbolically far away from where you grew up.
Living in a foreign place helps make it clear that this culture’s rules don’t apply to you.

The best place for self-reliance is a rural off-the-grid home.
Generate your own electricity.
Collect your own water.
Grow your own food.

Or have no home at all.
When you have no home, the whole world is your home.
Be a nomadic minimalist to break dependencies on stuff.
Our hunter-gatherer ancestors thrived by carrying nothing, then finding or making what they needed.

Be a perpetual traveler, living out of a suitcase.
Move to a new country every few months, never a registered resident of anywhere.
Spread the different aspects of your life across different countries to avoid depending on any one country.
Earn multiple passports.
If a country enters into war or makes your life hard, just leave.
To be nomadic is to be a pacifist.

Make friends wherever you go, so that no one place has all of your friends.

Own your own business with many small customers to avoid depending on any big client.
Offer products, not a personal service, so your business can run without you.
Create many sources of income like this.

Don’t sign contracts.
Be willing to walk away from anything.

Eventually, you will have done it.
You’ll be absolutely free and independent.
It’s the ultimate liberation.

Then you can appreciate everything from a healthy distance.
You can appreciate your country from abroad, once it’s not your only option.
You can appreciate family, once they’re not forced upon you.
You can laugh at the hysteria of the crowd, and learn from it too.
You can take sides in a fight, with a smirk.
You can even take responsibility for someone else.

Being fully independent is how to live.