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Outcome-Independence: The Art of Living Badly

How to get it together by forgetting about perfection, being real, and staying in motion.

This article is going to teach you how to live your best possible life by improving your relationship with the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ worlds so that you can develop an attitude of outcome-independence and free yourself from the mental barriers and self-limiting beliefs that keep you from yourself, the world, and reality.

By developing outcome-independence you’ll be able to:

  • Stay in tune with your purpose by riding the Train even though you don’t always know where it’s going or how it’s gonna get there.
  • Keep clarifying your vision for yourself and your life as a whole based on real-time feedback from reality.
  • Chase goals that challenge and excite you without holding yourself back by fear or a lack of balls.
  • Remain more present in life instead of getting caught up in your head and the illusory conceptual barriers that stop you taking real action in the world because of your conditioning and its ‘inner critic’.
  • Make better use of your time and attention as you learn to stop worrying about things you have no influence over.
  • Become more real in yourself as your grow through your edge and develop the skills and qualities required to level-up.
  • Live in a more creative way that allows you to express yourself instead of depress yourself.
  • Stop taking everything personally because you have the three building blocks of real confidence: purpose, abundance, and outcome-independence.
  • Be more fearless in general and know that you’re moving forward even when it seems that externally you’re moving backwards.
  • Live a real life instead of an unreal life.

Outcome-independence is an essential tool in terms of growing real and living a life that is aligned with the truth (whatever the hell that is). If we only ever define ourselves on what ‘happens’ to us or on the results that we get – instead of our involvement in the process that led to these results – then we end up getting lost in the ego and defining ourselves on illusory standards that don’t really exist.

Outcome-independence just means that you “do your best and forget the rest” and that whatever happens, you know you’ll be okay, because you’re in touch with your realness and the unshakeability that this entails, so you can handle it, keep moving, and keep growing no matter what. 

Understanding outcome-independence means that we actively live a life of real progress instead of a life of the ego’s forced perfection. It means that we’ve done the ‘inner’ work necessary to be able to face the uncertainty of not knowing and not having everything always go to plan; it means that we dive into life and become one with it instead of only having ideas about what it might be or living under the shadow of dreams that we never even act upon.

In short, living with outcome-independence means that we give ourselves permission to live badly – i.e. living a way that we don’t always get ‘perfect’ results but that we always at least get some kind of results or move forwards in such a way that we’ll eventually get to where we need to be: reality in ourselves and the world.

When we understand the Art of Living Badly, we live more because we spend less time in our heads and our interpretations of things and more time out in the actual world changing it in reality through our actions.

This article is going to show you how you can get an unreal life back on track to reality by getting out of your head, creating a real vision for yourself, and then giving yourself permission to act upon it badly rather than never acting on it at all.

Remember: Action is the only cure for anything because whether you take the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ action, you will have immediate feedback from reality and can use that to get back on track in terms of growing real, no matter what is going on in the world around you.

Ego vs Reality / Stasis vs Flux

A lot of what you read on this website or in Personal Revolutions: A Short Course in Realness is about one simple idea: the idea that the thing that holds you back more than anything is the illusion of stasis, or the idea that ‘you’ (or, more specifically, your image of yourself) and your life are just ‘fixed’.

It’s a simple idea but it basically boils down to the fact that you’re living in one of two ways:

  1. You’re fighting to maintain a ‘fixed’ idea of yourself that you’ve developed because of your conditioning and your relationship with your own shame about your ‘real’ self (so you put a mask on).
  2. You’re fighting to take off your mask and live real in a world that has asked you to become unreal.

One of these ways of living is founded on the fundamental assumption of stasis (ego) and the other is rooted in the assumption that our ‘personalities’ can be changed through experience and insight and that we can grow more real by challenging ourselves and growing in the right ways through flux (reality).

For the sake of this article, we can say that the more attached we become to the illusion of stasis that our ‘personality’ or ego rests upon, the more outcome-dependent we become as a result – this is because we need certain outcomes to work out in the way that we want in order to not have to change or grow as a result of the unexpected or uncertainty.

In other words, outcome-dependence is what happens when we haven’t worked on ourselves and so we need to control everything in the ‘outside’ world so that it doesn’t trigger the inner ‘stuff’ that we’ve been avoiding in ourselves.

Only if we accept ourselves enough internally to become ‘friends’ with chaos or uncertainty can we have any real chance of developing an attitude of outcome-independence and not defining ourselves by what happens outside of us but by what we can influence within.

This is where the Art of Living Badly comes in.

Perfectionism = Personality (External) / Progress = Growth (Internal)

When we’re scared to live ‘badly’, it’s usually because we’re so caught up in ourselves and the attachment to perceived results and how we think they’ll define us that we fail to ever do anything at all.

The Art of Living Badly is about understanding that it’s better to take some real action badly and to keep moving forwards than it is to take no action whatsoever because we’ve frozen up like a deer in headlights.

The reason that living ‘badly’ allows us to keep moving forwards is that, regardless of external outcomes, we can still gain new insight and experience that allows us to push the limits of our inner awareness and to grow real as we push the perceived ‘limits’ of our ‘personality’ or self-image.

The main difference between outcome-dependent people who hide behind their masks and outcome-independent human beings who keep growing is their relationships with the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ worlds:

  • An outcome-dependent person is just a person who defines themselves predominantly by what is going on outside of them (usually something ‘bad’ conceptually because they are detached from their realness).
  • An outcome-independent human being is just a human being who defines themselves predominantly by what is going on inside of them (usually something ‘good’ experientially because they are connected to their realness).

Knowing whether we predominantly identify with the inner experiential or outer conceptual means that we know whether or not we can be outcome-independent. If we are connected to our inner abundance and have found the unshakeability of our realness, then it’s much easier to remain outcome-independent.

The reason for this is that we ultimately have no control over what happens outside of ourselves, whereas we have almost total influence over what we choose to do with whatever arises inside of ourselves. Our experience of the world is always rooted in whether or not we have a real or unreal relationship with ourselves.

If we think that what we ‘are’ is defined by the things that happen outside of ourselves then we are at the mercy of the whole universe – this is especially troublesome for people who have designed their whole lives in order to keep their masks in place and to stop them from having to face their own ‘inner’ stuff.  

If we believe that the universe could sneak up on us at any moment and remove our mask to reveal what’s hiding underneath then we will obviously have a fear of unexpected or undesired outcomes; the only real solution is to work on accepting ourselves no matter what, tuning into our abundance, and taking our mask off by ourselves so that we don’t have to worry about some unexpected, external thing doing this for us.

The rest of this article will look at the ‘building blocks’ of getting things done and examine how letting go of the external in preference of the internal when it comes to the way we choose to identify ourselves allows us to live badly but to get to where we need to be.

Remember: It’s better to do something badly than not to do anything at all because you have given in to illusory conceptual barriers. Learn to accept yourself enough to be able to live ‘badly’ and you will stand a better chance of ever really living at all.

Getting Things Done in an Outcome-Independent Way

As we’ve said, living in an outcome-independent way means that we can put ourselves out into the world with total ferocity but that we stay unshakeable in the face of whatever results we get.

This is because we know that whatever happens to us, we remain real and that whatever is real can never be either added to or removed from because reality is already whole and we are an integral ‘part’ of it (see Unshakeable Abundance: How to Live From Your Realness and Kill the Fear of Loss).

The only place where things can appear to be ‘added’ or ‘removed’ is in the external world of fragmented concepts– this is why understanding the difference between internal and external as mentioned above is essential for becoming outcome-independent.

‘Getting things done’ is about having the right elements in place and designing them in a real way (around your values, etc.).

These elements are:

Your Purpose = The ‘Why’ behind what you do (for example, my purpose is to help people realise that a lot of the things that make them miserable in life are totally unnecessary because they only ‘exist’ in their heads – in particular, regarding the way they choose to relate to themselves or identify as something unreal. Getting on the Train in my life is about doing this every day).

Your Vision = The ‘What’ you will do (for example, my vision is to keep building my coaching business and to create a network of businesses and organisations that understand the ‘realness’ ideas talked about in most of my work. I have a clear vision of what this will look like and what I will have to do to make this happen).

Your Goals = The ‘How’ you will do what you will do (for example, any of the smaller steps in the process that will help you move towards your vision as you fulfil your purpose).

Now and Here = The When and Where of this overall process (because everything is a process and you’re either on the Train and working it right now or you’re lost in your head somewhere and not present in life).

Your Attitude = A combination of things including your relationship with your own perception of yourself, the world, and reality and power over your own emotions that will allow you to go about the manifestation of your purpose, vision, and goals in either a real or unreal way.

The rest of this article will look at all of these things in relation to maintaining outcome-independence and living ‘badly’ but in the realest possible way:

Purpose: Why You Do What You Do

Your purpose is the ‘Why’ behind whatever it is that you have decided to dedicate your life to once you get onthe Train and start moving forwards every day of your life, no matter what.  A well-designed and well-chosen purpose is one that makes you more of yourself as you go about its manifestation through action but which also connects you to the world around you and the other human beings that inhabit it with you.

Really, your purpose can be anything but to ensure that it is a real one the best guideline to follow (imo) is that you uncover your real human values (truth, creativity, freedom, etc. ) and find a way to “Make your values valuable to others”.  This ensures that your purpose is rooted in something real, not just your ego, and that it automatically connects you to other people in a real way.

Your purpose is ultimately about helping the world around you to become more real; if your purpose is rooted in ego (i.e. only benefitting yourself and the strengthening of your own false self-image, instead of allowing you to shatter this image as you grow through your edge), then it might take you somewhere but not towards reality and so can’t be seen as a real purpose.

Outcome-independence at the level of purpose means that you know your intentions behind fulfilling this purpose and that it is rooted in your realness and your values over your conceptual understanding or ego alone.  The short version is that you are human, no more, no less and that your purpose is designed to allow you to grow into this humanity, being the best version of yourself, without allowing you to trick yourself into thinking that you are ‘more than’ or ‘less than’ human in anyway.

Examples of being ‘more than’ are that you fool yourself into thinking you are perfect or heroic in some way and that you are ‘above’ others (maybe getting in the Drama Triangle and trying to rescue others); being ‘less than’ means that you fool yourself into playing a victim and creating illusory monsters to fight out there in the external world.

Both ‘more than’ and ‘less than’ are attempts of the ego to prevent you having to face yourself and grow real. ‘Only human’ is enough – though never an excuse to stop moving towards your potential – and you can always keep growing and become more of yourself, though not more than human.

People who are trying to be ‘more’ or ‘less’ than human with their chosen life purpose are defining themselves by some external standard in order to keep their mask in place. This is the very definition of outcome-dependence that we gave above. Aiming to be ‘more’ or ‘less’ than is always rooted in a lack of acceptance of oneself, which means the ego has always taken a hold of the person, and that they will have to define themselves by results.

Stop attempting to be either ‘more’ or ‘less’ than human and you can design a purpose for yourself that allows you to express your humanity with others in a totally outcome-independent way. This is the Art of Living Badly: accepting that you don’t have to be perfect in any way – you just have to take real action and connect to others (both ‘more’ and ‘less’ than are about comparing yourself to illusory and impossible standards of perfection).

Vision: What You Do With What You’re Doing

If your purpose can be seen as the driving force of what you decide to do with your life, your vision can be seen as the destination that you’re aiming for as you go about the business of taking yourself there.

There is a little overlap between vision and what we have said about purpose but for the sake of clarity we can say that your purpose is rooted in why and your vision is rooted in what. Once again, how you choose to design this aspect of your life will either be real or unreal and allow you to live in an outcome-dependent or outcome-independent way depending on how you