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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 relate to yourself, the world, and reality.

Vision, as the name suggests, is about creating the clearest possible picture in your head of where you’re headed and using this picture to make decisions about how you act within current reality. Having a purpose – basically an idea of why you’d like to make the world more real – is essential for growing and finding ‘happiness’ but without a vision about where you’re going and what that will look like then you’ll never get anywhere.

Whether an individual life or a group project or enterprise, a lack of vision is the thing that holds you back more than anything else. Vision brings a sense of order to chaos and helps you determine what actions you will take and the direction that you’ll be moving in. It keeps the Train moving and allows you to respond to unreal situations in your current reality by either making them real or moving on.

However, as with purpose, we can be either outcome-dependent or outcome-independent about our vision, based on the role we allow it to play in our lives as well as the relationship that we have with ourselves and our levels of self-acceptance and the alignment between ‘inner’ and ‘outer’.

In short, your vision will either be an expression of what is inside you in your realness (your core values, sense of morality, sense of wholeness, etc.) or it will be an expression of your mask and your endless attempts to keep hiding from yourself and to avoid having to grow real. If your vision is based on an expression of what’s inside you, the gap between the inner and outer world will eventually close; if it’s an attempt to keep hiding from yourself, then this gulf will get ever wider.

If your vision is rooted in allowing you to better understand your ‘inner’ stuff and to align the inner and outer world over time, then you can be more outcome-independent as your dedication to the process of manifesting whatever your vision is will make you more real. If your vision is rooted in you wearing a mask (which came from assumptions about yourself, the world, and reality creeping in from outside yourself), then you will become more outcome-dependent in the way that we already mentioned above.

One of these ways brings peace because it puts you in control of your life; the other brings a state of anxiety as it leads to everything you think you know about yourself being swept from beneath your feet. A real vision will challenge and eventually destroy your false image of yourself whereas an unreal image will destroy you as you cling to it and block your real vision.

Ultimately, creating a real vision for yourself is about looking at your past experience and your self-image/ego and deciding to do something with these things. The choice is up to you and how comfortable you are looking at things in relation to the truth… If you choose reality, then you will find something real to run towards (your values, wholeness, etc.); if you choose unreality, then you will only keep running away from reality for unreal reasons.

Designing a vision for yourself in an outcome-independent way is about knowing your motivations behind moving in the direction you have chosen and asking yourself if you are aiming for a state of perfection that doesn’t and can never exist, or working to make progress which you can do regardless of how far you get as all progress is something that takes place on the ‘inside’ and has little to do with ‘external’ things (though they might trigger some inner insight).

The Art of Living Badly is about knowing you don’t have to be perfect but that you can always keep moving and that as long as you are real things will always work out. This has to be the case because reality is the only thing that can ever work and it never goes anywhere – all that happens is you’re either facing it or you’re not.

Goals: How You Do What You Do

Your goals are the thing that allow you to make progress with your vision and manifest your purpose. They can be seen as the how of what you do and they are an essential building block in the process of getting where you need to be and growing real.

There’s a whole bunch of content on the Internet already about setting goals and making sure they’re SMART and about having deadlines etc. so we won’t cover that here. What we are interested in is how we can remain outcome-independent about our goals so that we remain unshakeable and don’t go off course when things don’t go as planned and challenge the way we identify with ourselves.

The bottom line is pretty simple: you can control the goals you choose to face and the attitude that you have towards them but you can’t control the outcomes that you will achieve.

What happens in the gap between expectation and result is determined by your levels of self-acceptance and your inner relationship with your own identity – if you choose to trust and believe in yourself, no matter what outcome you get, then you will be able to readapt, redesign, and reconfigure the way in which you approach your ascent towards the manifestation of your vision when things don’t work out as planned.

The only reason that you wouldn’t trust and believe in yourself is that you have taken in false beliefs about yourself, the world, and reality from some external source. When you’re real, there is no question of trust or belief because the only thing you can ever really trust or believe in is within you: reality.

The application of this to the pursuit of your goals is that outcome-independent people know that they remain real whether or not they get the results that they expected; outcome-dependent people have somehow convinced themselves that not getting the desired results somehow makes them unreal.

Outcome-independence is about being real, which means that it is about understanding things in terms of processes, instead of mere events. When you’re in the flow of moving forward with your purpose and manifesting your real vision, your goals (as well as your daily habits, etc.) are just the engine of the process that drives you forward.

Just because you have been ‘unsuccessful’ with the pursuit of a certain goal (or an ‘event’) doesn’t mean that the overall process has come to an end.

By defining yourself internally (experientially through the reality of flux), not externally (conceptually through the illusion of stasis), you will be less dependent on the outcomes of your goals and will be able to keep pivoting and moving forward towards your vision by setting new goals based on the feedback you’ve had from reality.

Really, this can all be summed up by the phrase “Do your best and forget the rest” – outcome-dependent people are unable to forget “the rest” because they think it somehow defines them. Outcome-independence is about knowing “the rest” really doesn’t matter and trusting and believing that you will keep moving in the direction of reality no matter what.

In short, outcome-independence is about knowing that you don’t always need to get the ‘right’ or ‘perfect’ results but that you can always get the real ones. When you see it in those terms, whatever happens can be used to keep you getting where you need to be:

1. Uncovering more truth and then, 2) Living this truth the best you can. 

The Art of Living Badly is about knowing that reality is beyond ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and so even the results that initially seem bad can be made real and get you back on the right track. Taking that approach towards your goals unblocks mental energy and keeps things moving.

Now and Here: When and Where of Getting it Done

The Art of Living Badly means that you don’t need ‘perfect’ conditions to arise before you can start taking action. It means that you’re real, which means you’re part of the process at all times, and so you can get moving anywhere and at any time.

When you know your purpose and you know your vision and the goals that will take you towards it, you can either get lost in your head and your identity and wait for things to happen or you can make them happen. That applies wherever you may happen to be and whatever time it may be.

The reason we can say this is that everything is a process and you’re always connected to it. Outcome-independence is about understanding that even if things don’t seem like the ‘right’ time or place externally then you are still connected to this process internally – even if that just means making a decision to move forwards or to start uncovering new insight that will take you where you need to be.

The Art of Living Badly is about being connected to your real life at all times and moving towards it incrementally no matter what shape the world is in. 

An outcome-dependent person might tell you that they’ll start moving forwards in a year or two because they are trying to live perfectly; an outcome-independent person is moving forward right now and right here because they’re on the inner path and that’s the only one that really matters.

Realness: The Only Attitude that Counts

Everything that we talk about on this website or in Personal Revolutions is about an attitude that we call ‘realness’. Like any other attitude, it is comprised of numerous components (beliefs, feelings, instincts, etc.) but it can ultimately be summed up as making the choice between wholeness over fragmentation in yourself, the world, and reality at any given moment.

In the terms of what we have said in this article about outcome-independence and the Art of Living Badly, we can say that choosing to identify internally with what is real within us is about acknowledging that we are always whole whereas identifying with external outcomes is about choosing to identify with external fragments. One of these is a real way of living, the other is unreal (because no fragment can be real).

Most of what has already been written on this site is about this attitude of ‘realness’ so we don’t need to repeat ourselves but as a summary, to stay real:

  • Stay on the Train at all times and keep asking yourself if you’re working to move forward or if you’re stuck at a station and fooling yourself into thinking it’s something it isn’t.
  • Be aware of the masks that we wear because of a resistance to our own inner stuff and remember that we can take this mask off by not avoiding conflict.
  • Keep your balls by staying active instead of passive and not letting the world infiltrate your identity in the first place.
  • Manage your relationship with your own fear by mastering your biological wiring and social conditioning and understanding the difference between rational and irrational fear.
  • Understand that your true identity is about what is whole, not the fragments, and that you can use this to kill your ego’s scarcity mentality and remain unshakeable in the face of loss (or perceived loss).
  • Keep your ego in check by putting your realness in the driving seat of your life at all times and knowing that your real inner experience trumps external concepts any day of the week.  

Conclusion: Keep Moving

The Art of Living Badly is about knowing that you can move forward no matter what appears to happen because there are two paths that you’re walking at any given time: the inner and the outer. A ‘successful’ life is about narrowing the gap between these two paths to the greatest extent possible and expressing what is real within yourself but, regardless of what happens externally, you can continue growing and moving in a real way internally.

The Art of Living Badly is about circumventing the roadblocks that the ego throws upon your path with its illusion of stasis and continuing to move anyway. Forget doing everything perfectly and just focus on doing things – everything else will eventually fall into place if you keep moving, keep real, and keep responding to the opportunities that arise once you get going!

Know your purpose, set a vision for yourself, dedicate yourself to your goals, and keep a real attitude. Life is for the living and there is nothing but real life inside of you.

 


Check out Personal Revolutions: A Short Course in Realness for more on this topic.

To work with me and develop outcome-independence get in touch about a Reality Check.

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Oli Anderson is a fully-qualified coach working to help people close the gap between idea and reality so that they can live purposeful lives that make them feel truly alive. He is the author of Personal Revolutions: A Short Course in Realness.

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