“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” ―Joan of Arc

You are blessed with one life, and you must know how to lead your life as per your passions, principles and philosophies. You must not be dictated by others. You must create your life the way you want in the initial stage itself to provide meaning to your life. You can also avoid regrets on your deathbed.


“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” ―Steve Jobs

The people who live their lives on their own terms are leaders by nature. They don’t compromise with their core values and principles. When you look at inspiring leaders including Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela they never compromised their principles and philosophies despite several challenges to their positions and threats to their lives. They remain as immortals in the history. Similarly, when you want to excel as a leader and inspire others, you must live on your own terms. In fact, ordinary individuals often live on the terms of others while the extraordinary individuals often live on their own terms. Extraordinary individuals are leaders and trendsetters, not trend followers.

When you live and lead your life on your own terms, you avoid blaming others for your decisions and failures. You learn lessons well and move forward with valuable takeaways to excel as a leader.

A Blueprint to Live Your Life on Your Own Terms

“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”  ―Harriet Beecher Stowe

Here is a blueprint to live your life on your own terms. Sit in a quiet place for some time to analyze yourself. List out your passions and priorities. Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Explore opportunities accordingly. Consider both internal and external threats. Think of what value you can add to yourself and the people around you. Identify what would you like to be remembered for. Create your set of ethics and etiquette. Set a vision about your legacy to your next generation and start leading your life on your own terms. Take feedback regularly to check whether your actions are aligned towards your core values. If you find any deviation, keep yourself aligned.  Here are some ways to live your life on your own terms:

  • Don’t adopt short-term
    approach. Instead, have a vision with a long-term approach.
  • Don’t get tempted to
    follow others.
  • Don’t compare with
    others’ lives because you really don’t know what their internal challenges
  • Find out what keeps you
    up at night.
  • Be financially
    independent to avoid being dictated by others. Have regular flow of income
    to lead your life peacefully.
  • Keep limited circle of positive
    friends and well-wishers to create positive vibes.
  • Work for satisfaction,
    not for recognition.


“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” ―Nelson Mandela

Kris Carr remarked, “You can’t please everyone. When you’re too focused on living up to other people’s standards, you aren’t spending enough time raising your own. Some people may whisper, complain and judge. But for the most part, it’s all in your head. People care less about your actions than you think. Why? They have their own problems!” Therefore, don’t worry excessively what others think about you. You were not born to please others. Remember, you were born with a purpose. Understand this fact to follow your passions, principles and philosophies. Don’t allow others to take a raid on you. Be assertive right from the beginning.

Remember, living on your own terms doesn’t mean leading your life indifferently. You must respect others without allowing others to disrespect you. We brought nothing when we were born and we carry nothing when we leave this world. What we have under our control is from birth to death ― life. Hence, plan accordingly to live on your own terms and to leave your leadership legacy.

Life is great!

Professor M.S. Rao

Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India

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