Independence from modern society in the digital age

Sometimes I feel like I belong to a little, special niche of the world.

I live in an ecosystem composed by people that use a digital device, desktop computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet, to create value and distribute it across the digital network.

I help software developers get better at their job, through blog posts and online courses. That’s what I do.

Other people in my niche create videos, write ebooks, they have paid newsletters, they create software products that they then sell one-time or on a subscription.

In the real life, I do not know anyone that does what I do. Sadly. I do not live in an ecosystem where this is a common thing to do. I know I could fly to some fancy digital nomad place and find lots of them, but it’s not something I’m inclined to. But I know many people through the Internet. I read what they write. I watch their videos. I listen to their voice in podcast interviews.

Those people work independently. They do not have anyone to report to. Sometimes they work with other people as a team, but they do not have anyone telling them what to do.

They are free. They only report to their customers.

They can stay silent for months at a time, seemingly inactive, until they come up with something new to offer to the world.

This does not mean it is an easy job. Far from that. I actually think I do a way more difficult job now than when I was a freelancer/contractor.

You don’t have a list of things assigned to you by someone else. There is no way to “fit in”. You can only succeed in this profession by being the boldest person you can be. You have to put yourself out there, and I’ve always been quite shy.

And then you need to improve everyday. Do a better job today, compared to yesterday.

But I wouldn’t trade this for a job where I don’t have full control. Control of time, in particular. I can decide when to do something. And I can also decide if I want to do that. If it’s the right thing for the business, and for me.

And sometimes the right thing for the business is not the right thing for me, and then it’s time to think which route to take.

The beauty of thinking is that it can be done anywhere. And it turns out my best thinking happens while doing long walks in the woods, with no other human in sight.

Ironically, the most analog thing I can think of, walking in the woods, enables a life where I get to do what I love in the digital world.

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