I’ve said many times to people who ask me about living off-grid; living off-grid is a very simple way to live, but it isn’t easy. In large part, this statement is a reflection of the mental difficulties of living off-grid. This article will address what I believe to be the 6 most important mindsets for living off-grid. Most people will say these mindsets are important for anyone anywhere and I would agree, but in an off-grid situation, the importance of these mindsets is magnified and can be the difference between success and failure. Keep in mind this is in no way an exhaustive list nor is it meant to be the authority on the subject.
Just do it
So many times we get ourselves bogged down in detail and trying to make sure we do things perfectly. At least that’s what we tell ourselves. Not starting something until we have it planned out perfectly is really just a fear of failure. When I plan a project, like building a gasoline-powered battery charger, I start with a rough idea in my head about how I’m going to build it. Then, I’ll begin building it and the design will always change as I move through the process. Sometimes when I’m done building a project it doesn’t do what I wanted it to do as well as I thought it would. At that point, I decide to accept it as is, rebuild it or abandon it and move on.
Don’t waste energy worrying about a project that might fail. Spend all that energy trying it. If it does fail, don’t waste time beating yourself up over it. Learn from it and fix it or move on to the next project.
In the consumer based world we live in today it’s normal to purchase all the things and services we need or want. This is a dependence on a system that is effectively outside the control of the individual. Avoiding a lengthy philosophical discussion here I will simply say this mentality is very close to a form of voluntary slavery. In an off-grid lifestyle, it is important to have an attitude that if I don’t do it for myself it isn’t going to happen.
This mindset will inevitably push a person to pursue knowledge of all kinds. You can’t be self-reliant if you don’t know how to do anything for yourself. The self-reliant person says “ I don’t know how to do this, I’m going to figure out how.” The skill of learning how to learn new skills to become more self-reliant is one of the most valuable off-grid skills. Check out this article I wrote about 4 off-grid skills to start developing. https://offgridmaker.com/2019/05/16/4-skills-for-off-grid-life/
Complete self-reliance is an ideal and unachievable in its purest sense, but the pursuit of it will show a person what they’re capable of doing. What a person is capable of is always more than what they think they’re capable of. So go out there and chase self-reliance and find out what you’re capable of.
The ability to motivate yourself to do something is more valuable than knowing how to do something. If you know how to fix the drip at the faucet, but you never find the motivation to do it then knowing how to fix it has become irrelevant.
Being self-motivated falls into the same category as self-reliance, where it’s possible for a person to be self-motivated but not be self-reliant. It’s not possible for a person to be self-reliant and not be self-motivated. There are always chores to be done. The homestead always has repairs that need attention. There’s always another structure that needs to be built. The list goes on and on and the only person that’s going to get these things done is you. There isn’t even anyone who’s going to make you do them so you need to get yourself motivated to do the things that have to be done.
Here’s a great Podcast about living off grid and the mindsets for success.
Living off-grid will produce failures, especially in the beginning. These failures will range from small like leaving the clothes on the line and letting them get rained on, to big like wiring the charge controller incorrectly and blowing the circuits. The key is to learn from the mistakes and move on. Determination is key to being successful. A failure isn’t an indication that you can’t do it, it’s an opportunity to learn a better way to do it.
I built 3 different iterations of a wood-fired water heater before I built one that works well and I still want to build another one to improve the design. My wife and I have been living off-grid since 2013 and I still lack proficiency in cleaning and butchering animals. And there are countless other examples of how I need to make improvements to our homestead and the systems that make it off-grid.
This is all part of the off-grid life. Perseverance is just keep’n on keep’n on. One of my favorite sayings that I can’t remember where it came from is “It ain’t no step for a stepper!”. Be the kind of person that just keeps taking that next step there won’t be any step you can’t take.
Building an off-grid homestead is a journey. You don’t decide on Saturday to go off-grid and then on Monday you’re off-grid. It’s a process that takes planning, working, sacrificing, timing and a multitude of other activities. Things are going to go wrong sometimes even horribly wrong. There will be times that you feel like you’re never going to get there or you may even wonder what you’re even doing it for.
These are the times when you have to relax and remember that this is a simplistic lifestyle and worrying and stressing over things is a complicated activity. Be patient. If you make your plan and work your plan it will all come together and all you have to do is be patient. Don’t give up, because where you’re trying to get to may be right around the corner.
Is and Aught
Finally, we have what is and what ought to be. We have no control over what is right now. We may be able to affect what might be in a moment, a little while, tomorrow, next year or who knows, but right now was determined by past events and choices. What ought to be is an ideal that we can strive to achieve, but it isn’t what is. And just like the ideal of perfection I would argue that it isn’t even attainable. When we accept that what is has already been determined and let go of the judgment related to what ought to be, we can be much happier. When we understand that what ought to be is forever in the future, we can focus on living presently. This allows us to more effectively gauge where we are in relation to where we want to be and to plan a path to that place.
As I said earlier these are useful mindsets for life generally speaking, but for the off-grid lifestyle, I feel they are essential to your long-term success. So, here it is.
- Make a plan. Don’t waste energy on perfection. Just do it
- Rely on yourself to do it.
- Motivate yourself to do it.
- Don’t give up.
- Let patience show the fruits of your labor.
- What is, is. Don’t waste time on what ought to be. Work on changing what will be tomorrow.