In recent years, digital nomadism has increasingly become a hot topic in the media.
We've learned from several outlets that digital nomads can work while also traveling to some of the most beautiful places in the world, thanks to the internet.
They're portrayed as these almost mythological creatures who are able to exist between the "real world", made up of long days and bills to pay, and the "eternal holiday", filled with cocktails, sun, and heavenly beaches.
Who wouldn't want to be in their shoes, after all?
However, beneath the surface of glossy Instagram pictures, there's much more than meets the eye.
A life full of adventure always comes at a cost and achieving freedom requires a very strong mindset.
What Is The Digital Nomad Mindset?
The term mindset comes from the field of Cognitive Psychology, which largely focuses on how people process information.
Carol Dweck, the American psychologist who coined this very term, defines it as the way of thinking as well as one's beliefs.
The mindset is the acquired attitude of knowing what is important to us, managing not to be influenced by external agents and thus helping us to achieve our personal goals.
No digital nomad has ever gained freedom without going through their own personal struggles. If your head isn't laser-focused on your goals, you will eventually burn out and quit.
It may seem brutal to put it in such terms but don't worry, there are several ways to strengthen your mindset, and we'll see how in the next section.
Ways To Develop A Digital Nomad Mindset
If you are trying to become a digital nomad, you need to know what you are getting into and how to acquire the right mindset to face the many difficult situations you will continually encounter in this journey.
Let's find out some ways to develop the digital nomad mindset.
1. The Focus
One thing that I think it's truly essential is focusing on our personal goals.
It may seem like a cliché, but the thing that often leads people to give up on their path to becoming digital nomads is that they no longer remember the initial reason why they started in the first place.
As a result, they are more likely to be influenced by the environment surrounding them.
The biggest obstacles come from personal situations like work, love, money, etc. At first, such circumstances might feel comfortable, but they could later turn out to be a cage, threatening to bring us back to the life we thought we had already left behind.
What to do, then? My advice is to always keep your goals in mind when you find yourself in any of these tricky situations.
2. Becoming A Digital Nomad Is A Personal Choice
If you have decided to change your lifestyle, there is certainly a reason for that. This particular reason can only be solely and exclusively yours.
Many digital nomads don't fit well in the conventions that society imposes on them, others prefer the outdoors to the office. There are those who wonder if life could be different from the one they were living, others instead want to simply be able to decide where to work.
Regardless of your personal motivation, always remember why you decided to do what you're doing in the first place. It will massively help you to have a purpose in difficult times.
Unfortunately, though, the biggest dangers often come from the people who are the closest to us. This is because your loved ones might not be able to fully understand why you started this path and will judge you without understanding your personal reasons.
Many will ask you why you are doing what you are doing, and you will not have to answer, as long as you are clear on those reasons.
And if you decide to share them with others eventually, don't always expect to be understood.
I know it's not easy, but unfortunately, it's part of the game.
3. Selective Ignorance
The digital nomad path is a delicate journey, especially in the beginning, and it's extremely easy to get carried away by external events.
So try to pay attention only to what can be useful to you, and let go of what you know can create imbalances for you.
Negative people, bad news, stories of those who didn't make it and now live with regrets – let go of all this because you don't need it!
4. Get Inspired
Take inspiration from those who have made it to become a digital nomad and use it as a motivation.
There are millions of people who, like you, have managed to get what they want. So don't get discouraged by looking at them, but rather think that if they have succeeded, there is a way for you to succeed too.
Spoiler alert: it's not true that Digital Nomads have wealthy parents who support them while they travel the world! Everyone worked hard to find a way to personal freedom. They are very normal people like you, and I guarantee it.
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Self-discipline is one of the most complex aspects of developing the Digital Nomad mindset.
Self-discipline isn't difficult to acquire, but it's definitely difficult to maintain. And this can occur either before or after embarking on the digital nomad lifestyle.
You must realize that, although this lifestyle brings you a lot of freedom, you still have some rules to follow.
You must be able to get your work done (and/or your training) without getting caught up in the urge to visit the places you are traveling to or getting distracted by mundane things. It's a constant battle against FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
Remote work is great, but you are most definitely exposed to distractions.
Some techniques you can then use to avoid temptation are:
- Turn off your phone notifications;
- Work in a place where other people work remotely or study from;
- If you are traveling, think first about organizing your work and then planning your trip;
- Set yourself daily tasks you know you must complete by a certain time.
We are our worst enemies, so we must know how to manage ourselves and be disciplined.
6. Open Up To New Opportunities And Explore
To conclude this article, I'd like to talk about an aspect of the Digital Nomad mindset which I truly believe is essential.
To start changing our way of thinking, we must realize that the world is full of opportunities and they come when you least expect them.
You may find a golden opportunity, even in the most unlikely of scenarios or contexts.
So talk to people, ask, get informed, and try new experiences, because you never know what's going to happen.
My experience has led me to discover that, most of the time, risks are repaid. So give life a chance to surprise you.
And remember: You'll never really be ready for anything until you start.
So forget about waiting for the right time to start, because "the right time" will never come and you will only waste precious time.
Show up, experiment, test, and find the right path for you.
This is the Digital Nomad mindset I have experienced and optimized over time in my personal life.
I realized that it is extremely important to adopt this way of thinking in order not to stay focused on my goals.
I know from experience that there are many people who are intrigued by this "nomadic" lifestyle. But it happens too often to see them give up not long after starting this journey.
The difference between those who succeed and fail isn't having more or less money than others nor the opportunities that happen to be given to us.
It all lies in our mindset, in our ability to have a stable and goal-centered mind.
And you? Are you working on your Digital Nomad mindset?
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We'll see you there, Freaking Nomads!
About The Author: Federico Felici
Federico Felici, born in Rome in 1991, started his digital nomad journey in July 2021 in the Portuguese Azores. The following year, he visited several countries including the Canary Islands, Morocco, and Norway. He is a Social Media Manager and Columnist, working from around the world with his laptop. He suffers from a severe allergy to offices and an irrepressible desire to discover the world.
You can follow him on his social channels:
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