7 Questions With Jonathan Mead

“I’ve just been the type of person that doesn’t quite sit well with accepting that things are ‘just the way they are.’ So I also questioned the assumption that work was supposed to be a chore, and tried to create something different. And here I am.”

— Jonathan Mead, Illuminated Mind

Some people are stuck living a life controlled by others. Some people just don’t live in a way that makes them happy. Then, there are the few mavericks who take full control and live the life of their dreams.

That’s why I wanted to talk to Jonathan Mead so badly, because he falls under the third category and has (in his own words) opted out of the typical life-template.

He writes about living and working on your own terms at his blog, Illuminated Mind. I wanted to bring some of that wisdom over here to share on Life Notion, so I asked him the following 7 questions on what it takes to live the life of your dreams.

Alex: You have a very successful blog with just an incredible community atmosphere in it. What is the message you are trying to send throughout your community, and what is the one main thing you want people to takeaway from reading your blog?

Jon: My main goal is to help people live and work on their own terms. And I see self employment as a major vehicle for personal growth. I encourage people to decide for themselves what type of life they want their business to support, and to work toward creating their own freedom.

Really it’s about living deliberately, loving the path that you are on, and getting paid to be who you are. If I can help people do those things, I’m very honored and fulfilled by that.

Alex: It looks like we have a similar story, and as you put it on Illuminated Mind – we don’t follow the “typical life-template.” How did you go from following that template to reclaiming your dreams (link to your article) and living the life you want to?

Jon: I think it comes down to questioning. Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve had the habit of questioning everything, whether it’s physics, religion, or why peanut butter goes with jelly.

I’ve just been the type of person that doesn’t quite sit well with accepting that things are “just the way they are.” So I also questioned the assumption that work was supposed to be a chore, and tried to create something different. And here I am.

Alex: To me, the most powerful message throughout your blog is to “live and work on your own terms.” With the majority of people hating their jobs and the way they work now, how do you think your work on Illuminated Mind has changed some people’s perspectives?

Jon: My hope is that it gives people a sense that they can do this too. We’ve worked very hard to build a community around this idea that people can live and work on their own terms. And I think when people have support and encouragement it makes them feel less alone in their quest.

Alex: What’s the first thing that should be going through the mind of somebody who wants to take control of their life and become the person they want to be?

Jon: I think it starts with finding the heart of what makes them come alive. And in order to do that you’re probably going to need to go through a process of shedding all of the things that don’t make you excited.

Once you create that space, you’ll actually be able to see more clearly what you want your life to be about.

Alex: You have an eBook which I am looking to pick up soon called “Reclaim Your Dreams.” One of the things about it that really caught my attention was the tagline – “An Uncommon Guide to Living on Your Own Terms.” What would you say is so uncommon about the advice you have in your book?

Jon: Well, it’s not so much that the book itself contains uncommon advice. It just so happens that compared to the way most people operate in the world, it appears to be uncommon or unconventional. It’s really quite simple, have the courage to create the life you want.

Alex: Currently, I’m not in college and don’t see myself going any time soon. Of course, this is my personal preference and schooling is certainly not for everyone. How has schooling affected your life personally, and how big of a role did it play into becoming the person you are today?

Jon: School really helped me realize how much of a lack of participation there is in our own education. I think that’s the biggest flaw in our k-12 system, at least in the states and much of the world.

In college, things can be a bit different, but there are also templates you’re expected to follow there as well. I did end up going to college, but took a different approach. I never intended to get a degree, I just took classes that interested me. When I tell people this, most just don’t really get it.

Alex: I want to end this interview and just give you a chance to talk a little about yourself and leave any advice you think will be valuable to someone looking to follow in your footsteps of claiming the life they want.

Jon: I would say the best way to start is with what excites you.

People have a tendency to think they need to meet a bunch of prerequisites before they do what they want, and I just don’t think that’s necessary. We don’t need to earn our happiness or right to do work that makes us feel fulfilled. We can make that choice right now.

If you cultivate that heart set, you’ll begin to see how easy it really is to live deliberately, get paid to be who you are, and work on your own terms.

Thanks Jon!

A big thanks to Jonathan for taking the time to answer these questions for us! Don’t forget to leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the interview!

And of course — be sure to check out some more of his awesome work over at Illuminated Mind →

About the author: Alex Mangini is an 18-year-old web designer, blogger and founder of Life Notion. He has been helping people online since the age of 14, and hopes to inspire even more through the blog. Follow him on Twitter →

Get Email Updates (it’s Free)

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicholas November 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm


Hey Jonathan! I’ve heard your name a bunch and it’s nice to find out what you’re up to. I’ve also noticed a trend in young people trying to start lifestyle businesses rather than big idea entrepreneurial companies. Do you ever see your self working towards starting a larger company?

Kian November 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm


Hey Alex,

Great interview and you asked all the right questions that I wanted to know.

To Jonathan – keep up the good work it must be an absolute buzz helping people realise their dreams. Thanks for the interview.

Alex Mangini November 30, 2011 at 10:11 am


Glad you liked the interview Kian. :)

Jess November 14, 2011 at 4:57 pm


This interview was awesome! Definitely going to read that eBook. Great idea in interviewing Jonathon, Alex!

Alex Mangini November 30, 2011 at 10:12 am


Thank Jess, I think he shared some great stuff with us. :D

Joe Wilner November 16, 2011 at 2:36 pm


Hi Alex,

Great interview! Illuminated Minds is a very inspiring and noble community, with a truely passionate message. The inspiring thing about Jonathon is that he reveals that following our passions and doing work we love doesn’t have to be difficult or frightening. I know I look to him as a model for living out my purpose and passions and am trying to continue down this path of nontraditional means. It has taken me a few years to learn that practicality and safety is far from thriving and truely living. Thanks!

Alex Mangini November 30, 2011 at 10:13 am


Jon’s blog is definitely inspiring, I read it all the time! Thanks for stopping by here Joe. :)

Sam King November 17, 2011 at 9:50 am


“…getting paid to be who you are.” – great quote… and one I certainly live by.

Alex Mangini November 30, 2011 at 10:14 am


That’s the dream life Sam! But of course, it’s not all about the money. ;-)

Sam King November 30, 2011 at 10:20 am


Excellent… can you give me some of your money? :-)

Justin November 17, 2011 at 10:15 am


Great interview Alex. I have been to Jonathan’s blog many times and I totally resonate with his message of living life on your own terms.

“shedding all of the things that don’t make you excited.” I go through this process periodically so I don’t settle for a life of mediocrity.

Alex Mangini November 30, 2011 at 10:16 am


Thanks Justin, glad you liked it!

I do the same, I’m always changing the way I work, the side activities I do and other little things that bore me in hope I can find something more exciting for myself to do.

Dinesh November 17, 2011 at 10:49 am


Brother what happened to blogussion ..?

Alex Mangini November 30, 2011 at 10:16 am


I don’t own it anymore. :-(

Sara Angel November 20, 2011 at 11:35 am


wow That interview was interesting. I have read it thoroughly and got more clarification as well.Great idea in interviewing Jonathon, Alex!

Alex Mangini November 30, 2011 at 10:17 am


Thanks Sara, glad you liked it! What was the one main thing you took away from it?

Buntu Redempter November 23, 2011 at 7:28 pm


Thank you Alex, I am glad I find this website.

Alex Mangini November 30, 2011 at 10:18 am


Glad you found it too. ;-) Hope to see you around more!

Buntu Redempter December 1, 2011 at 1:18 am



Fred Tracy November 27, 2011 at 6:53 pm


What a cool interview. Wow, as I’m typing this comment, I gotta say that I like how it becomes black with white text. Nice touch.

Anyhow, I really like the article. I’m aligning myself with “opting out of the typical life template” (I love that) as well, and it feels great. I seem to keep attracting cool people and bits of information like this article, this website, various books by Timothy Ferris, and so on.

It’s fascinating to step out on your own and break the mold. And it’s a whole lot more fulfilling. Keep up the great work.

Alex Mangini November 30, 2011 at 10:19 am


Thanks Fred, I like to get all the little details in my designs right. ;-)

I love that phrase too…”dropping the typical life template” is just really eye-opening and motivating to me. I want to create my own template to follow in life.

Hope I see you around here too Fred! Love your blog as well.

Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: