LifeStyle Design|October 13, 2011 9:10 am

What is Lifestyle Design?

Lifestyle design is somewhat of a philosophical movement, spearheaded by those who reject traditional notions of  what defines a successful life. It is characterized by independence, the Internet, and, perhaps above all things,  entrepreneurship. Before explaining the movement in detail, I’ll first explain the more traditional ideals that it rejects.

The average person lives a life similar to this:

  • Go to school
  • Go into debt
  • Get a job
  • Get more debt
  • Have and raise Kids
  • Spend the rest of our working lives to pay for/pay off stuff that we don’t need
  • Retire–and finally have some time to relax and enjoy ourselves

What’s wrong with this lifestyle? It’s fundamentally flawed in that it, for the most part, leaves out the really fun bits of life until the point in time when our lives are almost over–retirement. Using this model, many people spend their entire lives doing a job they don’t enjoy–their whole lives are spent in anticipation of the day they can quit doing what they’ve spent their lives doing.

This system has its roots in the industrial revolution. That’s when people, for the most part, stopped working for themselves and started working in factories instead. It became standard, as time went on, that one would work in a factory or an office for 20 or 25 years, and for your hard work you would get a decent salary and some sort of pension.

Lifestyle design practitioners think this life model is rubbish! Why spend your entire life doing a job you don’t care for just so you can get relief from doing said job once you get old. Why not design your own life–a better life! This quote from the Dali Lama sums up the the thoughts of lifestyle designers quite nicely.

The Dali Lama was asked what surprised him most about humanity. He replied…

Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.

Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.

And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;

the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;

he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.

So, what do the people of this lifestyle design movement want to do? Are they a bunch of new-age hippies who just don’t want to get jobs? Are they trying to avoid the inevitable responsibilities of being an adult? Are they people without goals and desires? No. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What are they then?

I can explain it best with another quote, this one by John Lennon. He said,

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

What do practitioners of lifestyle design want? It’s more about what they don’t want, actually. They don’t want life to pass them by while they’re busy making other plans. Think about it. Why do millions of people around the globe sit in cubicles every day doing jobs that they don’t like and don’t care about? Usually because they are busy making other plans, which keep them content with what they are doing–until mid-life comes around. Then they panick! What happened? Where did my life go? I’ll tell you where it went. It went to dreams. They sat at their desks dreaming about living overseas, dreaming about being on a tropical island, dreaming about having financial security. …and as they dreamt, their lives passed them by.

Practioners of lifestyle design make a conscious effort to break out of the cycle of life that has evolved out of the industrial revolution. Namely, they want…

  • to be self-employed
  • to have financial freedom
  • to create success while living anywhere in the world
  • to run their lives and their businesses through the Internet

How do you go about getting this sort of life?

Continue Reading →


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