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What is Lifestyle Design?

The term “Lifestyle Design” has been tossed around a lot lately. But what is it? More importantly, what can it do for you?

A little history

The term “Lifestyle Design” was coined by Timothy Ferriss in his bestselling book “The 4-Hour Work Week.” The concept he presents in his book and on his blog is that anyone can be freed from financial pressures and dependence on a traditional job. Rather than working at a daily grind, he proposes the idea of developing a business that will require less than a day of work, yet will provide financial support, setting you free to pursue dreams and passions.

The concept isn’t a new one, however. The idea has been presented by a surprising number of writers over the years. Richard Nelson Bolles, in his book “What Color is Your Parachute?” presents the idea of finding a profession that brings joy, of finding meaning in life through creative labor.

Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin present a similar concept in “Your Money or Your Life.” The book discusses striving for freedom through financial independence.

Lifestyle design is NOT…

It can be easy to get fixated on the money aspect of the lifestyle design concept; however, the endless pursuit of money for the sake of eventual “freedom” can be deceptive – and ultimately a death trap. Rather than actually allowing you to achieving freedom, the pursuit of money can become an obsession that will take years off your life, trap you in the very grind you want to escape, and very often, end in failure.

Lifestyle design IS…

Lifestyle design encompasses the experiences you want to have in life. Rather than aiming for goals like a fancy car or expensive vacation house, lifestyle design describes how you want to live your life. It means taking all those great dreams that you have planned for retirement – hobbies, volunteering, travel, and more – and making them a reality here and now.

It’s about making choices in life. It’s about breaking out of the preconceived ideas of what you “should” do – go to college, take a specific career path – and taking steps toward what you want to do. Ultimately, you are the only one in control of your life, and only you can make the choices to get where you want to be.

It’s about figuring things out. It’s too easy to live life without ever thinking about what we really want. Lifestyle design means stopping to think about what you want and where you want to be.

It’s about creating the lifestyle that’s right for you. It really doesn’t matter if a typical lifestyle suits others just fine; if it doesn’t suit you, why should you follow it? If you aren’t happy with the way things are in your life, get down to brass tacks and design a lifestyle that puts a smile on your face and a spring in your step.

It starts with a plan

All the great ideas in the world won’t set you free. All the motivational jargon in the world won’t change your life.

When it really comes down to it, lifestyle design means getting serious about where your life is headed. It takes serious thought and planning, and that’s often the very hardest part. Stop and figure out what’s stopping you from living the life you want. Think ahead to what obstacles you might encounter on your way. Plan out how you intend to tackle each potential challenge, and come up with decisive steps to get you to your goal.

It means action

Lifestyle design is still only pretty words until you take action. This is where it can get scary. But if you’re willing to keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will see your dreams start taking shape.

Remember, your lifestyle design doesn’t need to include some extravagant lifestyle. The best ones are often those that are serious and down-to-earth. The point is, lifestyle design means taking control and making more of your life.

One of The Best Resources for Lifestyle Design is The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris.

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