OK, thanks again goes out to my pal Vishnu, the blogger behind the new and amazing Vishnu’s Virtues (a blog on spirituality and overcoming challenges) for the last two posts.
And now back to Lifestyle Design. For those who are reading this without the context of my last two posts, check out “The Bald Fat Man in the Red BMW Convertible” (a full-scale condemnation of rat race sellouts) and “Why Travel Should be Mandatory” (the title sums this post up).
Just as a reminder, Lifestyle Design, as defined by bestselling author and blogger Tim Ferriss (The 4-Hour Workweek & The 4-Hour Body), is a way of life that values time and mobility over autopiloted accumulation of wealth and selling out to the 9-5 rat race where most people work in meaning-deprived careers for the best parts of their lives in order to get by, saving retirement for the very end.
We have dealt with how important travel (or mobility) is in Lifestyle Design but today we are looking at the value of time. Using time correctly is critical. If we blindly accumulate by selling out to the rat race then we, at best, will have money but very little time in which to enjoy life. This is obviously totally ridiculous. Relationships, health and other critical indicators of quality of life plummet and we are left with the scraps at 65 when we retire. Hardly the savvy, global do-gooding we strive for on CultureMutt! At the end of the rat race when we are no longer able to continue, we are sent off with a muted office “party” at Applebees and an engraved pen thanking us for our service. What a miserable way to go!!
Life does not have to go this way, we have the choice to make far better use of our time. In order to do so though, we have to actively avoid certain time wasters. Here’s a start on a list of them:
There is never any shortage of these guys. They have been slaves to the system for so long that they cannot picture life outside the punch-in / punch-out mentality where life is mundane and you just kinda have to endure it until you get to retire and then do very little more until you kick the bucket. These types counsel you to “pay your dues”. They sit around and compare potbellies and talk Nascar. They are slowly dying. They are not bad people but they are not making much of a dent in anything meaningful, just their outdated La-Z-Boys. Don’t take their advice. It is short-sighted at best. You will waste your life on a “company man/woman” philosophy which no longer works today if what you want is a happy life.
We each have these friends in our lives. If you mention travel, a radically different career or anything vaguely ambitious that breaks from the norm, they automatically get on the defensive. They try to cover for their own lethargy by putting you down with false praise or questions like, “are you done trying to be a traveler?” or “when are you going to get a real job?” Leave these alone in their miserable little worlds. They are life saps. Fire them as you would these guys.
Society can be a major weight on your life. When those around you are not succeeding and are satisfied with less, the temptation is do so yourself. What is it about the status quo that is so seductive? Get off it. There is no strength in numbers. Everyone that has escaped the “destiny” that society has for them knows not to put too much stock in the perceptions and attitudes of those in their immediate surroundings unless they want to stay right there. Be the gutsy one that breaks from the norm.
I will confess to being a self-sabotager at times. I talk myself out of doing things based on moods and temporary motivation levels. Recognize that energy levels are cyclical and that you do not have the time or existential luxury to listen to yourself when the inner voice is being negative and defeatist. You deserve better than that. There is a better version of yourself out there. Relentlessly pursue him or her. You don’t have the time to do otherwise.
This is a tough one as well. Being “realistic” can stop you doing something remarkable and meaningful. Cynics are quick to tell you to be “realistic” when you talk about big plans. What I typically do is look at the person who is giving me advice before I decide how to take it. Are they the kind of person I want to spend my time trying to emulate? Or are they just licking their wounds and sulking about reality and their lot in their small little corner. Reality is what you make it. It is not dictated to you, you dictate it.
My thoughts on Lifestyle Design are definitely evolving. I would love your thoughts on the above. I realize I’ve been harsh on a number of issues. But I feel like I have reason to be harsh. Boundaries need to be drawn with time wasters. Nuff sed.