As long as we have breath in our lungs, we all have a life. But if you had to choose between having a life and living a lifestyle, which would you choose? You're probably wondering if there's a difference. Let's take a look at the definition of lifestyle so we can create the distinction.
At a glance, our lives may pretty much look the same. We wake up, go to work, come home, eat, unwind, sleep and do it all again. If we're not careful, this routine will eventually define our lives. People will ask us what's new and, after reflecting for a few moments, we realize that nothing is really new. Our life is basically a repeat of the exact same day over and over.
There's nothing really wrong with that if this is the life you choose. But if it's a default life and you wish things were different. Then it's time to start the process of creating your lifestyle.
I first heard the term "Lifestyle Design" from Tim Ferris' The Four Hour Work Week. The premise behind lifestyle design is to create a life where income and time are separate. Once the two are no longer directly connected, one could have the freedom to do what they want with their free time.
A person could travel the world, spend quality time with their kids, devote their lives to a worthy cause, meet with friends anytime they desired, etc. The possibilities were endless. The only limit was your imagination.
It took me around 7 years to leave corporate America after reading Tim's book. But I began to implement the concept of Lifestyle Design immediately upon learning about it.
How did I do it? By first identifying what type of life I wanted to live outside of work. I fantasized about how I would live life if I had total control of my time. Once that picture became clearer, I then began the process of infusion. Infusion is simply incorporating elements of my desired life into the current reality. Basically, I came up with a list of the moments in life that brought me the most joy. Then inserted those moments into my everyday routine as consistently as possible (and I did this for years). I wanted to blur the line as much as possible.
On the weekends and whenever I took time off, I would mindfully schedule events and experiences that aligned with the lifestyle I wished to live. Actually, I was living my ideal life, just in small doses.
Something interesting happens when you place consistent focus and attention into bringing a vision into reality. All that nurturing allows your intention to grow stronger. Soon, your old way of life starts to fade away as your creation now becomes the basis for reality.
Technically, you have already established your lifestyle. But is it the one you desire? If the current version of your life looks nothing like your desired version, I invite you to start bridging the gap. Don't go crazy, just work each day to make the gap smaller and smaller. You'll be amazed at what can happen if you make this your ultimate mission.