What is Lifestyle Design & Why is it So Damn Popular?

I have a love-hate relationship with lifestyle design. I love the thought of never dreading work again and being able to travel the world. I hate the thought of having to leave my friends behind and venturing off into the unknown.

I pre-ordered my copy of Tim Ferriss’ new book many months ago. It had been paid for and shipped a few days ago. This got me to glance over the 4-Hour Workweek book quickly again. I then started thinking about the concept of lifestyle design again and how I felt when I originally read the book a year ago.

Before I start going crazy with all of this lifestyle design stuff and the idea of starting an online business, we need to address a few questions first:

What is lifestyle design? What’s being location independent all about?

I have no clue. But I took some time to scour the web for answers. Here’s what I found on the topic of lifestyle design and starting a virtual business.

Tim Ferriss, from the official 4-Hour Workweek Blog, on choosing lifestyle design and the idea of an online business:

Somewhere between college graduation and your second job, a chorus enters your internal dialogue: be realistic and stop pretending. Life isn’t like the movies.

If you’re five years old and say you want to be an astronaut, your parents tell you that you can be anything you want to be. It’s harmless, like telling a child that Santa Claus exists. If you pass 25 and announce you want to float in space or sail around the world, the response is different: be realistic, become a lawyer or an accountant or a doctor, have babies, and raise them to repeat the cycle. Put all of your disposable income in a 401(k) and do your best to enjoy your “too-weak” vacation.

Lifestyle Design offers more interesting options and reverses this repression.

Chris Guillebeau on a lifestyle business and getting paid for doing what you love:

The greatest benefit of a lifestyle business is freedom. But usually we find that freedom does not just appear out of nowhere; it requires a shift in mindset and the corresponding action. It also sometimes requires a surprising amount of work to maintain.

Corbett Barr on the topic of the 4-Hour Workweek & lifestyle design:

The bound­aries of life that you cur­rently accept are prob­a­bly arbi­trary and self-imposed. Some peo­ple are able to live excit­ing, rule-breaking lives sim­ply because they don’t accept society’s def­i­n­i­tion of what is pos­si­ble or acceptable.

Most middle-class peo­ple today who feel trapped by their job and sit­u­a­tion have cre­ated that prison for them­selves. Com­pet­i­tive con­sumerism com­bined with a sense of enti­tle­ment leaves peo­ple mired in debt with no moti­va­tion to take con­trol and change things for themselves.

Financial Samurai on why the minimalist lifestyle isn’t for you:

I embrace minimalism now, because I’ve come to accept the difficulty of becoming great.  I’m great to the outside world, because I say so damnit.  In reality, I want more, but society just doesn’t let me get there.  There is no coincidence that our movement has taken off during one of the greatest economic downturns of our times (so my parents tell me).  Although our employers let us go, at least they gave us the dignity to say we left on our own volition.

Jonathan @ Illuminated Mind on avoiding brain washing:

The word “authority” derives from the word author, which simply means the one who originated the idea. It doesn’t mean they are right, or that they are the end of the line.

Erica on lifestyle design pitfalls:

There are different ways to approach lifestyle design and be successful. Some people use their earnings from a lifetime of work instead of building and selling a business. I like building a business because it’s far faster.

Now that we read a little about the whole idea of lifestyle design/business let’s shift gears. Why is lifestyle design so popular? Why is everyone now talking about lifestyle design instead of the corporate world?

Most people have boring lives.

Getting completely wasted on a Friday night can be very fun. How many times can you get drunk at the same bar? How many times can you take the same hour long commute home after a long day of work? Life can get so excruciatingly boring at times that giving up feels like the best option. Lifestyle design fills in this gap. Lifestyle design allows you to quit your boring life and travel the world.

The economy sucks.

Since it’s difficult for most experienced people with college degrees to find long-term work, what are the odds that young 20-somethings are going to find work they truly love? With all of these economic issues, traveling the world and designing the ultimate lifestyle feels like a no-brainer. Maybe it’s just me. Ever since the economy tanked, the number of “lifestyle design” blogs has substantially increased. I see it as a much better counter-point to the economy than just complaining about things that are out of our reach. We don’t know what to do after college like previous generations did.

Lifestyle design is the new dream.

When I was younger all you ever heard about was moving up in the corporate world. The new dream for the next few years is going to revolve around lifestyle design and traveling the world while making money. Who knows what’s next?

These are just a few of the reasons that I could think of why lifestyle design is so damn popular. Could you think of any more? What else could you tell me about lifestyle design?

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