That’s right. I said it.
Midmorning sex is the best.
How do I know?
Because I’ve put my life in order such that I’m allowed to partake of such goodies. Stuff that my former cubicle dwelling self only dreamed of.
There’s some anti-lifestyle design propaganda floating around right now that’s really popular.
Basically, the authors shoot down the concept of lifestyle design touting some seemingly logical, but misguided opinions. In short, “it doesn’t work and Tim Ferriss (the godfather of lifestyle design) is a crock”.
It’s sad really.
When someone attacks the concept of lifestyle design, I see a few things happening.
First, I can’t help but think they don’t truly understand what it is.
Second, I think they probably tried it themselves, failed, and are now trying to dismiss it as “not practical”.
Third, I think they would rather accept a lifestyle that somebody else handed them rather than intentionally create one of their own.
In short, I see a chicken.
Someone too afraid to live the way they really want to live.
How do I know?
Because I was that guy! I never actively campaigned against the concept of lifestyle design but I dismissed it as something I couldn’t do myself.
“Oh, that’s for single 20-something guys to do. Not me. I have a wife and kids. That’s why I sit in a cubicle. I’m responsible…”
I told myself stuff like that.
Some Common Challenges People Have with Lifestyle Design
- Tim Ferriss doctrine only works for 20-something single guys
- Lifestyle design a distraction from real life
- Lifestyle design means living somewhere in Southeast Asia or traveling around indefinitely
- Lifestyle designers become ultra minimalists and live out of a backpack
- Lifestyle designers only make money by teaching people how to be lifestyle designers
- Lifestyle designers work only hard enough in a business to be able to do something else
- Trying to be a lifestyle designer will make you miserable
There are some others but these are the big ones. Let’s break them down shall we?
But first, the term lifestyle design has become super ambiguous. So before moving forward, I’ll add my own definition to the mix. In fact, let’s put it on a Pinterest friendly photo (one that I took with my own iPhone I might add!)
I don’t know what else to call it. Living the dream? Happily ever after? What would you call waking up everyday doing what you enjoy doing?
Lifestyle design seems a happy enough label to me. Tim Ferriss made it famous. Let’s just stick with it.
On with the show!
Myth #1 – Tim Ferriss Doctrine Only Works For 20-Something Single Guys
How do I know? I’m doing the thing…with a wife…and 3 kids.
And I’m 36 years old. We currently live in Cozumel, Mexico and have been here already for a year and a half. We’ve been “mobile” for almost 4 years now.
I’m sorry to shatter this one but I’m living proof that it works for families.
And we’re not the only family out there doing it.
Myth #2 – Lifestyle Design a Distraction from Real Life
Sure. If your concept of it means laying on a beach in Bali, yeah, there’s only so much of that you can do.
But what is real life anyway? Does having a so-called real life mean commuting during the week and trips to Home Depot on the weekend? If that’s real life, no thanks. I’ll take my island living any day.
There’s a movement of people who know the old system is broken and are actively replacing it with their own chosen lifestyle.
This is not a distraction. It’s waking up and living hyper intentionally.
Myth #3 – Lifestyle Design Means Living Somewhere In Southeast Asia or Traveling Around Indefinitely
We’re currently living on Cozumel because it’s where we actively want to be.
Because of the lifestyle we’ve set up, we can literally live anywhere in the world. We choose to stay here for now.
Many people who get introduced to lifestyle design see the 20-something living in Bangkok or Bali. ‘That’s a vacation’ people think, ‘but one day they’ll have to come back to the states’.
Maybe. Maybe not.
Let’s be clear on something – life in the States provides only one style of living. It’s not the best. It’s one particular way. Not the only way.
Those who have lived outside the US know what I’m referring to. Highly insular thinking comes from living in the same place for too long. And that’s never healthy.
One HUGE benefit of lifestyle design is creating mobility. If you want to throw travel into the mix or live in another country, it’s a BIG benefit! But it’s not a requirement in any way.
Myth #4 – Lifestyle Designers Become Ultra Minimalists and Live Out of a Backpack
Sure. If you want to!
Or you can have a huge house with tons of stuff. If you want to.
It’s not about seeing how little you can live with. It’s really about assessing priorities. You just don’t need most of the crap you think you need.
Part of being intentional with your life is surrounding yourself with only the stuff you actively use and shedding the rest. If it happens to all fit in a backpack, awesome.
Myth #5 – Lifestyle Designers Only Make Money by Teaching People How to be Lifestyle Designers
Yeah. Some do. It’s kind of sad.
They’re no different than the hordes of bloggers trying to make money by teaching how to make money blogging.
But those people are a small percentage and they come and go pretty quickly because it just doesn’t work.
For the rest of us really doing the thing, it’s a little different.
To be able to live where you want and do whatever you want (especially with a family), you have to create a super viable source of income.
This is often best achieved by setting up a real business. Like, providing a solution to a real need and then selling the crap out of it until you’ve met your goals.
Myth #6 – Lifestyle Designers Work Only Hard Enough in a Business to be Able to do Something Else
Some do. Sure.
But there’s nothing wrong with that!
When you think about it, how is this any different from the CPA at her job? Or the blue collar guy who can’t wait until Friday?
Most people work just hard enough to pay for what they really want to do (or have to do like mortgages and school loans).
The difference is most of them only get to do “fun stuff” on nights, weekends, and sometimes a weeklong vacation once a year.
The lifestyle designers I know often work way harder (notice I didn’t say longer) than most of my employee friends.
The payoff? They not only earn money (in many cases, passive), but they also get free time and mobility.
Too many people want the pina coladas without doing the work first. If you expect to leave your apartment in Kansas, take off to Kauai, and sell ebooks about “living the dream” to pay for it all, you might be disappointed in your results.
You’ll come home broken, bitter, and think lifestyle design doesn’t work.
Better to build a real business, scale it, then take off to do what you want. That’s what I did.
Myth #7 – Trying To Be a Lifestyle Designer Will Make You Miserable
Yes it will. If you do it the wrong way.
Do it all the right way and you’ll never be happier.
Besides, what’s the alternative? Work all week long at a job you don’t like? Work for a boss who tells you what you can and can’t do? Sit in traffic? See your friends and family on nights and weekends only?
No. I don’t accept that.
We live in a day in age where you don’t have to go into the fields all day. You don’t have to sweat in the factory in 12 hour shifts. And you don’t have to sit in the cubicle for 60 hours a week.
You just don’t have to.
Actively Engineer Your Lifestyle
My position is solid. Any negative critiques of “lifestyle design” bounce right off of me.
I make my own money from a company I created. I do not make money by teaching people how to make money. I’m not a 20-something doing SEO work from Vietnam. I have a wife and 3 kids!
It works. I’m living proof.
Cozumel is a touristy place. We meet people all the time who say, “Oh, I wish I could do what you guys are doing!”
We always say, “You can!”
It’s then fascinating to hear the stream of justifications that follow on why they could never do what we do.
What Makes You the Most Happy?
If you could spend your day really doing what you wanted to do, what would that be?
The answer to that question is what lifestyle design is all about. It’s about structuring your life in a way so that you can do what you want to do every day.
It all goes back to the main mantra of the Family Rocketship:
Figure out what you deep down really want, create an ideal income to pay for it all, and how to do it all with your family.
So yes, if my wife and I are feeling particularly randy around 10am after getting back from snorkeling, then yes, why not go for it?
It’s why we worked so hard to build this life in the first place.