A Lifestyle Design Decision

The decision to change your lifestyle and/or career does not come easy. Lifestyle change can be difficult because it is often preceded by a drastic event which forces you to decide to make a significant change in our life. Maybe you have been making great money but a stress induced heart attack at the age of 38 makes you reevaluate what is important in your life and start thinking about how you would go about creating an ideal lifestyle for yourself. Maybe a company’s downsizing in this tough economy has left you jobless and in the job market with hundreds of thousands of other qualified professionals. Maybe your job just isn’t offering you the satisfaction that you had hoped for and you feel like your life and your job has become a series of repetitive, automated, mechanical movements that you perform without even thinking about it, kind of like when you drive somewhere and forget exactly how you got there.

On the other hand, the same hardship or self analysis which leads you to acknowledge that you are not satisfied with the life you are living and that there has to be a better way to live your life can be the fuel that you need to start taking proactive steps to designing your ideal lifestyle. How much fuel these things generate will determine how easy your journey will be. People who decide to take proactive measures to design their lifestyle are people who say enough with the day to day monotony and procrastination. First, you have to identify what is important in your life before you can start to design your ideal lifestyle. And that question can be most easily answered by asking yourself the following question: If you had all the money you needed and never had to work another day in your life, what would you do? Life passes people by and the young adults we are today become old adults full of regret of all things in life that they have not done.

The decision to design your lifestyle should be a conscious exercise of self reflection, goal setting, and implementation of defined strategies to achieve your lifestyle transformation, things that most people never really take the time to do as the daily grind and routine and lack of time are the primary reasons why this is not done. People get set in their ways and in a comfort zone (albeit uncomfortable) and do not want to make the effort to change, or are too scared to change. Anthony Robbins suggests that there are two primary motivations which drive people to make the decisions they make; they are to avoid pain and to gain pleasure. Most people end up continuing living the life they are living because they associate more pain (effort) with the process change would require then with the pleasure they would gain having completed the lifestyle change.

My brother, upon celebrating his 40th birthday, said something if not accurate, at least thought provoking. He said that mid life was actually somewhere in your 20’s. The first 21 years of your life go buy very slowly. Summer vacations as a kid seem like a year. Getting to your 16th birthday so you can get your driver’s license seems like an eternity. Finally being allowed to drink legally is a huge achievement that required much patience on your part. And then, suddenly, you are 30 and 40 starts heading your was at the pace of an Olympic Nigerian marathon runner. Soon, you start saying “has it already been 15 years since my high school graduation?”, or my favorite “she’s a freshmen and was born in WHAT year?” Sometimes, movies can be one of the best sources of inspiration when it comes to changing your career and designing your ideal lifestyle. One of these movies is Fight Club. If it’s been a while since you last saw that movie or if you have never seen it, here are a few quotes that I think are very appropriate on this subject of lifestyle design:

“You wake up at Seattle, SFO, LAX. You wake up at O’Hare, Dallas-Fort Worth, BWI. Pacific, mountain, central. Lose an hour, gain an hour. This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time. You wake up at Air Harbor International. If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?”

“Only after disaster can we be resurrected.” “Guys, what would you wish you’d done before you died?”… “You have to know the answer to this question! If you died right now, how would you feel about your life?” “The things that you own, own you.” Currently, I have been debating whether to take a certification program from Villanova University on Six Sigma or Project Management. I am going with project management because of the various business and projects that I am involved in, but from what I understood of what Six Sigma is, it’s about trimming the fat and waste from a company’s operations to make it more profitable and healthier. So, what fat and waste can you trim from your life? As cheesy as it sounds, today is the first day of the rest of your life (isn’t that from AA?). There is no time like the present to start taking proactive steps to career optimization and lifestyle design. STOP putting things off and take action today.