To many people, the whole idea of ‘lifestyle design’ seems absurd. And not for the reason many people in that community think. It’s not because of the ideas behind it, rather, it’s many of the people promoting it. Now, not all of them are bad. I’ve personally worked with, met and spent time with a few folks, and they all seemed (at least to me) to be genuine people who truly believed in what they were doing. But it’s a trend (and let’s face it, LD is a trend. Whether or not it’ll sustain is another story). And a few folks like Adam Baker I really respect for detailing what he did, bringing his wife and young child along. To me, that’s a hell of a lot more valid than a 22 year old guy living on the beach. I’ve done that. It was called “homeless”.
I get the appeal (to some). You’ve got a shitty job you hate, bored as hell with life and have no clue what you’re doing next. Then you read a few blog posts and maybe an ebook (shit, does EVERYONE have an ebook now?) and wonder why YOU aren’t living that life. You get sad. Then you rush out and start blogging, connecting all over the social media sphere, and even selling your shit to hit the road. And maybe that works for you. Or, maybe you end up spending money to match the lifestyle they have only to be in the same spot you were.
Here’s where I see the problem:
- Your gurus are assholes: Let’s face it, Tim Ferris walks and talks like a complete tool. He brags about cheating to win a kickboxing title. He doesn’t refer to anything he enjoys doing “work” (hence the 4 Hour Work Week title). And let’s not forget the fact that his previous company was suspected of fraud. While he isn’t the only one, he’s certainly the most well known offender.
- Your (over)use of buzzwords: I’m sorry, but if no one is getting shot at, it isn’t a revolution. Not everything is epic, thrilling, or awesome.
- A “one size fits all” mentality: This is a big one. Nick Reese and I had a good conversation the other day about this. The conclusion he and I came up with (and he wrote up here) is that the ‘sell your shit, travel the world’ dream isn’t for everyone. But looking at a lot of folks in the LD community, you’d think that was all there was to it. News flash: a lot of folks are HAPPY with their desk jobs living in suburbia. And there is nothing wrong with that.
- The appearance of arrogance: Looking down on people who don’t share your dream is…well…being a dick. Just because I enjoy living in the same place every month and owning more than 3 shirts doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with me, that I’m less ambitious, or that I don’t have “guts”. It means that I am content with where my life is, and that my priorities are different than yours.
One of the reasons I’ve even connected with any of these folks is because I work with WordPress. They use WordPress. It’s a natural fit. So yes, I make money from the house I leave perhaps once a day (twice if need be) fixing the venue they use to promote living / doing anywhere (yes, it’s ironic. And yes, I think it’s fucking hilarious). So not one to simply be an asshole, here’s a few things (in my opinion) that could be done to help the perception:
- Stop the endless (and at times shameless) self promotion: We all need to make a buck, whether it’s globetrotting or in your office. But quit telling me my life is shit because I am not doing what you’re doing. That’s what sleazy salespeople and infomercials do.
- Own your failures: If you read over some (again, not all) of the major sites, you’d think these folks never failed, that every product they launched was a success, and they swim in a minimalist pool of money. Face it, they don’t. TELL ME how you’ve failed, what when wrong, and what you’ve learned. Show some fucking growth.
- Use regular English: drop the buzzwords and speak to me like a regular human being. If every 3rd sentence is telling me how EPIC THIS IS then you’re missing the point.
- Connect outside your bubble: Many of them simply don’t talk to people who aren’t in the same LD world. Why? What is there to be gained by living in an echo chamber? I work with the tech world, but connect with more people outside of it than within. Maybe it’s my personality, but I want friends / connections that do something I don’t do, not something I am doing.
So what say you? Am I just a cranky old fuck, Am I jealous?