What’s Your Lifestyle Design?

Every house you see has a blueprint behind. Before it was built in real bricks and mortar, it existed in somebody’s mind. It was first a drawing on a drawing board. A wireframe. A scheme. A design.

Your life as you live it right now has a blueprint behind. A set of rules and values. Every day you live your life according to that blueprint. You’re building your life based on your own lifestyle design.

What’s Your Lifestyle Design?

From my experience there are at least 3 ways in which you can design your lifestyle (and more than 100 ways to improve your life, for what matters). Think at them as they are architectural styles. Different ways to build a house.

The first one is emotions driven. The second one is social rules driven. And the third is values driven.

Following Emotions

Your lifestyle design is based on joy, fear, enthusiasm, sorrow, thrill, or something in between. You appreciate people based on how they make you feel. Everything you do is a result of one of your emotions.

If somebody hurts you, you’re sad. If somebody makes you happy, you’re joyful.

In the middle of your world is your heart.

Being emotions driven is a little bit of a roller-coaster. It gets you up and down pretty fast.

Following Social Rules

Your lifestyle design is built on the most visible and secure path you can find and keep. You appreciate people for the social validation you receive from them. You hate rejection and obey rules.

If somebody hurts you, you focus on how the situation looks from “the outside” rather than honestly experiencing pain. If somebody makes you happy, you feel accepted and integrated.

In the middle of your world is your material security.

Being social rules driven is like driving a huge truck. Safe, difficult to change course, powerful and sometimes pretty boring.

Following Values

Your lifestyle design is based on discovery, learning and experimenting. You appreciate people for what they can teach you, rather than for how they make you feel or how much validation you receive from them. You respond to many situations with rationality and lucidity.

If somebody hurts you, you think what you have to learn out of this. If somebody makes you happy, you’re enjoying it and then move on.

In the middle of your world is your curiosity.

Being value driven is like being a world explorer. Traveling light, looking for unusual places, learning and sharing your discoveries.

Your Master Lifestyle Design

Of course, all of the above are just abstract architectural styles. You can’t build your house exclusively on one of these, it’s just impossible to isolate a pure emotions driven lifestyle design, or a pure values driven lifestyle design. Or if you can, that lifestyle design is a serious imbalance. ;-)

In real life we mix those styles in various amounts. We have a little bit of emotional response, a little bit of social complacency and a little bit of growth fueled by our curiosity. But we do have what I call a master lifestyle design. Our master lifestyle design is the dominance of one of those three styles.

If your master lifestyle design is emotion driven, you may have a little bit of difficulty to be socially integrated. Your roller-coaster will take you higher than a truck can drive. It could also be difficult to learn new things, because you’re addicted to your roller-coaster and backpacking the world would seem dull.

If your master lifestyle design is social rules driven, than you’re having a real hard time changing your life and growing. Your truck won’t get you far away from known roads. And it wouldn’t be able to offer you the thrills of a roller-coaster ride.

If your master lifestyle design is values driven, you can get a little bit disconnected. You’re backpacking the world, but don’t have the thrills of a roller-coaster. And you’re a little bit insecure, missing the protection of a big, solid and secure truck.

The Choice Of A Personal Path

I think my predominance right now is curiosity and learning. I do have emotional responses and some of them are shaping my life big time, but my master lifestyle design is rooted in values. I’m also pretty indifferent to social rules, and social rules seem to be pretty indifferent to me, as long as I’m not a threat to the system.

Truth is you can chose whatever response you want, as long as you don’t give in to it. And as long as you know the advantages and pitfalls of each design. If you’re overly emotional, then society might raise a bit of rejection around you. If you’re concerned too much with social complacency then you might lose a hell of a good time. And if you’re too obsessed with learning and sharing, then you might get emotionally disconnected.

The bottom line of this is you can build your house exactly as you want. You are the blueprint creator. A house is built on brick and mortar but your life is much more fluid than that. You can change it. Even more than change (which is more than often something forced from outside) you can start designing it from the inside. Lay out your life structure the same way you design a house. Start with the front door.

How do you want to enter in your life?

This Article originally appeared in on November 4, 2009

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