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Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed

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  • Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed

    I recently came across an interesting article regarding the modern American lifestyle:

    Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed

    Curious what people's thoughts are.

  • #2
    That's really depressing. And probably true.
    50yo, 5'3"
    CW-125, part calorie counting, part transition to primal
    GW- Goals are no longer weight-related


    • #3
      This is a big deal for me. I am unemployed and can't find anything better than $8.00 per hour part-time in my area. (I have a B.S. in chem and bio). I have done the two part-time job thing, with irregular hours. I have three kids in school, and my weekends are precious to me. Worth way more than 8.00 per hour.

      It's a huge struggle, but worth it for now. I hike, bike and kayak when I want to. I take time to make good food for myself and my family. I think very carefully about what I buy. I gave up homeowner's insurance. I pay out of pocket for medical care.
      Back in the day when I was married and my husband made good money, our kids attended private schools, we took occasional vacations, had good health insurance, etc. But right now I am happier and healthier than I have ever been.

      I would love to work at a rewarding job, and that is my goal. I don't even need to make very much money doing it. But it has to be satisfying on some level (not boring). I interviewed recently for a full-time office job. It was in a nice family-run business with lots of work but a casual atmosphere (the owner brought her two dogs to the office every day). The only catch was that they wanted you to work ten hours per day, and eat lunch at your desk (they provided lunch daily). I never found out what the pay was, and I wasn't offered the job. I won't be slave until I'm truly desperate.
      As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again.


      • #4
        I read that a while ago. He has a good blog.

        The only disagreement I have is that when I work 40 hours a week I don't have much time for spending money, so I'm not contributing all that much to the economy. It's my hope I can buy my way out of the rat race someday so I mostly just save my money.
        Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


        • #5
          Yeah, I find it depressing. As a teenager I was very much; "I'll never be a corporate drone, working long hours in a career I hate!". While I'm not exactly working in a job I hate, I am working long hours. Singapore work hours are 8:30 am to 6 pm. This typically means when I leave the house the sun is rising, I work inside all day, and leave when the sun is setting. The only time I can hang out with friends, family and my partner during the day is on weekends. Sometimes I'll go to the park and read a book during my lunch break, but I almost feel like I'm breaking an implicit rule; "What, you mean you aren't in the office working all day?!". Of course colleagues regularly take breaks to talk to each other, but going outside to read seems to be breaking corporate culture.

          I really have no idea what the solution is. Is there any industry when you don't have to work 5 days a week, from morning till evening?

          Money/spending wise I'm okay though. I'm earning around $1000 USD a month as an intern, though I don't pay rent and my grandma supplies most of the food. Most of my money goes to food and entertainment which I'm happy with and my largest single spending is on martial arts (around 1/6th). My lifestyle is great, and I rarely spend carelessly, for instance most of my clothes are 6 months or older. So at the very least I'm not living to spend.
          Last edited by AMonkey; 11-05-2013, 10:20 PM.
 - Gaming, Food Reviews and Life in Singapore


          • #6
            Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed

            Doesn't have to be depressing if you love your job. I switched from science/engineering to fashion to patent law because I wanted something that sustains me internally, not just pay the bills. Now I am in law school and doing fashion on the side and I look forward to doing law & fashion concurrently when I graduate. I will be working weekends too because I will be doing a demanding career (wayyy more than 40hrs/week) and a side job at the time but I want that!! I only need a tiny bit of time to lift weights 2-3x a week... And sleep time. I can tell I will love the people at my law firm already, and I love my fashion people for when I am sick of talking law.

            Ps. I spend my money on more classes (dance, sewing, art, cooking...) and traveling.

            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
            HCLF: lean red meat, eggs, low-fat dairy, bone broth/gelatin, fruits, seafood, liver, small amount of starch (oatmeal, white rice, potatoes, carrots), small amount of saturated fat (butter/ghee/coconut/dark chocolate/cheese).

            My Journal: gelatin experiments, vanity pictures, law school rants, recipe links

            Food blog: GELATIN and BONE BROTH recipes

            " The best things in life are free and the 2nd best are expensive!" - Coco Chanel


            • #7
              His post makes some very valid points. The designing of the over consumerism society we have in the West is not by accident, it was carefully designed.

              Western economies, particularly that of the United States, have been built in a very calculated manner on gratification, addiction, and unnecessary spending. We spend to cheer ourselves up, to reward ourselves, to celebrate, to fix problems, to elevate our status, and to alleviate boredom.
              When you step outside of your culture, the USA in my case, you realize just how well designed the system is. If you read the "Story of Stuff", it goes into pretty good detail about how we have gone from a culture of buying high-quality goods to disposable junk that breaks in 6 months.

              Just as an example, when I was growing up my mom had a blender that, I think, she still has. It easily lasted and worked for 20 years. What the blender companies figured out was that if you made a blender that lasted 20 years you sold one blender per family every 20 years. If your blender only lasted 2 years, you, in theory, would increase your sales 10 fold. Planned obsolescence.

              Then you have perceived obsolescence most commonly seen in the fashion industry who convinces people to buy the latest, greatest fashion every few months.

              Technological obsolescence is remarkable. Take Microsoft Windows as an example. You make a flawed product, people buy your flawed product and then next year, you come up with a new version of your product that fixes (some) of the flaws in the previous version and people buy it again.

              We have gone from old, heavy phones that lasted forever to cell phones that are obsolete almost as soon as you figure out how to use them.

              But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (the average office worker gets less than three hours of actual work done in 8 hours) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public.
              There is no such thing as an 8 hour workday unless you work from home and walk to your office at 8 am and leave your office at 4 pm. Most people lose an hour getting ready to go to work, in Houston as much as 1.5 hours to get to work and an additional 1.5 hours to get home. Add in an hour lunch break and you are talking as much as 13 hours all total, dedicated to the 8 hours you actually spend in the office. No wonder people go through the drive-through for dinner instead of fixing a healthy meal from scratch.

              By the time you reach your weekend, as much as 65 hours out of the previous 5 days has been getting ready, getting to and actually working at an "8 hour" job.

              No sleep, crappy food, sitting on their asses all day long, stressing out over their job, family and finances, etc. and then they wonder why they are sick!

              Our culture spends too much time working and consuming and not enough time actually enjoying life. By design or by accident, the end results has been the same.
              AKA: Texas Grok

              Originally posted by texas.grok
              Facebook is to intelligence what a black hole is to light


              • #8
                Brian Eno put it best -- "stuff is a way to turn money into problems".

                You can work, make money, but buy nothing. On developed world salaries you can retire by 40 easy, and then work whenever you feel like it. On the other hand if you follow the rules (plasma tv, car, diamond ring, 2.5 kids) you're enslaved for life.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AMonkey View Post
                  I really have no idea what the solution is. Is there any industry when you don't have to work 5 days a week, from morning till evening?
                  As intern you're going to have to work like a dog, that's the nature of it, but it can get easier. If you've picked a profession you are truly good at, acquire 10yrs experience in that profession, and in addition acquire the leverage of no longer requiring money -- then you can do just about whatever you want. It's just that most people don't actually exercise that freedom.

                  Now in my experience there's a huge nuts factor involved here! There are actually no physical bonds forcing people to behave in a robotic manner. Hell, I go into the office no more than once or twice a week, twice only if I feel like it. If it gets lame, I'm out for the day dammit. This morning 6x6 squats, hit the office for a few meetings, split by noon to go cook a salmon steak w/ grass fed butter at my home office, just sat around doing nothing the rest the day.

                  My philosophy -- anyone who has a problem with the way I do things ought to go take a meditation break and stop trying to control people. There is a moment of shock people go thru when they realize you won't follow "the rules". At that point they either 1) give up, or more likely 2) attempt to use social pressure to get you to follow the rules. When that fails they either 3) give up for real, or 4) fire you. If you're good at what you do they usually give up.

                  The battle of wills only happens once in my experience, once they submit, you've won.


                  • #10
                    What I found really interesting about the article is the connection between lack of relaxation and free time. I myself notice that when it is the typical evening/weekday, it is sometimes harder to just relax and do whatever because you feel like there's some pressure to do more than that due to the limited free time.

                    "Oh, it's the weekend, I have to do stuff!"

                    I never realized that it is precisely because free time is so limited that when you do get it, you feel some pressure to make the most of it.

                    Money-wise, I am on the same page as some of you, especially KimchiNinja. If you have a decent salary, you can eventually buy your freedom. The hardest part for most people is delayed gratification, i.e. not spending for tomorrow, and the inability to understand compound interest. Luckily, I've realized this soon after getting my first "real" job, and have been saving and investing very aggressively. It also helps that I am the type of person that doesn't spend much at all, but when I do, I prefer to get high quality items.

                    Speaking of investing, the paleo/MDA equivalent for me has been the forum. It's like the the gluten-free version of investing. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in that kind of stuff.

                    The other interesting thing is frequently people think that saving a lot means you're depriving yourself. To me, I feel the opposite. The more I save, the more free I feel. The fewer things I buy, the less they own me. It's like with houses/mortgages, do you own the house, or does it own you? The more you spend and own, the more you have to keep spending/earning. The sad part, it never really makes anyone content.

                    In any case, keep the responses coming!


                    • #11
                      Interesting article and very true. I wanted to copy and paste the second to last paragraph where the author talks about the perfect consumer because I have to completely agree with it.

                      I see this everyday with the people that come into my gym or clients that I have. They drive the new Audi/Land Rover/Tesla, they have the brand new house with all the newest stereo equipment and appliances and furniture. They have all the newest fashions and spend 50 dollars for a hair cut. Thats the men forget about the women! They take yearly trips to Maui or Mexico or Europe and then quarterly trips to Vegas. The men buy their wives fake boobs plus they pay me a good chunk of change for my services and then they stand there and complain to me about how expensive everything is and how they can't save a dollar. It's ridiculous.

                      My wife and I come from a totally different back ground as well. She was the princess where her parents bought her anything. A lot of the time in place of love so she has a huge streak of mass consumerism. She wants the Tiffany's the Marc Jacobs the Vitton and it's very difficult to break her of this habit. I'm very minimalist because I've had to be. It drives me bonkers when she complains of having no shoes to wear because they aren't the "right" black heel..... Really!?!?!? Out of the 30 pair of black heels you have you can't find one!?!?

                      Anyway kind of went on a personal rant there but yes big business has done a very good job of creating little mice to run on the wheel.

                      As for a great job? My RMT works about 30 hours a week and makes around 80k (cdn) a year. The rest of the time he kite boards, surfs, mountain bikes, snowboards... Talk about the life of Riley. I've often thought about becoming an RMT just for all the free time. Plus 80k is nothing to sniff at.


                      • #12
                        You can't direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.



                        • #13
                          I very much enjoyed the article, especially because I feel that I have taken its lessons to heart in my own life....

                          To the outsider, I look like I am borderline poor. I drive a car that is almost 30 years old and has 300k+ miles on it. I live in a small cabin that has only wood heat.....I own only about 30 articles of clothing, despite living in a very cold place with strong seasons. All of my furniture but my bed was bought from a secondhand furniture store. I go out to eat maybe once a month, buy nothing from a grocery store, haven't seen a mall in 3 years.

                          But I make good money as a physician....I just have no desire to promote that fact to anyone else.

                          My feelings are that there is this set of things that the culture wants me to do, a set of things I am expected to want. I am expected to be a chaser of the illusion, but I refuse to do it and always have....I grew up that way, had it drilled into me my whole life. My parents lived a similar life, still do, and they are the happiest people I know. We lived as a family of four at 6k under the federal poverty line as I grew up. I never remember anything from then that wasn't happiness.

                          I think that for someone starting out, the best solution is just to sell-out, give up on the illusion that everyone wants to cram down your throat. Learn to gain happiness from your free time, from your freedom, from within, from close friends.

                          I look at it all, the constant manic push for my money, as a vampire....and I am determined to steal from it its lifeblood, my money.
                          "The soul that does not attempt flight; does not notice its chains."


                          • #14
                            Funny, I grew up at 20k, family of six, under the federal poverty line and I don't remember anything that wasn't misery.



                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MEversbergII View Post
                              You can't direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

                              That's a nice quote, you can't change the world.
                              I agree earlier that the best solution is to find something you enjoy. Then if you are spending 8 hours a day doing it, its empowering. I also think that sometimes people limit themselves. There's a quote which is to the effect "Sometimes I wonder why, when birds could fly any where in the world, they choose to rest on a telephone line". Seems like a good analogy for life in general.

                              I'm living in Singapore and planning on moving to New Zealand at 24 years old. A university friend told me I'm living the dream. Its not quite that simple, but doing something interesting costs as much as plane tickets in some cases. For instance its quite easy to get teaching jobs in Thailand, I know a couple of friends who have done that. What an amazing experience!

                              @texas.grok I somewhat disagree with you on technical obsolescence. Microsoft only releases new Windows platforms every few years, and doesn't deliberately cripple it. Tech companies are often simply incompetent and release flawed products. The blender example is true, but to a large degree isn't it our faults as well? If people like your grandma continued to buy blenders that lasted 20 years, then the companies that sold blenders that lasted 2 years wouldn't have the largest market share. Ultimately the market shift happened because consumers allowed it to happen.
                              Last edited by AMonkey; 11-07-2013, 12:26 AM.
                     - Gaming, Food Reviews and Life in Singapore