This internet picture that i gratefully acknowledge represents the dilemma of our lifestyle vs life question.

The ninth principle of Thomas Leonard is: Get a fulfilling life, not just an impressive lifestyle.

To many people, lifestyle equates with life.

This is unfortunate and a terrible waste of one’s life.  Life is far more than one’s lifestyle.

Lifestyle is a statement of our wants.  Life is about fulfilling our needs. When we arrive in this word, unclothed, hungry, cold and often screaming and insecure, we arrive with just one need, that of survival. We take deep breaths, garb hungrily at the nearest teat offered and once satiated settle down into slumber. For a while, life continues this way, barring bouts of discomforts and joys.

As we grow up in age and grow down in innocence, we seek and add other needs. The truth is that these are really not our needs. They are wants that we borrow from people around us. It’s true that we need food, water, fresh air and some rest. Even clothing and housing are optional as many have found out and decided to do without them. Anything beyond these are luxuries that we decide to acquire to keep with our neighbors and friends.

In this process, we acquire possessions and establish a lifestyle. We become educated, we become rich, we become fashionable, we become celebrities and leaders. We also become stressed, obese, ill and depressed. As we go up the ladder of lifestyle success, we go down on the ladder of a happy and harmonious life. It’s the rare person who finds a balance between.

There was a time i was desperate for wealth. Any price seemed worth paying in return for money. Things changed when i did accumulate wealth. The sheer joy in life that i experienced before was in danger. I was losing relationships, health, harmony and happiness  for wealth. For me, this was an unequal trade.

We need to decide what is more important to us in our journey. Is it the lifestyle, the statement that we make to others? Or is it life, the happiness and harmony of life? Often, these may be incompatible? What do you choose then?

Thomas Leonard, on his part, is clear. So am I. Are you?