skip to Main Content
Lifestyle Design

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?



Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

This Post Has 17 Comments
  1. Hey Dragos, great article! I like how you say that lifestyle design should follow emotions and values. Stumbled!
    .-= Oscar – freestyle mind´s last blog ..Habit #5 – The Do Habit =-.

  2. Your thoughts on why you can’t just rely on one style of lifestyle design have really got me thinking. I’ve generally considered lifestyle design to be a question of organizing one’s life about what one values the most, but bringing in other facets makes sense.
    .-= Thursday Bram´s last blog ..Too Young To Go It Alone? Part Two =-.

    1. It’s a question of choice. Being rooted in only one lifestyle design is as limiting as responding to other people only with “yes” or “no”. There are things in between. Most of them are in between, actually.

  3. Hi Dragos.

    You do bring up a good point here in that some have just designed their life mainly around one of these points of importance. Although I can’t say that only following the “social rules” blueprint is wrong, it seems like it would be very limiting, and someone stuck in that path wouldn’t be someone who would create something worth mentioning by others.

    This is true about a blueprint being in place. Sometimes if we look at what we are doing from a 3rd-party perspective, we see hours of time and thoughts wasted because our blueprint is a very limiting one. Getting run by emotions is one I can say is certainly not worthwhile, as emotions are always short-term, and success is always related to long-term plans of effort.

    Good reminder for us to take a look at our own blueprint.
    .-= Armen Shirvanian´s last blog ..Competition Discussed By 8 Personal Development Writers =-.

    1. Again, it’s a question of choice. Each lifestyle design has its own advantages and disadvantages. The social rules gives comfort and security. We may need at times comfort and security. But as you pointed, if there’s a drive for growing, the social rules mindset is becoming limited pretty quickly.

  4. Dragos! Man can I relate to this article. I have personally battled with what leads my lifestyle design. A varying points it’s been emotional, social or value driven. It depends on the type of person you are for sure. One of my old roommates actually moved back to a place that wasn’t ideal just because she had really good friends there. To her it was more important to have a social network then live somewhere dreams are made of. I’ve tried to find through trial and error what drives me. Testing priorities and figuring the best of both worlds.

    It’s a challenge I think most people don’t think about enough when they launch into designing their ideal life. That what they think is ideal, might not be really what they want once they get there.
    Cheers for great work!

    1. Great point, Amber. We do project our lifestyle design based on what we think it might be appropriate for us but the real thing is happen when we actually do that stuff. And more often than less we do have big surprises 🙂

  5. Great article Dragos. For me personally, I lean more on emotions and enthusiasm.
    .-= Karlil´s last blog ..Apple Case Study: The Making Of Devoted Followers =-.

  6. Very thought provoking article Dragos. I think I moving toward value driven lifestyle, emotions are still big in my life but I accept them for what they are and then move on. I feel pretty good where I am now.
    .-= Lana-DreamFollowers Blog´s last blog ..Relationships Advice – Other People Are Just Mirror Images Of You =-.

  7. Hi Dragos,
    Constantly seeking the balance between emotions, social rules and values(‘juggling’ with them ;)), I find my lifestyle consistent with my deepest needs and -yes – dreams. Thank to your great article, I realise I’m on the right path. Have a lovely day.

    1. That’s really nice, to juggle your lifestyle designs. I’ll try it at some point. Closely following your dreams is what matters most for a lifestyle design, IMHO.

  8. I certainly resonate with the idea of designing the lifestyle that I would like to lead. I enjoyed your spin on finding a good balance between emotions, values and social rules. Thanks for giving me a new perspective to looking at things!
    .-= Evelyn Lim´s last blog ..Awakening Into Awareness =-.

  9. I always benefit from reading your approaches. My master lifestyle is rooted in values and I value learning and personal growth. I was more emotionally driven in years passed than I am now. And I chose to live in a semi remote location in a rural artists and musicians colony 30 years ago so social constraints aren’t of concern. What resonates for me in this article discerning the advantages and pitfalls of each the three values, emotions and social rules.

  10. I discovered your blog Friday, and was like pure oxygen to me. I’m having a tough time and reading some of your post was like for sudden I can see the light :).
    I love the way you write and I’m finding here the answers I’ve been searching for a while. It’s rare to transmit such good energy only by writing.
    .-= elebele´s last blog ..astounding-japanese-highways-bridges =-.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What is 13 + 4 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back To Top