When you hit a nerve, you can feel it.
Recently I wrote about a serendipitous kind of day where we made fantastic circular connections and celebrated all that is good about the kind life we have chosen. The day was the result of following our “ideal life strategy” – though this was the first time we had ever used that phrase for it.
Other bloggers felt inspired to write about it. Readers emailed and commented citing examples from their own lives or asking questions about creating their own ideal life strategy.
Our message hasn’t changed, but it appears we have a new name for it.
What is an ideal life strategy?
If you’ve been with us for a while, you know that these are just new words for the same message we’ve been writing about for almost 3 years. If you are new, I can summarize hundreds of blogs posts like this:
You know that dream life you have in your head? Make it real.
Okay, that’s a little simplistic, but it really does boil it down to the essence:
In order to have the life of your dreams, you have to take action to create it in large and small ways every single day.
If you want to change careers, you start training for your next job long before you get it. If you want to write a book, you must first write every day. If you want to be healthy, you put good foods into your body and exercise every day.
You get the idea.
Your ideal life strategy starts by
- Deciding what you want
- Creating the daily actions that will move you closer to that goal
- Being open to the new opportunities that arise from these actions
There is no linear path, fast track, or step-by-step plan to happily ever after. There is only general movement in the direction of your dreams and taking advantage of the opportunities that come your way. In fact, you may decide halfway through that your goal has changed because of a new opportunity that has arisen from your actions.
We sure did.
Getting from there to here
As many of you know, our trip around the world began several years ago with an almost divorce-making moment of “why are we doing this?!”
We were commuting in opposite directions, traveling apart for business every single week, and living in a house that was too big to enjoy in a suburb where we didn’t have time to even make many friends.
We started with one basic question:
What can we do today to make our lives happier?
That question led to a new job search with lifestyle the main focus instead of money or title. We thought by creating this criteria we’d have to settle, but we ended up getting all three. Funny how things work out when you have your head on straight.
We continued asking this same question: What can we do today to make our lives happier?
We moved to Seattle, where we purposefully bought a house 1/3 the size of our old one. We downsized substantially, and the freedom we felt was exhilarating. We paid off our debt. We learned to use public transportation and walk instead of being stuck in a car on a commute, and we got rid of one car. We used our free time to make friends, go out, explore the world, and see what we had been missing.
The beauty of this method? It never ends.
We continued asking ourselves: What can we do today to make our lives happier?
We sought out friends who had qualities we admired, people who challenged us to ‘up our game’ in every way and who were doing great things with their lives. They supported our efforts to change, grow, and evolve.
Over time, we decided to start our own small consulting business, which gave us a new creative outlet and introduced us to more great people. We had dinner together every single night and enjoyed an active social life with our new friends. I joined a book club and took up running, and Warren pursued photography and web design.
When the moment came with the idea to travel full time, we were already in a very good place to make it happen. What would have been almost inconceivable a few years before became a very real possibility. Because of our experience in making small and large changes in our lives over the course of several years, we knew we could do it.
And it took only a second for us to realize it.
The ideal life strategy is simply this: Remove the obstacles in your life. Replace them with the things you want. It can be as big as a job change or move or as small as cleaning out a closet.
We took away long commutes, business travel, over-consumption, and debt to create a lifestyle of minimal possessions and maximum experience.
And now that we are here – the ‘happily ever after’ – what do we do every day? We continue to ask the question, make changes in our lives, and move forward to the next level of happiness. The rewards keep coming as long as you put in the effort every single day.
Your ideal life may seem like it is a long way from the life you are currently living. When you look at the end goal it always does. But by focusing on this simple question you can take a giant leap forward every day single day:
What can you do today to make your life happier?