Posted by: James Shannon | February 2, 2010

Excitement: The Driver Behind Lifestyle Design

bladiaskirun_poeThe adrenaline surge of skiing is one way to add excitement to your life… offering speed, epic scenery, and the thrill of achievement, it weaves a far more compelling tale in the storybook of your life than sitting on the couch all winter, don’t you think?ย (image source)

Think back to the last time you did something/saw something that made your heart beat just a little bit faster. Soaring down a black diamond ski run, sex, and flipping through photos of the place you’re about to jet off to in two months are classic examples of this.

In my opinion, this is the internal compass that is at the heart of Lifestyle Design; after all, don’t we all want a life of excitement, as opposed to a life of perpetual boredom?

When we follow this internal pulse, fueled by adrenaline, we are pushed to new accomplishments, we uncover new philosophies on life, and we grow in overall fulfillment as human beings.

When we just sit on the couch and let the TV/parts of the internet rule our minds however, little personal growth occurs (except maybe around your waistline!), as we consume mindless entertainment, learning only about the lives of fictitious people. Advertisers design our life for us, as they tell WHO we need to BE, and WHAT we need to BUY to make it happen.

Now I’m not suggesting that passive entertainment sources don’t have their place in our lives; we do need to laugh at Peter Griffin’s latest misadventures, and sit on the edge of our seat as Jack Bauer saves the world yet again from time to time.

idibox_poeJust say NO to the boob tube … it drains your life force! (image source)

But when we sit in front of the boob tube too often, the subliminal hooks that Madison Avenue sinks into our skulls go deeper the longer we watch. Not only do we start making lifestyle choices that are heavily influenced by these ad pitches, but the time we need to make meaningful changes in our lives gets siphoned away the longer we sit there like a couch potato (so if you hear your friends complain about there not being enough hours in a day, the Box is probably why!)

When I moved to Jasper earlier this year, I didn’t purchase a TV and get cable. I wanted it to become a quasi-experiment to see how not having this “necessity” of modern life would impact my day-to day experience. As it turned out, it went very well. It pushed me into things like hiking (I did come to the mountains for this reason, after all ๐Ÿ˜› ), spending alot more time with newly-made friends, and focusing on becoming a profitable online poker player. In short, without a constant top-down media source dictating to me what life was about, the silenced voice in my head began to speak up again, and began to find myself as a result.

For many people coming from this habit of passive amusement, the removal of the TV/passive entertainment portions of the internet seemingly causes the enemy of this blog to appear: boredom. However, I contend that the person (for the most part) was bored even when they were watching TV. Their heart rate probably didn’t change much when they switched it on, and continued to be low while they randomly channel surfed. When you don’t depend on TV to fill your spare time though, your mind jumps to alternative activities to fill that time; many of these tend to get the heart racing quicker than the latest episode of Big Brother.

When you’re passively fed entertainment/news/opinions for that long, it’s hard to come up with things to do to fill that vacuum straight away. That’s why I emphasize selecting activities/learning experiences that quicken your pulse, or make you sit up in your seat when you come across them. It makes actively selecting courses of action much easier after years of being told what to do with your life.

Do what excites you, not what society thinks you should do.



  1. James,
    Really excited to come across your blog. I love the story you told in the last post and feel excited for you! I am glad you’ve decided to take time to document your new lifestyle. I look forward to some videos of “the most beautiful place on earth” as well.

    You are right on about the TV and its effects on most people…especially with regards to advertising. Take it a step further…that advertising is designed to keep us in the “deferred life” plan because that is the only way 99% of industries benefit from us, especially financial services, clothing, electronics.

    • They (advertisers) certainly do Jarred … the whole deferred life plan was well-meaning in its origin after the Great Depression, as people wanted as secure future as possible … since then a whole slew of businesses have grown up around the model (Mutual Fund companies are the biggest ones in the bunch)

      This life has its flaws however, as the term suggests. Putting off life for later leaves a satisfaction vacuum that needs to be filled, and other companies that filled that gap with products that they purport will bring us “happiness” and “excitement”.

      I think we both know better than that now! ๐Ÿ™‚

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