Lure of Lifestyle or Spiritual Discipline of Simplicity

One thing about living most of my life in the same small city, I have seen many people grow from stage to stage in life. I remember when a bunch of guys were in their 30s and 40s. They were posturing for importance. Living an upscale and hard-driving lifestyle. Now they are 60s and 70s. They, for the most part, have come to see what’s really important in life—relationships, service, being comfortable in who they are.

Lure of Lifestyle

My friend Jim Pinto, who has turned his attention from automation (since he doesn’t write for me anymore) to thoughts on how to live, reminds us to focus on what’s important. In Lure of Lifestyle, he says, “Now, I don’t feel particularly miserly, but I really don’t understand the rationale of the luxury lifestyle. In fact, I remember the remark of a guy who ignored the champagne at a fancy reception and asked for a beer. “Hey!” he said, “I’m rich enough to drink what I want, not what looks good.”

These days, when I see somebody posturing beyond their means, I remember a Texas cattleman’s wisecrack: “Big hat, no cattle!” This was the name of a song by Randy Newman.”

Fits a Career

I think this fits a career, too. Most of the time I’ve been in leadership (I wish I had been this good all the time), the important question became, “How can I help you?” After defining roles and hiring the best people (I’ve missed a few times, much to my downfall—one guy turned out to be quite the political manipulator), that is the best approach to management.

Spiritual discipline

One of the basic twelve spiritual disciplines outlined by Richard Foster in “Celebration of Discipline” is simplicity or the simple lifestyle.

While there are many products that improve our lives, we can easily acquire a huge pile of junk. Stuff we use for a few days and then gather dust. Stuff that’s cheaply made and don’t last but somehow stays around.

We’ve got to have the huge pickup truck, not to haul things but solely to impress people. Or the Aspen vacation that we can’t afford but that will impress everyone back home.

Practicing the simplicity discipline, we buy what we need. We invest in experiences, not in things to impress. We focus on what’s important in life—not on what we think will impress people who are usually too busy trying to impress other people to notice you’re trying to impress them.

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