Ever since you were a little boy or girl, you’ve probably been spoon fed the 3 basic rules of life.

1. Work hard.

2. So you can get a good job.

3. So you can live well in retirement.

The problem with that theory is retirement is a long way off. Especially to a 10 year old child.

I remember my mom and dad feeding me that as I grew up. So when I got my first job, they taught me to always be there for the job. If the boss called wanting me to take an extra shift, I did it unless something more important stood in the way.

So I was working 30 to 40 hours my last year of high school. And I pretty much worked full time during college as well. I even felt “guilty” when I had to take two weeks off in college when I came down with the chicken pox! (Trust me, I had them so bad, my boss would have run away screaming!)

Yet while my parents were teaching me their ideas of “work ethics”, something happened.

My dad’s job of 30 years was suddenly on the line. He reinterviewed over and over again for a position he had held for years. He was counting down the days until his 55th birthday when he could retire and do something fun. He couldn’t retire for real – he still needed a steady income. But the retirement check would have meant he could do something fun without worrying as much about the money.

He didn’t make it. Two months before his 55th birthday, he died of a massive heart attack. Stress, smoking and bad eating all played into that. But ultimately I blamed it on the job. He changed those last few years, worrying about every moment of his future.

Why?

Because he had been sold the same three basic rules.

Work hard.

So you can get a good job.

So you can live well in retirement.

But when he suddenly saw his hard work meant nothing because it wouldn’t guarantee him a stable job that would see him through to retirement, he simply didn’t know what to do.

A lot of people still live that way today.

In fact in some ways, its even worse.

I see it with my own daughter. She goes to one of the best high schools here in Colorado. And while I love it, I have my doubts about it too. Do we really need to stress our kids out as much as we do over the 3 basic rules?

We have them working so hard in high school with the promise of something bigger on the other side. But what is that?

If they don’t know what they want to do with the rest of their lives, they get stuck.

They may go to school to get a degree “because its expected of them”. But then they have so much debt they have to get a job to pay it back. And of course fewer and fewer of them are finding a job in their area of study. They simply take something to pay the bills. And get stuck in the never ending loop of life.

Yet something is happening. I see it all the time when I read about young adults (and not so young adults) who are bucking the trends, trading it all in, and doing things their way.

That’s what a lifestyle business is all about. You don’t start up a business to become wealthy over the course of years or decades. You start up a business to give you the lifestyle you desire today.

Yet how come only a small percentage seem to understand this thought process? What if we taught that to our kids from an early age? Maybe the 3 basic rules should be:

1. Work hard to learn about things that inspire you.

2. So you can create a lifestyle that surrounds you with the things that motivate you.

3. So you can have a great life from the very beginning to the very end.