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September 12, 2012
by Shannon Ables
Eastern Oregon writer
The Simply Luxurious Life
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
–William A. Foster
One of the main components of living a simply luxurious life is choosing quality over quantity in all things – friendships, relationships, clothing, food, experiences, living space, etc.
But often with so many choices presented to us, we become unsure or uncertain as to what quality looks like. So how do we determine what is of high quality and what is only posing as such, but is actually not the real deal?
By setting standards.
When you set standards for your life – i. e. how you will allow others to treat you, how fabric should feel on your skin, how a garment should look on your body, how the food you eat makes you feel, how an experience should make you feel or how much your rent/mortgage should cost – you are immediately deciding on what is high quality (meets or exceeds your standards) and what is low quality (doesn’t meet your standards).
If we aren’t paying attention, life can take the reins letting us just follow along. This is not a healthy way to live, and I guarantee you, allowing this to happen will not lead you to a simply luxurious life. When we allow others’ choices, behaviors and society’s preferences dictate the decisions we make, we are not setting a standard of living that will create a high quality life. Instead, we need to flip the situation on its head and allow life to respond to our expectations.
When we do that, when we set the bar of excellence where we want it to be, and we remain consistent in our standards, what we desire, we discover and what we don’t value is brushed aside. For example, if you are clear about your values and what you will and will not tolerate, you will discover people with similar expectations instead of being berated and/or challenged constantly for feeling differently than others who differ in what they value.
Be prepared for some push back. Initially it will be more difficult, and while it won’t ever cease entirely, it will get much easier as you hone your ability to say no and at the same time become better able to determine what meets your standards and what doesn’t.
An example of setting high standards and creating an environment of excellence or a life of high quality is the business of Apple. On a business level, they’ve set the standard of high quality and excellence exceedingly high, but because they’ve refused to lower it, the customer is confident when they see their logo on a electronic device that they are receiving a quality product. Apple has discovered that they can maintain high asking prices because of their adherence to a high standard. In other words, they changed the culture and chose not to follow the crowd simply to get along. They raised the bar and demanded their competitors to meet them at their level, and guess what, the customers continue to flock to Apple. It worked.
“It is a funny thing about life: If you refuse to accept anything but the best you very often get it.” -W. Somerset Maugham
It will take time. First, you will need to set your standards which will be based on what you value. Then, remain consistent unapologetically.
Here are some examples of setting high standards and demanding quality in your every day life, ultimately helping you create a simply luxurious life that is tailor made for you and what you value:
1. Fuel your body with food that is from the earth – eliminate all processed foods and refined sugars.
2. Choose to surround yourself with people who are positive, hopeful, honest and inspiring.
3. Purchase clothing that is made well, will last more than one season and fits your signature style.
4. Fewer items in your closet, yet all items are worn consistently, are high quality and therefore, give you many more stylish options.
5. A home that has less square footage and not worrying about impressing the neighbors.
6. Saving up for one quality vacation every year (or every other year) that offers many opportunities for widening of perspective.
7. Finding downtime to relax and recharge so that when you do socialize for fun and at work, you are your best self.
8. Not following the crowd. Not because you want to be different, but because something else is more interesting, more comfortable or sits better with your conscience, interests or tastes.
9. Say less, but when you do speak, be clear and sincere about what you say.
10. A handful of dear friends, who you may not see all of the time, but each knows the other will be there for them in good and bad times.
The life you want, the life that you may feel isn’t attainable, actually is. The life you create will be based on the actions you repeatedly do. And your actions or decision not to act will dictate where your standards are set.
The good news is setting the standards for your life is completely within your control. So today, take a moment and assess what you value in each area of your life (personal, professional, financial, shopping, etc), then determine if you’re meeting your own standards or not. You can do it. It simply requires of you to live consciously each and every day.
“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” Aristotle
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