WHO WANTS TO BE A LIFEONAIRE?
What is a Lifeonaire?
The actual word “lifeonaire” came to me a few years ago.
My wife and I were away on a weekend trip, and I had taken the opportunity to spend some time alone with God. As I was meditating and praying, I reflected on a recent trip that I’d taken to El Salvador and the overwhelm-ing happiness
and simple joy that I had witnessed in the lives of the people there. They had nothing, materially speaking, yet they were full of joy. I just couldn’t understand it.
As I prayed that day, I asked God to show me why they were so happy and yet as I looked around me every day, I saw people who seemed to have everything the world could offer and yet they were missing joy.
Suddenly, God showed me the word “lifeonaire”, and I realized that most people around me were striving to be “millionaires” when what they really wanted was to be “lifeonaires”. And, there, during my quiet time that day, the concept of lifeonaire, someone who is full of life, was born.
Before we continue, it’s important to discuss the pronunciation of “lifeonaire”. It’s not “life-on-air”. It’s
“life-a-naire”, just like“millionaire”.
In our culture, millionaires are recognized as people that have a great deal of money; in contrast, a lifeonaire can be described as a person who has a great deal of life. Obviously, we are all “full of life” in that we are living, breathing human beings, and we all live out the lives we are given in various ways. We all have 24 hours each day. We are all born and we all die. It’s our choice how we approach our lives, regardless of our circumstances. The question I want you to consider is whether or not your life is the life you truly desire to live? Do you have the joy that comes from having total freedom to live life on your own terms?
The world we live in does a great job promoting the millionaire culture.
The world claims that achieving that elusive “millionaire” status is the key to living a full life.
Yet, there seems to be no shortage of driven people who are giving their all, sacrificing every day, and yet not experiencing the full life that the world promises.
Many of us have been taught to study hard and work harder. We are admonished to give all our efforts to fulfill our dreams and goals and not to let anything get in our way.
We are assured that, one day, we will “arrive”. If we just work hard enough and make enough sacrifices, we will reach our goals and then, and only then, life will be good. We will have no more worries and we’ll finally be free to live joy-filled lives.
You probably don’t have to look very far to see someone who the world would say has “arrived”. He has done everything right in the world’s eyes. He has made all the right choices and appears to be living out his dream life. But, more importantly, when you look around, how much true joy do you see?
Probably, not much.
Somehow, we have come to believe that as long as we are reaching the world’s standards for our “dream” lives, then that must be as good as it’s going to get. Joy is optional and most people have settled for this. However, I’ve never met anyone who does not want to be a “lifeonaire”-- someone living a joy-filled life. Where is the disconnect? Why have we come to accept this dreary and unfulfilled existence?
I believe that the pursuit of becoming a lifeonaire involves three important aspects of our lives: mindset, lifestyle, and culture.
First, is the most powerful of the three: mindset.
Mindset is the vision that drives your lifestyle and influences the culture around you which then in turn comes full circle to influence your mindset. Yet, before there was such a thing as “culture”, a certain biblical character made the unwise choice to live a lifestyle that was determined by his life’s vision.
First, a bit of biblical background: When Adam and Eve were created, their slates were clean. They lived in the Garden of Eden, Paradise; they were experiencing life as God had intended it to be. There was no better
place. They had complete joy and needed nothing else.
Then the serpent (also known as Satan/the world) showed up and introduced a new mindset. He convinced Adam and Eve they were missing something; that they could experience something greater than the Garden. And so the cycle began.
One corrupt suggestion from Satan changed their entire mindset. Adam and Eve were now ashamed in the presence of God, their Creator. They realized how perfect it had been to live in perfect communion with Him and were ashamed that they had been lured away by the promise of something different and better. They believed that the world had more to offer and, as a consequence of their sinful choice, their lifestyle changed forever. They were now living in the world, laboring to survive; they had chosen to give up Paradise.
And, as Adam and Eve had children, those children inherently knew there was something greater
than what the world offered. So those children pursued it and pursued it so far that one of their sons, Cain, killed his own brother, Abel, because he wanted more. Cain’s vision for more had determined his sinful lifestyle and he spent the remainder of his life as a fugitive and vagabond. So the cycle continued, generation after generation, and, sadly, it continues even today.
Today, we are all born into a culture that has degenerated greatly and is nothing like the paradise of Garden of Eden. Like Cain, who was only one generation removed from the Garden yet knew there was more to life, we also know there is more to life. Deep inside, we know that life has more to offer than the world around us seems to indicate. We desire to experience life in all its fullness. We have a deep craving for it, but few of us ever actually experience it. Yes, we occasionally have glimpses of the lives we long for, but these glimpses only serve to add fuel to our fires. After all, they are only glimpses — temporary experiences of joy. They are not enough. These glimpses, these joyful moments in life are temporary yet still bring joy even years later.
For me, sharing Christ and seeing a life turned around brings true joy. Being used by and serving a loving master is what brings me unspeakable joy that never goes away. This then begs the question: if that is what brings me true joy, why don’t I seek to do it all the time? In reality, even though glimpses are important and powerful, we want much more than a glimpse.
So how do we get more than a glimpse? How do we capture the lifestyle or mindset that will bring us true, continual joy? Well, according to our culture, we’ll find this joy in money because money will solve all our problems. I realize we continually hear phrases like “Money isn’t everything.” and “Money can’t buy happiness.”
They are tossed around so carelessly that they’ve pretty much become cliches, merely words that mean nothing. They certainly do not reflect the actions taken by most people.
Most of us live our lives as if money is everything. And because this is our mindset, our lifestyles reflect that desire. We “live” for the security and happiness we think will be found in money. And, although we give lip service to phrases like “money isn’t everything”, we continue to buy more books and magazines about money than about any other subject. We idolize and seek to emulate the rich and famous. We’re always thinking about money: how to pay the bills, how to earn more, how to invest wisely. How can I win the lottery? How soon can I retire? Some are simply trying to figure out how to pay the bill collectors today. Others are devising long-term plans for accumulating wealth.
Yet very few people regularly contemplate how to experience more joy today? Because we believe that more money will bring more joy, we live in direct response to that mindset.
Whether it’s our ability to earn it, win it, take it, or make the government give it to us, we have convinced ourselves that money will solve our problems, and if we have no problems, then, and only then, will we have true joy.
But our mindset isn’t the only thing that doesn’t seem to jive with our words. Our vision goes against the words we say as well. To most people, money IS everything. It’s all-consuming. And, because our lifestyles reflect our visions, our actions are all about money. Whether we overwork to earn more or sit on
the couch doing nothing, expecting someone else to take care of us, it’s all about money. Our thoughts are consumed with it.
Our thoughts and actions toward money have created a culture that breeds it requires it, expects it. I call this the “millionaire culture”. Everything is about money. Some eagerly jump in and play the game that the culture requires. Others despise the game and despise those playing it.
They have dedicated their lives to hating money and to pursuing those who have it in order to take it from them for their own benefit or the benefit of others. They don’t care if they secure it through lawsuits or political action; their motives are all the same: more money.
The result of this mindset is a lifestyle and culture that are so far removed from what we really desire. We have completely abandoned the pursuit of true joy that Adam and Eve knew in the Garden of Eden.
Because of our current millionaire culture, we have no idea what we really want out of life. We just know we aren’t happy and we aren’t experiencing joy. So, since the culture has told us that the answer is to make more money, that’s what we attempt to do.
We believe that if we aren’t happy, it must be because we don’t have enough money. So our goal becomes to work more, take more, win more. We are willing to stop at nothing and even destroy others to satisfy our insatiable desire for money. Most people live almost all of their lives pursuing money but living miserably.
Occasionally, some will realize that money isn’t the answer. They will come to acknowledge that although they’ve achieved great wealth, joy has eluded them.
Sadly, however, I have found in my teaching that those who finally realize money isn’t the answer don’t know what else to pursue. Even though they realize they are chasing an empty dream, because the millionaire culture has told them the pursuit and accumulation of money is the answer, they continue to pursue it.
These people don’t necessarily want more money, they just don’t know what else to do.
Culture has convinced them that “money is the rationalize their mindset and push aside their discovery and deep longings, and the lifestyle just continues. It’s a vicious, downward struggle with a strong foe.
When I teach, I typically ask my audience if they can tell me what they truly want out of life. Typically, 99 out of 100 people cannot give me an answer. They can articulate what they want their financial statements to look like with great clarity; money is something they’ve thought about a lot. But if money is removed from the equation, they have no answers.
Almost without fail, I find that most people have given little or no thought to what they truly want out of life. They can easily give me cliches like “I want to spend more time with my family.” or “I want to be a better parent, etc.” And while these are admirable and genuine goals, most people are still pursuing happiness through the avenue of money. It’s easy to say “I want to spend more time with my family.”; it’s much harder to further clarify this statement by identifying exactly what needs to change to make that happen.
And this is where it gets tough.
Even though it goes against our deepest desires and longings, our mindsets say “more money.” Therefore our lifestyles reflect our mindsets, and our culture endorses that. We’ve trapped ourselves. We live in a culture that promotes a money-intensive lifestyle. If we pursue what the culture endorses, money MUST be the goal of our lives. It MUST be our vision. And, yet that pursuit has left us empty and joyless.
Life is frustrating for those living out this vicious cycle and playing by the world’s rules. They can’t figure out what they’re doing wrong. They are playing the game well. They are doing what they are “supposed” to be doing. But, still, the joy is missing.
It’s frustrating when you do things right, but the rewards you hoped for just aren’t there. Eventually, you come to believe that you’re playing the game wrong, and you may even consider cheating to win.
I’m here to tell you that you aren’t playing wrong; you’re simply playing the wrong game by the wrong rules.
And the wrong rules will only get you to the wrong place.
Often, as people get older, they begin to sense this and some are fortunate enough to figure out that they’ve been playing the wrong game.
But unfortunately, by the time this hits home, we’ve already taught the wrong rules to those closest to us.
And since the culture around us fully supports these wrong rules, we, along with our loved ones, live lives of frustration knowing what the answer is but being dragged down by those around us who are playing the game that we taught them to play! And so the vicious cycle continues.
In order to change our culture, we must first change our lifestyles, which are simply byproducts of our visions. Because most of us are living without visions, the culture/ world around us is dictating our visions, our circumstances, our lifestyles. We are living and serving someone else’s vision for our lives. Simply put: we are slaves to the world’s vision for our lives.
This cycle must be broken. And it must start with YOU! You are the only one who can take your thoughts captive and set out on a new road to take control of your mindset, your lifestyle, and your vision.
It won’t be easy. The challenges will seem insurmountable at times. You will be swimming upstream against a culture that tells you you’re crazy and you can’t do it.
But living as a true lifeonaire is worth every bit of sacrifice along the way!
Remember those joyful people in El Salvador that I mentioned at the beginning? If your true desire is to live just like they do, with all the joy and none of the tension, then I encourage you to join me on this amazing journey. I promise you, you won’t be sorry!
If you are interested in learning more about the Lifeonaire concept, please visit our website at www.lifeonaire.com. Take a moment to join our e-mail list to receive regular updates and news from
the Lifeonaire community. Also, check out our blog at www.lifeonaireblog.com.
About Steve Cook
Since God showed Steve the Lifeonaire concept, Steve Cook has been on a mission to learn what it means to be a Lifeonaire himself, while teaching
the concept to others. Today he is regarded as “The Coaches’ Coach.” Many of the people who have been
coached by Steve have become coaches themselves, eager to share what they have learned with others.
Prior to teaching Lifeonaire, Steve was a nationally recognized real estate investing educator, author and real estate investor. Today Steve’s passion is no longer fixing houses.
Now Steve lives his passion by fixing people.