Jullien Gordon on How to Maximize Quality of Life on Your Own Terms

In Chapter 7 of 16 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, motivation teacher Jullien Gordon answers "Why Do You Differentiate Between Cost of Living and Quality of Living?"  Gordon finds quality of living and cost of living are not necessarily positively correlated.  He finds financial freedom does not always create time freedom and chooses to have time freedom as he lives.  Gordon is the founder of the Department of Motivated Vehicles, a personal and professional development company that helps clients identify purpose and map it to successful outcomes. Gordon has written five books and speaks regularly to college students across America.  He earned masters degrees in education and business from Stanford University and an undergraduate degree from UCLA.


Erik Michielsen:  Why do you differentiate between cost of living versus quality of living?

Jullien Gordon:  Wow!  So I think in regards to the American dream, we bought into this notion that our quality of living increases with our cost of living, that they’re correlative, right?  But I found that knowing what my cost of living is, what is enough for me has actually given me the freedom to actually move more powerfully with any excess income that I have beyond my cost of living. 

My cost of living is a lot of lower than a lot of people yet my quality of living is a lot higher and so we bought into this notion and played this game of income maximization as if financial freedom is actually always gonna give us time freedom and that’s not always true.  If you’re working 80 hours a week for $150,000 a year you’re actually losing out on time freedom and you have to delay your time freedom until the end of life called “retirement.”  I’m actually having my time freedom as I go along life and even Gallop did some research on well-being where they showed that the average retirement age of people who live beyond the age of 95 was 85 years old.  It wasn’t 65 years old, right? 

So this notion of “Oh I want to retire early” most people who want to retire early actually hate what they do and so since our career is such a big chunk of our lives we need to figure out how to make that fulfilling, make it feel like vacation when you’re doing your work because you love it so much and there’s this hidden tax that we have on us when we’re doing things that we hate, psychologically and physically that we don’t acknowledge until our clock stops ticking and so I’m more concerned with quality of life than anything and so to be honest my cost of living though I’m – I don’t have kids and I don’t own a home, my cost of living is about $3000 a month and that’s with my student loans and my quality of living is through the roof and so for me that just breaks this assumption that cost of living and quality of living are directly connected or correlated.