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Practicing the art of luxury

Luxury is not what you can afford, but the character that you represent
Photo by Ethan Miller

In this post-Kardashian era, it is easy to believe that practicing the art of luxury relies strictly on one’s fashion sense, elite travel destinations and the purchasing of expensive and well-known brands. Some may even believe that such a lifestyle naturally accompanies the titles placed alongside one’s name. While it is true that a certain opulence has always been associated with the lifestyles of the rich and famous, few may realize another definition of luxury as stated by renowned designer and thought leader Coco Chanel:

"Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity." ~ Coco Chanel

See, those who practice the art of luxury know it to be an experience of comfort, delight and respect. Without these elements, it can be argued that this lifestyle cannot truly exist-- no matter how much money is spent on its pursuit. It is important to note, then, that there is a subtle difference between extravagance and the upper-class lifestyle we’re referring to here. Anyone with a high net worth can afford to live an extravagant lifestyle, yes, but only those who avoid indecency and outright rudeness are living a truly luxurious one.

Consider some of the most basic tenets of the art of luxury:

Always Treat Others With the Respect You Desire

We’ve all seen the stereotype of the crude millionaire who berates servants and is generally impolite to anyone not respected as a peer. This person rarely has any true friends and her only respect is of the variety that she has purchased. In other words, she is not very well liked, but people tolerate her rudeness simply because she spends a lot of money and others hope to benefit from her wealth.

This person lacks class and human decency. According to Chanel’s definition, this person carries herself in a vulgar manner and does not experience true luxury. Most likely, this is because such a person does not practice compassion or respect and, therefore, despite the creature comforts she can afford, this person does not experience real comfort, security or peace.

Endeavor to Create a Comfortable Experience For Others

If you’ve ever been to a 5-star restaurant or resort-- or even sought the help of a millionaire matchmaker, then you know that the rating has just as much to do with the overall experience as it does the food, the accommodations or the company. This is because such businesses strive to create the most comfortable experience possible for every guest they serve. Ditto with attending a luxurious party or even interacting with anyone involved in customer service at a luxury brand. The focus is always on creating a personal experience that is deeply committed to one’s comfort and satisfaction.

In practicing the art of luxury, this goal is a key to success and one that can be easily practiced every day. Iconic businesswoman and cosmetic giant Mary Kay Ash once shared an excellent tip for living in such a luxurious fashion:

Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important’. ~ Mary Kay Ash

Surround Yourself With People Who Appreciate the Art of Luxury

Noted motivational speaker, author and businessman Jim Rohn once said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. In order to indulge in the art of luxury, it is very important to surround yourself with people of like minds. Far too often, we spend time trying to network with people who have the right connections or who may be willing to invest in our various projects. If your immediate circle of friends does not include those who focus on practicing this art by way of a conscious lifestyle, consider joining a millionaire club where you can peruse the profiles of other wealthy individuals who share your ideals and passions.

Practice Makes Perfect

In this era where so many appear to have fallen victim to vanity and narcissism, the world could use more people of means who are interested in practicing the fine art of luxury. Taking note of how you’re treating others, what you are contributing to the comfort of those around you and surrounding yourself with people who share your passion for fine living are key pillars of a more luxurious lifestyle. Though at times forgotten by some, this lifestyle focus has long been one revered by the masses and respected by people of every class, and it is one that you can decide to practice at any given time.

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