Mama O had big daddy Ralph on her show the other day, for an interview with the legend and his family at their Colorado ranch. This was notable because Ralph Lauren (pronounced like the girls name, not like a French dude), rarely gives television interviews and has certainly never sat down for an extended period of time. He welcomed cameras into his home, allowed them to meet his family and whether he meant to or not, dropped a hint to his legacy and a truly interesting point about lifestyle.
Ralph, born Ralph Lipshitz, grew up in relatively humble beginning. From an early age he had a vision of a lifestyle that was American, wholesome, balanced and beautiful. He dreamed of a family that was private and close, playful and supportive. He dreamed of a day when he could walk out his ranch door, look out on a landscape lush and green, read a book in his rocking chair and just enjoy it. He envisioned his American dream but couldn’t seem to find anyone living the life he wanted or selling the items that fit within that life. With that, he started making clothes that fit his vision. First ties, then polo shirts, onto full collections in home, kids and even a restaurant. The man literally, piece by piece, created the world that he wanted to live in. His vision was so beautiful and desirable that it became a mega business and an iconic lifestyle brand, but before it was about money, it was about happiness. Ralph knew intrinsically the relationship between one’s happiness and their surroundings.
The take away for me wasn’t that I needed to go out and start my own lifestyle business. I learned that I should think about the things I buy and the home I live in with more purpose. Rather than just buying things I think are cool or nice, I want to more carefully edit the things I surround myself with, keeping a closer attention to the world that I want to live in. You first need a vision of how you want your life to look, and then select only the items that contribute to that vision.
(The beautiful Lauren Family)
I think the way to start living like this is to take inventory of your priorities. What are the things most important to you in your life? How can you best attend to those priorities, and in living in attention to these things, what does your life look like? In thinking about my own life, the following words came to mind: family, love, comfort, entertaining, simplicity, tailored, rooted. I’m sure this all sounds very up in the clouds, but when you think about it, your environment has an enormous effect on how you feel. Everything from your clothes to your bedding to the plates and bowls in your cupboards – everything around you is a piece of your life, an extension of you. I challenge you all this Monday to take inventory of the world that surrounds you. Does it look like the place you want to be? What changes can you make to be closer to your vision of happiness? I believe that the only difference between us and Ralph Lauren is the willingness to see the vision through. In other words, I hope, there is no difference at all.