I’m a strange one, I hope that you are too. We all have our quirks and my own sometimes surprise even me. A concept that I broached recently in my post ‘Knowledge Must Be Stolen‘ was that there is good in many different philosophies, and you can take the best of an idea and leave the worst behind.
I would certainly describe myself as a seeker of value and efficiency, but also a lover of life, and experience. Sometimes things I do may appear quite contrarian, but perhaps a persons personal philosophy is a little more complex than might be immediately obvious. With that in mind, I would like to share some of my most important rules that might seem very much against what you have thought of from this site.
Ichigo ichie 一期一会
This term was coined by Japanese Tea Master Sen no Rikyu and can be translated as ‘one moment, one chance’ or more recently by Eminem with similar eloquence
if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted. one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?
I believe in this concept so much that all concepts of time constraints are irrelevant to me, I would walk out of an exam to make a cup of cocoa if it put my mind in the right place, I have napped in the office in the middle of the day before making a phone call if I was feeling a little out of sorts. I will simply not risk that one moment being a bad one, when the subject is important enough.
This is contrarian to me because every day is filled with all sorts of things happening at a blazing pace – but somethings I will just not do until my mind is in the correct place.
I value a Commute
I know, we are supposed to hate commuting and price that time value into our paycheck – but I get things done on a commute. Depending on the type, I can achieve all sorts of things. If you consider a straight shot in a seat on a train then that even isn’t a commute to me, that is time to work on a new project, read, write or whatever I chose.
Choppier commutes, such as I have in NYC a lot these days are different in value, I get instead to keep in touch with the pulse of the city, watch trends, experience people interacting. Depending on my workload I don’t always appreciate these immediately, but if I remind myself of the value it is there.
I think this comes down to being self employed – I am always working (or napping), whether it is at home or at the office, so I don’t resent being pulled out of the environment I am in, I am going somewhere for a reason. I find that therefore commuting is like vacationing, the environment changes but the demands are the same, so I can take inspiration from what is around me and continue to achieve my goals, or create new ones.
I will buy expensive, wasteful, luxuries
I like things, experiences mainly. I like food, and drinks, and travel, and learning. I put no limit to the price I would pay for the right experience. But I am a seeker of value. I will drink Premier Cru Bordeaux, but not in a restaurant where they mark it up, in fact you will be hard pressed to see me paying full price for a pint of beer in a restaurant as I run home like Cinderella after Happy Hour ends. That said, I am more than happy to break any rule on spending and value if the Ichigo Ichie rule applies.
These things seem to go against everything that is said about getting the best out of life, you should be conservative and frugal, you should live modestly, and wastefulness in any form will be the detriment of any plan.
But it is my belief that sometimes things aren’t wasteful. Sometimes the value that can be created is not immediately measurable, but can have a massive ripple effect over your entire life.
With that in mind, I think it can be OK to spend a bunch of money on a nice car, or buy clothes on credit, or focus on picking up chicks and partying rather than college. It can be, providing that you consider all of these things an investment in your personality, and that you are able to turn the experience into something that can be an asset. For example, you might be a crap student, but you have developed social skills that the bookworms couldn’t grasp, or you might simply have the proper level of self confidence from buying stuff that allows you to achieve your potential.
Sure, I know ‘stuff’ is wasteful and a placebo – but sometimes people need ‘stuff’ to get their heads in the right place and make the best of what they can be.
I know we’re already in crazy town, so why stop the bus here? I’ll go onto to say that you can make pretty much any mistake possible in life and it is fixable. So no matter how many things a person does wrong, providing that they can capture something from it, this thing could actually be the best thing they ever did.
I think where people go wrong in life, with their money, careers, family, goals or whatever, is that they are following another, and don’t know why they are doing what they are doing. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of good guidance out there and the general belief is you should work hard, save hard, study hard, do well, retire and die.
But really, there is a lot to be said for just figuring out what you want from this life, taking a moment to appreciate the world around you, and translating that clarity into the way you decide to live your life. On that last note, this is where I would encourage everyone not to go to college and instead do something really cool, like drive across the country to buy weed from Colorado and hang out in a VW bus doing naughty things with people you barely know.
There is value in everything, no matter how stupid someone may call it, there is weakness in every plan, no matter how well thought out it may be. That is the beauty of this world.
I’m not sure if this post is the best advice, or the worst advice, that I have suggested on this site, what do you think?