Deep vs Shallow Vanity

In life, vanity is good, but only if the vanity is deep. Shallow and superficial vanity is a detractor and a distraction.

For example, pride in one’s possessions is a very superficial form of vanity. A better source of vanity is the vanity you get from your artworks, your character, or your own personal innovations.


Make it easy and simple. Why? Things which are more easy to use or do will be used more. Easy things have greater utility.

How do you make things easier? Make it simpler. Fewer options, make it more intuitive, and make it more automatic.

Also, better interoperability. The reason why I really like Coinbase as a platform for buying, selling and trading crypto is because it is so easy. It automatically linked to my bank accounts super easy, buying and selling is easy, albeit there is a fee. I see Coinbase as the new PayPal but for cryptocurrency.

Same goes with PayPal. The reason why I like to use PayPal for my workshops is it is so easy. Easy to accept payments, and send them. I think this is why people are like Venmo so much — it is the easiest way to send money to friends and family.

So when it comes to design matters, strive to make it easier and simpler. The easier the better.

For example, the best shoes are the ones easiest to take on and off.

With cameras, the best cameras are the ones in which it is super easy to take pictures.

No appliances. The best appliances are the ones that make it very easy to use. For example, the Nespresso machine is very easy. Or, the Ronco rotisserie chicken maker is just “set it and forget it.” Also nowadays, air fryers are becoming very popular because they are so easy to operate. I also like the ease of use of the instant pot, as well as the crockpot slow cooker.

In terms of food, I found the easiest to cook and eat are eggs. Why? They are relatively cheap, stay fresh in the fridge for a very long time, and are very easy to cook and clean up. More recently, I really like frozen burger patties, as they are very easy to cook, eat, and clean up. I don’t even need to defrost the frozen burger patties, I can throw them straight on the grill and cook them until they defrost. or you could just air fry the frozen burger patties, set it for about 12 minutes, and just return later and eat it. Set it and forget it is great for cooking.

With camera settings, P program mode is the easiest. And just use autofocus and auto ISO to keep things simple and easy.

The cult of “hard”

One thing I find very strange nowadays is this obsession with doing things which are hard and difficult. It seems that for a lot of people, they only pursue things which are hard, as a form of self flagellation. That their self worthiness is only dependent on how much pain they experience, and how much they suffer.

Also, people who pride themselves too much on doing things manually is also a shallow form of vanity. For example, a lot of photographers like to brag or show off that they do everything manually, but, what is the most important is the image you create. The technical settings do not matter.

There are also certain photographers like to brag how they process and develop their film and scan it all by themselves, as if using somebody else to do it is a form of “cheating” or less legitimate, or less worthy. Doing things which are easy is not cheating, it is smart.


Once you got perfect, then what?

Our goal is we must go beyond perfection.

Then focus on just play? Having fun!

“Just have fun with it”

Also just don’t take things too seriously.

No more need or desire to optimize things. Rather, “unoptimal” is better and our new luxury.

Also, art. Art does not need to have a functional purpose, nor should it. The notion of perfect art is a non-concept. Thus, creating any art which delights us is our new luxury. also, the notion of perfect art is a non-concept. Thus, creating any art which delights us is our new luxury. Nonperfect art.

Also in praise of fashion. There is no such thing as a perfect person and it always goes in waves.


Not “does the world need it”, but “do you need it”, or do I need it?

And if you care badly enough, be the one to make and create it.

Scroll to Top