Why Upgrade?

How often should I upgrade my camera or devices, or cars, homes, clothes, etc?

Idea… What if you didn’t own anything anymore?

I’ve been wondering; when it comes to devices, tools, cars, cameras, phones, laptops, and almost anything technological — how long do we desire to keep things? Do we desire to keep it for 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, or until we die?

Furthermore, what is the “optimal” or the “ideal” upgrade cycle?

Please don’t give me a 5 year old iPhone

Certainly it seems like a bad idea to keep a phone or any device forever.

If you have a maxed out top-end device, it seems that most electronic things have a maximum lifespan of around 5-10 years. You can technically squeeze out more life from devices, but often you’ll be at a (significant) disadvantage by having devices which are ~8+ years old.

Is it possible to upgrade a device too often?

From an objective standpoint, “too often” is subjective. If you upgrade your iPhone every cycle, others might bemoan you for being imprudent with money, but if you think it is “worth it” for yourself; don’t let anyone stop you.

So it seems that whenever you decide to upgrade your devices, it is personal decision you must determine for yourself.

My observations/experiences

For myself, I have realized this truth:

No matter how good any technological something is, I’ll get used to it/bored of it in a few months (certainly within a year).

But then again there are certain tools that we must own, which are practical to most of our everyday lives:

  1. Car
  2. Laptop
  3. Phone
  4. Digital camera
  5. Headphones

It is my ideal that I could own nothing and just rent/lease things easily as need be. Almost consider an Uber or “device sharing” company, where I don’t have to own anything, but simply rent things as need be– and always have access to the newest and greatest tools (I still love new technology).

My solutions (so far)

Some practical things I’ve done:

  1. When purchasing electronics, I generally prefer to buy maxed-out devices which are refurbished or used. For example I bought my 13 inch MacBook Pro touchbar (maxed out specs) refurbished and I saved a ton of money (maybe close to $1k)
  2. For digital cameras, they all bore me sooner or later. The only digital camera I’ve stuck with which I really love is my (now broken) RICOH GR II (which still works, albeit super annoying to turn on and off).
  3. It seems that cars are a horrible financial use of your money: They too quickly depreciate in value, their styling quickly goes out of fashion, and generally speaking cars are just too expensive. Personally I prefer NOT to own a car, and just Uber everywhere or rent cars as needed.

Toys or tools?

I think toys are a huge waste of money and space. Generally speaking we buy children toys, who quickly tire of them, and then just throw them away in a box. It seems kids have the most fun when they’re making art (painting, Lego, play dough), playing outdoors, playing with friends, and other engaging activities.

It seems that adults are the same way. Perhaps we get too distracted with toys. Or perhaps we confuse toys with tools, or we use our tools as our toys.

I think tools are good. With tools, we can create. And to me, all creation is good.

But perhaps the tricky thing is that our tools (because they are technological) they get confounded with toys. Or perhaps because our tools can also be toys (consider the iPhone is one of the best tools created for mankind yet it has infinite games and distractions).

Determine which tools are essential for you / empower you.

One of the tricky things in life is discovering which tools are ideal and optimal for you.

Furthermore, our digital tools are always in flux, changing, and evolving. So in some ways we gotta adapt to our ever-changing tools. This is difficult, and often stressful and distracting.

So this is my takeaway so far:

Strive to discover a tool you determine is 80% “good enough” for your needs, and just stick with it until it drops into the 60% “good enough zone”.

Why do you feel your tools aren’t good enough?

Truth be told there will always be a “better” tool out there. And at this point it seems that even the most high end devices are only on top for 6-8 months.

Thus even the newest and greatest tools and devices will only be “the best” for only around 6 months.

Perhaps we should just be realistic about ourselves and our expectations:

Whenever you buy a new (anything) you will initially get a great glow from it, but that “high” associated with it won’t last.

So this is why we often fall victim to the “hedonic treadmill”, or the “purchasing treadmill”. We keep buying new things to continually give us that high; but is this really a good strategy in life?

Personally I don’t think it is a good use of money, but that’s just my opinion.

How to feel continually high in life?

So we are starting to venture into deeper and more interesting philosophical territory.

Perhaps the question is this:

Is it possible to get a perpetual high off life, and is this even something to be desired?

Accomplish more!

It seems we are only “happy” when we overcome challenges, difficulties, and through accomplishment.

In a simple way this means to set more epic goals for yourself (goals which you actually desire to accomplish for yourself). Then to accomplish them!

Then perhaps to go “onto the next one”, and to never stop striving for more!

Why strive for more?

It seems a lot of us desire “peace of soul/mind”. And a lot of Zen/Buddhist/Taoist/Christian morality advocates to find more gratitude, satisfaction, and joy in life.

What if we did the opposite? Desire to become more insatiable, more implacable, and more hungry for more?

What is life?

To me, this is the root of life. Life is all about desiring for more; to desire to do more, accomplish more, and create more.

Obviously we must consume (some), but perhaps we should think about it this way:

We must consume in order to produce!

Therefore the goal isn’t to consume, the goal is to produce!

Thus consumption isn’t the end goal; consumption is the means and the roads to creation.

So in short,

Optimize your life to maximize your creations!


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