Mexico City Selfie. Ricoh GR II and flash

Why Improve Our Lives?

We all want to improve our lives. But in order for what?

Testing these turbo thoughts with ZEN OF ERIC:


Generally I think the notion is this:

I want to improve my life in order to maximally empower myself, in order to help others.

But is this too simple of a reason or argument? Let us dive further.

Mexico City Selfie. Ricoh GR II and flash
Mexico City Selfie. Ricoh GR II and flash x Eric Kim NECK STRAP

The best life is to NOT have a ‘bad’ life

This is my first idea:

Before thinking of ‘improving’ our lives, we must first NOT have a ‘bad’ life.

For example, if you feel like you have a shitty and depressing life right now, you must work hard to work yourself up to ‘baseline’.

But then comes the question:

How far can you uplift yourself from baseline to epic?

And when you have reached an epic state — is the goal to continually ‘improve’ your life indefinitely?

Also, are there upper-limits to improvement to our quality of life?

How far can selfishness go?

Leaf with flash. RICOH GR II. Hanoi
Leaf with flash. RICOH GR II. Hanoi

I know for myself, this is what it means to improve my life:

  1. Maximal physiological strength, alertness, ability to concentrate and focus.
  2. Maximal muscle mass, minimal body fat percentage.
  3. Maximal physical strength (one rep max powerlifting ability). Also, ability to see progress and ability for week-over-week growth.

Improvement of life via-negativa style

In terms of work-life:

  1. To improve my life means to have FEWER obligations, FEWER meetings, FEWER responsibilities.
  2. To have FEWER cares, FEWER concerns, FEWER stresses.

Thus in simple terms:

To improve our lives, we gotta figure out what BS to REMOVE from our lives.

But once you have removed all the irritants from your life, and once you have a perfect zen-like calm and peace of mind, then what?

Tokyo flash. Cat on man's shoulder.
Tokyo flash. Cat on man’s shoulder.

Is striving to improve our lives the wrong effort?

This is my realization:

Currently I have the best life possible. Maximal physical and physiological strength and well-being.

But in spite of my maximal personal happiness, it “ain’t that big of a deal”. I feel quite base-line.

Week-over-week I gain new PR’s in my powerlifts. Getting a new record and PR is a great feeling, yet it fades. And I know in the back of my head that I will continually strive to become stronger.

But what do I do once I can benchpress 4 plates, squat 5 plates, and deadlift 6 plates?

Perhaps better to think:

What SHOULD I do with my life, on a day-to-day basis?

Hanoi lake
Hanoi lake

My joy

Perhaps the notion of improving our lives is the wrong effort. Perhaps the better goal is this:

To focus and maximize on continually being artistically innovative and productive.

Follow your own personal aesthetics and taste

An epiphany while getting acupuncture the other day:

Art is all about pleasing our own personal aesthetics and taste.

For example — when it comes to art, design, web design, etc — the question you must ask yourself:

“Do I consider this beautiful or not?”

Let yourself be the only and SOLE judge!

Pursue beauty, art, philosophy of aesthetics

Assuming you are truly the end-goal, then:

You must make photos that YOU genuinely like to look at!

At this point, I only care to make photographs that I personally love to look at. This is my sole criterion.

My theory:

If I make photos that I personally like to look at, then I am more likely to be innovating something interesting, and more likely to interest others. Furthermore, I will continue to stay motivated and inspired– because I become a ‘perpetual creative cycle‘ into myself (I create something I like, I inspire myself, and I create again!)


The conclusion for now:

Improving our lives is a distraction — it ain’t the real goal. To ‘improve our lives’ is the red-herring in our life. The better goal is towards artistic innovation and productivity!




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