Always challenge the Why? of something.
The best way to approach things, and think about things, is first principles. Think carte blanche (blank paper). Challenge convention, norms, and ask for yourself, why do things have to be done that way? This is where studying history is good because it gives you a sense on the actual purpose or the reason or the history behind things., tabula rasa.
For example, the reason why the Lamborghini scissor doors was invented was appearly practical one: when Marcelo Gandinhi designed the Lamborghini Countach, they had issues backing up the car and visibility. Therefore, the driver could use the scissor doors as a means to backing out more safely. But in today’s world where we have back up cameras, is the scissor door really a functional thing? Or a purely aesthetic and superfluous one?But in today’s world where we have back up cameras, is the scissor door really a functional thing? Or a purely aesthetic and superfluous one?
So, a lot of modern design for the front grill of the car is predicated on the notion of having a radiator in front. But, now that we got electric cars, what is the use or need for a front grill? Therefore the genius of Elon musk and Tesla is getting rid of the front grill on all other new Tesla vehicles. This is good design progress.
Also, some fashion trends are interesting. For example, the reason why Timberland boots became so popular in the hip-hop and rap community is that a lot of these rappers were actually drug dealers, and they would stand on the corner drink called New York City nights, and they need clothing and shoes to keep them warm.
Also, shoe laces. In today’s world, we actually have a good enough technology which doesn’t require us to have a shoelaces. At this point shoelaces are mostly aesthetic. There are all these new innovative knitting technologies, which allows us to design shoes that look more like socks, without the need of laces. Therefore, The best modern shoes should not and do not need to have laces. Even Kanye West admitted that he didn’t believe in shoelaces, and his goal is trying to get a rid of laces, which are incredibly popular on his Yeezy 350 line. Kanye West most innovative sneaker probably by far is the foam runner, which remove the need for shoelaces, or other things.
How Covid 19 sparked a lot of innovation
COVID-19 sparked much innovation. Why? It Challenged things. It challenged whether certain things were truly essential or not. For example, meetings. Do you really need to have a meeting in person? but Covid 19 shows now what is essential, and what is a Luxury, or what is “just nice to have“.
Do I even need it in the first place?
Nowadays, when it comes to consumerism or materialism, we often think about what the best car is, the best home is, the best lifestyle is, the best phone, etc. But a much more wise approaches this: consider whether you even need it in the first place.
For example, rather than shopping for a new car, it is best to ask yourself whether you really need a car or not anyways in the first place. Think—
Do I really even need a car? Can I live without a car? Are there other arrangements I can make like sharing a car with a friend or family member instead?
Are there hidden downsides of owning a car? Can I actually live a better and more productive life not owning a car?
Aesthetics versus practicality?
Going back to the Lamborghini scissor doors example: if you have a car that you want to use as your daily driver, is it practical to have Lamborghini scissor doors? Also, given the fact that we now have rearview cameras, should the aesthetics of a Lamborghini door (The novelty, the drama, the pageantry, the showiness), exist?
Maybe the most important question is a social one. If you want your car to have the maximum amount of flashiness, then having Lamborghini scissor doors will certainly draw the most attention. Because a lot of people like the Lamborghini cars, not for the car itself, but for the novelty of the doors. The same goes with the Rolls-Royce suicide doors. Other people love and crave novelty.
But what if you do not care to impress other people? And what if you lived on a desert island, in which you’re the only person who owns the car, drive the car, and will witness the car?
Or also what if you prefer to be low-key? And more stealth? That you don’t actually like to draw attention to yourself? Even Seneca has wisely one commented:
The robber does not rob the poor man traveling. Also, poison is often not inside a wooden cup, only in a golden one.
Also, let us assume traveling is your passion. Assuming you do not want to get robbed or held up at gunpoint, the best strategy is to actually look poor, or at least ordinary and normal. To look rich makes you a target for theft.
Don’t wear your Rolex while traveling
Also, if you travel with expensive possessions, you live more fearfully. You’re afraid that someone in the hotel room or the Airbnb will steal your watch, your possessions your things etc.
You might also be afraid to walk around in public, afraid that somebody might spot you in your expensive watch, and will rob you.
Also the downside of owning expensive car is this: worrying whether somebody will key your car, tried to steal your car, rob you, or may be parked and dent your car. Or having annoying people shoot selfie‘s in front of your car.
The hedonic normalization of things
From a philosophical perspective, eventually everything loses his novelty, sooner or later. I think this is human nature, no matter how great something is, we eventually for entire of it, or it at least becomes our new normal. For example, once the novelty of something has worn off, it is impossible for something to keep bring you the same degree of joy and delight that it first had, when you first got it.
For example, when I dreamed up getting a Leica camera, I thought that it would bring me pure sublime joy every single time I used it, or whenever I just looked at it. But after getting one, it started to lose its charm, and started to collect dust on my shelf like every other camera that I got before it.
For a while I wanted a Porsche, and I was curious and I asked my friend Joel what it was like only one. He told me wisely that it was just like my Leica camera, in the beginning it is really cool and novel, but eventually it just feels like any other car.
Therefore, even if I got the Tesla, Lamborghini, or The McLaren of my dreams, I know that eventually, maybe after a few weeks or months, I will bore of it. Therefore, the wise thing to do is not get it in the first place.
So what are we to do if we quickly bore of things?
My first practical take away is this: strive to be as insanely minimalist as possible. As your possessions as possible, because that gives you more time and freedom. If you were things to maintain, catalog, keep clean, organize, store, update, charge, and deal with.
Also, when it comes to electronics, it seems the best strategy is to be insanely picky. And once you’ve chosen something, get it refurbished. This will make you feel smarter, like you’re getting a great deal, and get it top of the line. For example, the last MacBook Pro I bought I got a top-of-the-line model from the Apple online refurbished store in 2017, and it was only one generation old. Yet because I bought the top line specs, it has still lasted me a while until now.
Don’t spend so much money on your phone
A practical thought is this: avoid the hype behind iPhones. It seems that nowadays, new model comes out every six months or a year. Therefore, avoid this distraction.
Probably be better to get a slightly cheaper iPhone, and don’t be afraid of scratching it, then buying the brand new top-of-the-line iPhone.
The best life is no car
I think cars are for suckers. Granted there are some scenarios where having a car is a nice luxury, but I think it’s more of a distraction than anything. By not owning a car, I walk more steps a day, which actually makes me happier, healthier, and more creatively productive. needless to say it also saves me a lot of money, time, less worry about maintenance and fixing the car, and also the hassle with insurance, parking and filling up the gas (or recharging if I had an electric car).
The ultimate luxury and billionaire approach is not owning a car.