NEWS: The Minimalist

Why minimalism?

The first thought is how to do and achieve more in life, while you’re still alive. Also how to achieve and do more in a single day.

The first thought is become more minimal in your activities. That is, don’t try to do everything, only attempt and do the things you truly care for. This is life curation, that is, to do only that what you care for. The word curate and care, cura is the same word. Also comes from the notion of heart. Like courage and coeur.

Is your heart in it or not? Is your soul in it or not?

Minimal creative

I like this notion of a minimum viable creative thing. That is, what is the simplest, most straightforward way you could create something?

For example, on the new iOS beta, this new Apple Freeform application is great, for creative canvassing. I could imagine just creating creative diagrams and screenshotting them and sharing them later.

Also, a very underrated tool is Apple Keynote, both on the iPhone and iPad, and also on the MacBook laptop. It is 1 billion times more beautiful than PowerPoint or Google slides.

Also, doing fun calligraphy and sketches with Zen Brush 2, ZenBrush3 app, as well as the Procreate app, which is available both on iPhone and iPad.

Just start writing

If you suffer some sort of writers block, what is the best way to overcome it? I said just download the iA Writer app, which is available on iPad, iPhone, and your MacBook laptop. Turn on focus mode, and just start writing.

Also, use the built-in voice dictation feature on iPhone and iPad. It is available directly on the built-in Apple iOS keyboard, the little microphone button in the bottom left corner.

The most manly minimal work out?

What do I hate? Running. Signing up for classes, I would probably pay money to not be subjected to being stuck in a CrossFit class for an hour. Also, I do not like any organized workout classes, as I like to do things my own way at my own pace.

Even yoga, I think to do yoga as a form to “work out”, is misguided. Rather, I like to do some basic yoga moves and stretches before I powerlift, as a way of making my body more supple and ready to lift something very heavy.

What is the ideal approach to working out? My personal theory is make it insanely minimal. That is a kind of a powerlifting approach to things, or one repetition maximum approach to things.

That is, the purpose isn’t actually working out, rather, it is to build your strength and courage. The only measure of worthiness when it comes to the gym is how much of a certain weight you could lift, once, successfully.

For example, if there’s only one workout you could do for the rest of your life it would definitely be the deadlift. It is the most basic and primal; imagine finding a super super massive and heavy rock on the ground; can you simply pick it up and move it around and throw it around? Thus the inception of my rock toss work out concept.

Therefore my simple simple suggestion: only go to the gym once a week, and for that time, your only focus is attempting a new one rep max for your deadlift. If your gym has it, use a trap bar, or a hex bar. Why? It is more natural, you have a superior leverage, and you can lift heavier weights. Or, if your gym doesn’t have a hex bar or a trap bar, I suggest doing deadlifts with a sumo style, which also affords you superior leverages. Even one thing I’m thinking about, after witnessing Hafthor deadlift 501 kg, is do your deadlifts with with figure 8 straps with the natural neutral grip, so you don’t need to do the mixed grip. My new theory is that when you have to do a mixed grip, that is one hand under and one hand over, it reduces the range of motion in your hips.

When I go back to the states, hopefully I could find another trap or open hex bar, and continue to augment my deadlift. When I was last in Phnom Penh Cambodia, I was able to deadlift 551 pounds at around 160 pounds body weight.


The real way to live like a billionaire

The funny thing is I think a lot of people want to become billionaires so they could just buy a bunch of stuff. However, what people do not understand is the hidden cost of things; the fear and the anxiety, the management of it, the storage of it, having to maintain it, charge it, keep it clean, etc. The more things you own, the more things own you.

For example, devices. It seems that the ideal is to just own every single Apple device. However, having to charge all of your devices, wipe the screens to keep it clean, etc. is a huge pain in the ass.

Also, with cars and automobiles, the huge pain in the ass of maintenance. For example, let us say that your own a Rolls-Royce or Lamborghini — you still have to do regular oil changes, and the problems will arise with any gasoline car. Issues with the engine, the timing belt, etc. Oil leaks. Even if you were a trillionaire and hired all of these other people to manage it, you still need to manage the managers. This is a huge pain in the butt.

Even if you had an army of maids, housekeepers, nannies, etc. The stress and the annoyance of having to properly manage all these people. That is why in ancient Greek, economics literally just means management of the home, a.k.a. all of your slaves, servants, and the dozens of people who maintain your home. but even in ancient Greek times, the paranoia or the annoyance or the thought that your servants are stealing your stuff, or being lazy and slacking off. This is why my personal ideal is just living in a very very small home, in which I could vacuum and clean the whole place easily. Or one of the upsides of living in a hotel, having the staff being able to clean your room and change your towels every single day.

I hate signing leases

One of the things I hate with a passion is having to sign a lease, for typically at least a year for living in a place. Why is this so annoying? What if you move in, and after the first month or two, you realize you hate the place? Too much street noise, or other small factors you did not ascertain early on when you signed the lease. That is why I would prefer living in a less good situation, assuming that I don’t need to sign a lease. For example, currently me and Cindy are residing at Cindy’s mom‘s house, and although there is lots of family multi-management annoyances, ultimately I prefer it, because I don’t feel trapped with the lease. We still pay Cindy‘s mom a small rent, around $500 a month to offset simple costs, and we can come and go as we please. For example, the joy of being able to just be in Asia for about three months, two months in Cambodia and one month in South Korea, without having to pay double rent somewhere.

Clothing

Currently the simplest and the best outfit uniform I have discovered is a simple black merino outlier.nyc T-shirt, cut one, and black Lululemon license to train shorts, ex officio black boxer briefs, Vibram 5 finger shoes no socks. Or even more simple, just walk around without a shirt on.

You could just literally wear the same outfit every day. Why is this a good idea? I think too much mental bandwidth is wasted trying to optimize your outfit. Once you find a good outfit, you could just focus on doing what is important; your creative work.

Don’t do what you are not passionate about

Too much of having to do all of this boring crap is pseudo virtue. That is, it is virtuous to check and answer your emails every single day, promptly, watch the news, stay updated with current events, politics, etc. However, this is a slave mentality. A superior mode of conduct is living with an empty and zen mind, and instead allowing your mind to think more creative thoughts, philosophical thoughts, turbo thoughts, etc.

For example, a simple way I have been able to be more creative and think more creatively is to just go on walks around the block or on simple mountain trails, just with my iPad, and using voice dictation to jot up my thoughts. The more I think about it, I think an iPhone and the Internet is actually bad for creativity. That is, when you are constantly hooked to the Internet, you wonder less. For example, rather than wondering the origin of things, you just Google it. Whenever you’re curious about something, to Google it is actually bad for your creativity. Better to think and meander on the thought for a while, and simply jot out your thoughts and theories. In fact, I think iPad is best served without a cellular plan, so when you go out, do all your creative work off the grid, and then when you go back home, connect to your home Wi-Fi and then publish your things. You could do this with Your writing, videos, vlogs, etc.

In fact, what point in my life was I the most concentrated, focused, and undistracted? Living in Vietnam for two years without a phone. Only an iPad.

If you need a phone, just get an iPhone SE. iPhone Pro is for suckers.

Another pragmatic thought I have is this: when you travel abroad, don’t buy a local Sim card or get an international data plan. Allow yourself to be a little bit less comfortable, and just use Wi-Fi whenever you have access to it. The best modern privilege now is actually being in situations in which you are not constantly connected to the Internet. The new elitism is being able to go off the grid for weeks at a time, with no stresses concerns or worries. For example, if Mark Zuckerberg wanted to, could he just be able to go out into a mountain cabin for a month, without a phone or an Internet connection? I think not. He is now a slave to his company. And so is every single technology CEO of a publicly traded company. I think this is why Jeff Bezos stepped down as CEO of Amazon, he probably wanted more personal freedom. The same thing goes with Larry page and Sergey Brin, they wanted to be able to not be so responsible.

Everyone wants to be Elon Musk, but do you really? I do not. I would hate all of the personal stress worries and duties he has. I prefer my more tech zen monk lifestyle instead. Also, if I were Elon musk, I probably would not be able to simply go to the gym and dead lift whenever I wanted, and also, certainly I would not be able to spend so much great time with my son.

In fact, a bizarre American notion of success is having a job which makes a lot of money, and using that money to have somebody else take care of your kids. To me this is very bizarre; if in fact, your child is your pride and glory, and you see your child as a new manifestation of you, a better you, you 2.0, don’t you want to be the personal tutor and teacher of your child? I do.


Why the Spartans were so minimal

Whenever I think of the movie 300 by Zack Snyder, and all of the heroic Spartans, waging in battle without a shirt on, simply with a leather speedo, sandals, a bronze helmet, and a crimson cape, I find this to be the apex of manliness. Why? Ultimate freedom, strength and pride.

I think in today’s world, you can also adopt this neo, new Spartan 2.0 lifestyle. That is, living an ascetic existence, focused on strengthening yourself, and training, just like a spartan, simply in the year 2022 and beyond.

Can you become a neo(new) Spartan in the year 2022? I think so. The first step is to become self-employed, a sole proprietor. Also no employees. The downside of having employees is that you have more people to manage. Also the irony of having a manager, you still need to manage your manager. That is more chinks in the chain. The ideal instead is to simply 100% manage yourself, and do everything yourself. This way you could become the natural filter of things.

Second, money is best used as a tool to not have to go to a 9-5 job. Money is best when liquid and cash, better to have $500,000 in the bank instead of driving around a Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce. Because at the end of the day, no matter how good your car is, it is still a box with wheels. And in fact if you are the true elite, you don’t even need a car or desire a car to go anywhere. Rather you could just Uber everywhere, which gives you more freedom to think, blog, vlog, review your photos, etc.

For example, instead of having to commute an hour somewhere yourself by driving, wouldn’t it be superior to have a personal driver, and you can simply chill out in the backseat, and review your photos on your iPad, maybe blog from your phone? I think so.

Also the upside of having a private driver, or an Uber driver or a taxi driver instead of an autonomous car, even if you had the best Tesla auto pilot feature, I would still probably have more faith having someone else drive me, rather than me managing it. Also, the freedom of being able to just take a nap in the car while someone else drives around. I would never nap in a car, even in the worlds best Tesla and auto pilot. Now that I have a son and a wife, any thing that even risks my life a little more is not worth it. Therefore, no more fast cars or bungee jumping for me. If I need a real adrenaline kick, powerlifting and hypelifting at the gym.

For myself, I still love cars conceptually, and automotive design, mostly from a design philosophy and aesthetic perspective of things. However, I would prefer to be the guy who deadlifts 600 pounds at the gym, instead of the guy who drives the Lamborghini Aventador with this scissor doors (but be a weakling and fat).

Context dependent

It seems that nowadays, especially for millennials who don’t have kids, or don’t have a religion, minimalism is a new quasi-religion. That is, being minimalist for the sake of being minimalist, instead of being minimalist from a pragmatic approach. Therefore, you must be wise and context dependent. For example, if you’re traveling with a young kid, Actually more wise to be a bit more of a hoarder, and have extra everything, because with more human beings in your life, there are more contingency factors.

So if you’re traveling with a kid, better to overpack than under pack. However if you’re traveling solo, just yourself, better to underpack than overpack.

Minimalist artistic methods

The reason why I love calligraphy so much is that it seems to be the minimum viable way to create visual images. That is, using the Zen Brush 2 app on my iPhone and iPad is the simplest manifestation of my creative spirit. I think what a lot of Westerners don’t understand about calligraphy, or abstract art is that it is not about realism; it is more about a feeling, or a “chi”— your life force energy imputed into things. That is when you create a certain image, or artwork, it is more about imputing your soul and life force energy into a thing, rather than make something rational. In fact, the best artwork is irrational.

What can we learn about art in the context of Bacchus or Dionysius? That is, a Dionysian frenzy might be the best mind state to create artwork. That is why I love the music of Kanye West so much; it is his quasi-craziness and kind of Dionysian frenzy which makes for interesting and diathambric music. For example, I love his Yeezus album, especially black skinhead song. Just go on Wikipedia and research Baccaus/Dionysus.

Minimalist photography

The best and most minimal camera is the Ricoh GR 3X. Even superior to the Ricoh GR III, because I actually prefer the 40 mm perspective when compared to the 28mm. The 40 mm lens allows for more compression, and a more natural perspective.

Also, extra small JPEG and high contrast black-and-white. Why? Black and white is more minimal than color. In fact, for myself, I consider black and white as superior creatively, because it offers you more photo opportunities. Also I like the way that black-and-white transfigures the world — the world looks different when rendered in black-and-white. You see more interesting nuanced details and textures, something which often doesn’t come out in color.
Also, think macro. Use macro mode on your Ricoh 3X digital camera to see more interesting details and things.

Minimal composition

Also, with composition, I believe the most supreme composition is the most simple. That is, if you see your photos as small thumbnails, which photos pop out the most? That is why compositions in which you are close to your subject, under expose your photos as dark as possible, and integrate simple geometric shapes are best. Don’t be an Alex Webb swallower and try to do all of these fancy layers for the sake of trying to display that you are “woke“ photographically. I actually think to try to be a Alex Webb clone is bad; better to become more minimalist and simple.

The most minimal method is often best

Simple methods, minimal methods are best. Your creative workflow with the least amount of keystrokes and steps. Remember how much Steve Jobs tried to have you access everything on the original iPod with a scrolling wheel with as few key strokes as possible.

And this is the big bad thing about the new iPadOS; they are trying to add more features and more multi tasking abilities, instead of simplifying it. The iPad is not a computer, nor should be a computer. If you want to multitask, just use a laptop. If you want to be zen focused creatively, use an iPad in full screen mode. One at a time.


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