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Thinking About Quality

When you travel most of the time and do it with only a small backpack, eventually all of your travel gear becomes very high quality. You buy something nice, love using it, and it retains its utility for a long time. If you buy something low quality, it breaks or frustrates you, and you end up replacing it with something high quality, which lasts.

Not everything I traveled with was of the highest quality at first, but through that process it became so. I noticed that my mindset changed as my belongings became higher quality, and that convinced me to extend that standard across the rest of my life. At this point nearly everything I use at home or while traveling is the best available.

First, a word about quality, as I often see people who have things they think are high quality, but are not. At least by my definition. Quality is derived from purity of design and from best materials.

When something is designed, I want for it to be designed to complete its function as perfectly as possible, requiring the least from me, and only then to take into account aesthetics. For example, my watch is decent looking, but not as good as other watches. However, the operation of it is a dream come true. Breitling clearly understood that a frequent traveler (they designed it for pilots) would want to be able to know the time anywhere around the world at a glance, but would also need a way to switch between time zones effortlessly. And maybe he'd need to time things.

What ideas are you buying?

On Mike Dariano

Are you familiar with this? This is fruit leather. It usually comes in a rectangular shape, a few millimeters thick and it tastes like fruit. It's made from some blend of pureed, cooked, cooled, thinned, mixed fruits. It tastes almost like a Fruit Roll Up, is probably healthier for you, but it's symbolic for a lot more than that.

Fruit leather is something that appears healthy but doesn't even register on the healthiness scale when you talk about eating apples, grapes, and pears. Watermelon and bananas would crush fruit leather in a no-hold-barred fruit battle. So why then do people buy it?

When people buy fruit leather they think they are eating healthy. But they aren't and it's not about fruit leather or health. It's about buying an idea - I know, I bought it! But I'm going to stop buying it and stop buying the ideas. Fruit leather isn't healthy, bananas are. New Ikea couches won't make me feel better, spending time with people on the couch will.

I'm going to stop buying ideas that say I need things, that say I need to read certain books, or act a certain way. I'm going to stop buying the idea that the world sucks. I'm going to stop buying the idea that fast foods are good foods. I'm going to stop buying the idea that blogs don't have high quality content. I'm going to stop buying the idea that everyone is always right. I'm going to stop buying the idea that outsourcing is bad. I'm going to stop buying the idea that kids can't do things. I'm going to stop buying the idea more is better.

What ideas are you buying?

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