I have everything I could possibly need. I have a really cool house-on-wheels, enough good food to keep me healthy and full, great friends and family, enough money to travel around a bit, computer, etc. By any reasonable definition, I have enough.
Yet I want more. The background of my computer is a Piper Malibu, a really cool six-seater airplane that has a pressurized cabin and a pretty decent range for a small plane. I'm a little bit sick of looking at it, but I told myself I was leaving it as my wallpaper until I owned one. I want it.
I get emails about this, once in a while. Aren't we supposed to be content with what we have and not desire anything? Aren't we supposed to go go go and conquer the worldd and become fabulously wealthy? Which one is it?
I've thought a lot about this, about what the optimal mindset to have is, and I've worked on adopting that mindset myself. I think that it is best to be fully content with everything you have, to really appreciate it and realize how lucky you are to have ANYTHING, yet alone everything you have, and to be fully ready for it to disappear in a moment without affecting your happiness. At the same time, I think that it's healthy to want everything, knowing that you'll have no attachment to it.
I don't think I've ever written about this before, but back when I was a professional gambler, I kept all of my money in an offshore paypal-like service. I did this because I only had to pay taxes on it when I pulled it into the US. If I kept it offshore I could use it as bankroll for gambling and grow it tax-free.
I loved making money gambling. I bought all sorts of cool stuff like my first Rolex, three Mercedes, tons of expensive clothes, and four robotic lawn mowers. I wanted more money.
One day I woke up and all of my money was gone. Six figures. The offshore service had confiscated it all and essentially made it impossible to get back. This was the first time I experienced a huge loss like this. What surprised me is that I didn't care at all. I just thought, "Oh, that's too bad. My money's gone." That night I went to dinner with my friends and didn't even mention it.
We should appreciate money and the things that it buys because by doing so we're enabled to appreciate the acheivements of our society. When I buy my plane, I will marvel at how amazing it is that humans have built flying machines, and that someone like me could actually own and control one. I'll appreciate all the places it will take me. These will be positive things in my life, so of course I will enjoy them when I have them and seek them out before I do.
At the same time, if my plane gets hit by a rocket while I'm parked somewhere, I won't really care, because there's plenty of good things in my life and in this world. I could never have so little happiness in my life that it was significantly impacted by owning or not owning a plane.
And while it's a good thing to work with visions of planes and cars and travel in your head, there has to be something else going on, too. I hope that some day SETT is successful enough that I can use my earnings from it and buy a plane. But if a spammer said, "Hey Tynan, give me all the emails of people who have signed up for your site and I will give you a plane," I would never take it. That's the sort of material lust that is bad, not just for the people being spammed, but for my own psyche.
The material possessions you collect through life will represent something. They can represent the value you brought to other people's lives (writing, SETT, working) or what you've taken from others (spam, robbery, etc.). Having reminders of the positive things is perfectly fine, but when those reminders are lost or stolen or broken, the underlying aspects of your life still remain.
Don't feel bad if you want things or experiences that you can't afford now. This is part of what has fueled expansion forever. But when you get those things, never become attached to them. They're the icing on the cake, not the cake itself.
Recently ditched the Suunto since my phone now does everything it does, and went back to Rolex. Bought the one on the right first and then got excellent deals consecutively on left and middle ones within a week, so now I have to sell the first two. Might do a post on why buying a Rolex is a pretty reasonable thing to do if there's interest. My stance on other people caring if you wear a Rolex remains the same.
You seem a lot like the Roman Stoics. If you haven't read Seneca, Marcus Aurelius or Epictetus you really should. I feel like you would get a lot out of their perspective.
I agree. I watched a documentary on this weekend over Netflix about the Buddha. Buddhist are taught to remove most desires, but as mentioned in the film even Buddhist desire enlightenment. The Dalai Lama says that desire is ok as long as it comes from a good place. Be content with what you have, enjoy what you have, and take pleasure in your dreams.
What's the name of the documentary? I'd love to watch it.
Hey Tynan, I happened upon this blog a few weeks ago and have been avidly reading all your old posts. I started living in an RV last year out of economic necessity when I lost my job. I was surprised to find that I really rather enjoy the simpler lifestyle. Even with the $8.50/hr job I am subsisting on now, the cost of living is so low that I can still save money at the end of the month, and most of my friends understand and respect the decision I made to deal with a bit of adversity. It is wonderful to find that I need far less than I thought I did to be content. But I also want more.
Where I think I differ from you is that I view the minimalist lifestyle as a place to start fresh. I don't mind living in the RV, and I am glad to have discovered that it is highly enjoyable. I have decided to never be without an RV again, just in case things go sideways again. It gives me a solid fall-back position. It forced me to learn how to rely on myself and to create a low-cost lifestyle and new income streams with which I can advance. I am confident that I could live the RV lifestyle happily for the rest of my life, but that seems to be to be another form of coasting at some point. Stagnation is the word I'd use. It is no longer the challenge it was when I started. Similarly, you strike me as a man who grows bored quickly in the absence of a challenge.
The challenge I have given myself is to create enough independent income, first, to replace my job, and second, to enable me to build a house for cash within the next three years. It doesn't need to be a big house. After living well in an RV, 1500 square feet would be a lot of room. I have never built a house in my life and know nothing about construction, but I want to learn and will have to to build my own house. As long as the challenges w pick force us to learn new things outside of our comfort zone, I think the desire for more is a good thing. For building your own house, substitute anything you want to accomplish that makes you happy. Owning plane would fit in there just fine. The idea is to expand our horizons to where we want them, not merely to obsessively accumulate inanimate things.
Before I lived in the RV I racked up idiotic expenses one after the other. I have learned the folly of that the hard way. As I go forward, the real challenge is to keep the concept of minimality ahead of extravagance, keep debt and other costs a low as possible, and to do as much for myself as possible to maximize self-sufficiency.
I am currently working in a pawnshop and repetitively are getting Rolex's in. I have always been intrigued by them and plan on having a Rolex one day and know that I would get a great deal on one, just sadly I don't have that kind of money. What I did was buy a Movado instead. A fancier watch than most 20 year old's have and didn't break the bank. I love my Movado and its simplicity. It should hold me over until my Rolex one day.
I strongly believe in ambition and always wanting more. It's what makes us who we are. I am always wanting more and working towards my goals. That being said though, I still have to be happy with what I have. Without being content then I couldn't be happy and it would show an error in my ways.
TYNAN: what should i do if i want to host my video blog on SETT? its through wordpress but i have my own domain name.
I think you are going against what you said before, when you wrote that nobody cares if you wear a Rolex.I didn´t like this post at all. Such a futile wish, to buy a plane or three Rolex. What for? Is this mininalism? I don´t think so. I admire people who talk the talk and walk the walk.
Forgive me two quotes by way of response: "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes".
"Water which is too pure has no fish".
Anyway, you can enjoy a Rolex or an airplane, and be totally indifferent to what other people think about it. FWIW the Dalai Lama rocks a two tone Rolex datejust.
Hey, sorry you didn't like the post.
I'm not trying to be Mr. Minimal 2012... I'm just trying to live a good life. In many ways I'm extremely minimalist (living in a 20' RV, owning 2 shirts and 1 pair of pants, etc), but of course in other ways I'm not. I do what I think is best. In this particular case, I'm going to wear a watch, so I may as well have one that I love, which I'll be able to sell for significantly more money than I paid for it. To me that makes sense. Maybe not to you, and that's fine.
As for the plane... I can't really understand why anyone wouldn't like that. I like flying planes, I'd like to be able to bring friends on trips with me, and I like avoiding the hassle of airports and leaving whenever I want.
Money Cash. Money Cash Hoe's. Money Cash. Money Cash Hoes.
Tynan, just as long as you have testerone in you balls you are going to want more.
I want more. Just not sure if I am willing to put in the 80-100 hour work weeks like I used to.
Ever consider translating your books into Japanese for Amazon?
Which rolex specifically did you get? I have no clue about rolexes but would love a recomendation on a specific model.
I got a 1999 stainless steel DateJust. The one on the right is a 1980 stainless steel DateJust, and the one on the right is a 1990 Air-King.
I really like the simplicity of the Air-King (and the name), but it's a 34mm case rather than the larger 36mm case of the DateJust. Totally fine, but even on small wrists like my own, the 36mm looks more substantial.
If you buy a datejust, you want to get one newer than 1978 so that it will be a "quick-set", which makes it a lot easier to change the date. A fair price for a 1978 Datejust would be somewhere around $1800, and never ones get much more expensive. I paid $2100 for my 1999, but a reasonable price is probably around $2700. However... I'd really recommend you wait around and pay significantly less than those prices. Just keep giving people lowball offers until you get the exact one you want at a great price. They appreciate over time, so your long term cost of having the Rolex will be negative.
In the late 80s they switched from plastic crystals to sapphire crystal. Sapphire is more durable but holds fingerprints more... most collectors actually prefer the plastic crystals, but if they get scratched you have to buff them out. Personal preference.
I think Stainless Steel is a cooler look, but the two tone gold/stainless ones are a better value right now. They often go for less than the SS despite the fact that they have real gold. Long term I have the feeling they'd be a better investment.
If you're serious about buying a Rolex, feel free to start a thread in the community section and I'll give you more advice and answer questions.
Assuming that you are a US citizen, you owe taxes on your worldwide income, not just when you bring it into the States. This is very well known.
Why am I posting this? Not to be a dick. When you say something that (I know) is factually untrue, it makes me question everything else you write - the stuff that's inspiring, that I'd normally accept on faith.
Not sure if this is a troll, but Ashish I believe you are wrong. Foreign Gambling winnings are considered unearned income by the Internal Revenue service (Source) and are not immediately taxable. I didn't research the repatriation of earnings. It isn't very well known as you state because what you said is not accurate.
I had a really good (and aggressive) tax attorney from NY who agreed with me that I didn't have to pay until I actually took the money out. Honestly, even if I was technically supposed to, I wouldn't have.
Regardless... don't take anything on faith. I give my best opinions and accurately report what I've done, but at the end of the day you have to do your own research and make your own opinions.
No offense taken at the comment, though... I appreciate it.
When I was in college, I bought a Rolex. In the week or so that I waited for it to come in the mail, I got really excited about the idea that I was going to have a Rolex. To me, someone who had a Rolex was a different type of person, simply because he bought a fancy watch.
The watch showed up, and it was obviously a fake. I took it to a jeweler, just in case, and he confirmed what I already knew.
But by then it was too late. In my head, I was a Rolex type of guy. So I bought another one-- a real one this time.
I recently took a voice lesson. I've been working on composition so much in my music work lately that I've let a couple of performance skills atrophy a bit. Noticing this, I signed up for voice lessons to make sure my (already limited) range and technique didn't completely wither.
I've studied music quite a bit in the past, but never with someone like this. Like myself (but not for voice), this teacher studied formally in college, learning classical and operatic technique, but has come to living the Brooklyn indie-rock musical life instead. (To anyone rolling their eyes at that, it's quite a powerful combo, the stereotypical shaggy guy in a plaid shirt who can sing a perfect Aria or identify any concerto) I've always liked this idea of learning as much as you can, then picking what's relevant to apply to your situation later. I did this in the past by spending years studying jazz saxophone with some of the best players around New York City, and later applying most of the knowledge in harmonic choices as a singer-songwriter and guitarist in an indie-rock band…not an obvious use of such skills, but it really worked well!
This voice teacher, went about things a little differently. He studied formally like I did, then after school he threw out everything he learned and tried writing/performing/recording being purposely absent-minded of what he learned. He did the opposite of every technique and every rule the conservatory world preached to him.
He then had polarizing approaches to compare to make a choice for his third act. The music he's making now is his most excellent and he supposes it's due to the fact that he's now making choices based on the best of each of the prior two situations. Pulling back some of the conservatory technique, as well as using tricks he only would've learned by purposely not following the rules.