Yesterday there was a story about me, my RV, and my friends on the front page of the SF Chronicle site. The article was really nicely written and very positive about the whole RV thing. Hundreds of comments were left on the post, and 95% of them were negative. The negativity was absolutely astounding. I could hardly believe how many people spent the time to sign up and leave vitriolic comments.
Amongst the criticisms and rants that I thought were pretty unfounded, one was hard to argue with: this guy is a narcissist!
Although I think it's important to be emotionally unaffected by baseless negativity, that doesn't automatically mean that all negative comments are baseless. I mean, they do have a point: I wear a silver necklace with my name on it. So I'm a narcissist. I like to think that I'm not a really bad narcissist, but maybe that's like an alcoholic pointing out that he's not the biggest alcoholic on the planet .
As a blogger I think that it's important to write about failures as well as successes, high points as well as low points. Maybe in this spectrum there's also room for things that I'm unsure of, like narcissism.
I really do think very highly of myself. It would be more politically correct to water that down, but that would make the statement less truthful. I've set a bunch of goals in my life and reached most of them. I've set fairly strict principles to live by, and I've stuck with them. While many people don't resonate with my work, I've heard firsthand from tons of people that I've made their lives better, too. All of that makes me really happy and boosts my self image.
At the same time, I've made plenty of mistakes and have plenty of flaws. So I don't think I'm perfect, I don't think I'm better than everyone else, but I do think that I'm pretty damn good, and moving in a good direction. In short, I'm really proud of myself. Proud enough to wear a necklace with my name on it.
And I wonder if that's a bad thing or not. If I believed that it was a bad thing, I'd do my best to work on the habit and remove it. It's ingrained enough that it would be a challenge, but I've tackled harder traits. I can see that it rubs people the wrong way sometimes, most obviously random people on the internet that I don't know. But maybe it also rubs people the wrong way in real life, and they're just too polite to say anything.
On the other hand, there are at least some good aspects to whatever form of narcissist I am. Being proud of myself helps keep me in a very positive mood all the time. I am my own cheerleader, and I keep myself motivated by thinking about past successes and planning for future ones. I have little to no insecurity.
Sometimes the best way to evaluate these things is to think about how it would look on other people. I have to admit that if I were to see anyone else wear so many things with their name on it, I would probably think that it was weird. On the other hand, I think that pretty much every person I know ought to be a little more outwardly proud of themselves. It's easy to take things too far, and maybe I do sometimes, but I always enjoy seeing people who have a lot of pride.
To me the distinction comes down to relativity. There are people who think that they're better than everyone else, and that sort of arrogance is obnoxious. On the other hand, there are people who think that they're great, but they think that a lot of other people are great, too. It's hard for me to objectively believe that that's a bad thing. After reading all those comments, I wonder if a blanket prescription of more positivity in general, towards ourselves and others, isn't the exact thing we need.
So until I'm proved otherwise, I'll continue to allow myself to have a high self image, even if that means I'm considered to be a narcissist. I'll also continue to enjoy it when other people are in the same boat.
I have no idea if this post is of any value or interest, but one thing I've learned from my daily writing is that often times when I'm very motivated to write something, it tends to be more interesting than I expect.
Photo is a crazy statue here in SF
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt, Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic"
I suspect most people today have an incorrect view of narcissism. Narcissism is not grandiosity or thinking that you're great, it's caring more about your image than about reality. Because of this, the false image you have of yourself, your ego, protects you from seeing things that would cause you to change how you act. In fact, even the idea of narcissism as grandiosity and pride in yourself is often a defence against change.The article seems to be generally positive. Perhaps people's rage is partially at their powerlessness to "solve the problem" of expensive housing in San Francisco, but they can't admit that so that rage gets thrown onto another target, in this case, you.
Yep, you're right. I should have looked up the definition before writing the post. I care very little about my image, and very much about reality.
At the same time, I doubt the people in those comments are using the correct definition, either. I think the word has taken on a similar but milder meaning in common speech.
these people most likely do nothing with their life. I also think I am pretty awesome. Next week im away to orlando to do a bungee ball and zipline over alligators then to sarasota for a man vs food hotwings challenge. All of these things make me more awesome than people who do nothing with their lives.
Keep being awesome also!
Warning: You're likely going to perceive this to be another one of those rather negative comments. Nevertheless, I do hope you take the time to read it.
Since, by the nature of the article, you were kind enough to share a part of your life with me - allow me to share part of my life with you.
A technology colleague and friend shared the SFGate article with me today. I read the article and laughed. Not because I thought it was particularly funny but because I felt it was rather ironic.
Let me explain.
I'm a user interface engineer and entrepreneur here in the Philadelphia area. Like you, I work for one of the largest tech companies in the world: Oracle. And, I've worked for some other high profile companies in the past, as well.
I've been in the internet business since 1995; about 18 years. Before that, my hobby (some would call it a "labor of love") was computers and bulletin board systems (I'm sure you know what they are). I had been programming since I was five years old and got online when I was about nine. I loved what I was doing and, in my 20s, landed a job as a web developer and designer at a local dot-com start-up.
During the so-called "dot-com boom" I rode a wave of success, luxury and excitement that included company paid trips all over the country, more money than all of my friends, fancy apartments, multiple (even simultaneous) girlfriends, and a nearly unlimited supply of drugs and alcohol.
Then the "dot-com bust" happened. I lost everything and, eventually, became homeless. I was unemployable and severely depressed. My family was extremely worried and didn't know how to help. I attempted suicide.
Roughly three years after the "the bust" and in a moment of desperation, I checked myself into rehab. Once I got out, some kind folks in the program invited me to live with them in a recovery home. Since then, I've remained sober from both drugs and alcohol. It's been ten years and, to this day, I continue to see a therapist on a regular basis - often once a week.
But, the story doesn't end there.
You see, though I was sober, I wasn't well. I was still depressed and fearful and angry and, yes, even narcissistic. Despite that, I committed myself to rebuilding my life (which includes a career). And, it was very difficult. For the first time, I was being honest and navigating the world without the safety net of family (some of whom were enablers), friends (all of whom were enablers) and money (the biggest enabler of all).
I attended AA and therapy meetings all over the Philly area - even the really "bad" parts. And, through them, I was able to meet people of all stripes I would never have met before. Rich, poor, black, white, CEOs, convicted murderers, priests and more. Needless to say, it was a real microcosm of the world and reality at large.
Back to your article, when I read this: "And then there's the way it makes my life more efficient, more thoughtful." ... is when I laughed.
About a year into my recovery from drugs and alcohol, I was able to find some temporary work at a large bank doing some wireframes and design. The money wasn't great, but I was grateful at the opportunity to get back into what I had initially loved so much. During my time there, I worked my ass off - often 12 hour days. I ended up working with this young woman there on several projects. She was very intelligent and very attractive.
After several months of working there and toward the end of my contract, she took me aside privately and told me something I'll never forget - that she was "proud" to have worked with me. I didn't know what to say. I squeaked out a "thank you".
Then, I went into the bathroom and cried for about 20 minutes.
You see, I'd never had anyone say anything like that to me in that way. Sure, your parents and friends might say things like that - they have to. They're your parents and friends ... the people who are being "too polite" to say anything negative.
She didn't have to say anything. The contract I was working was over. I was leaving. We'd probably never see or work with each other again. And, even if we would have, it would have been just as easy to say, "Thanks. It's been great. Good luck!" That would have been fine.
Either way, it's one thing to have pride in yourself. It's quite another thing when others have pride in you... especially when you really don't feel you deserve it.
About a year later, I was working a fairly menial job scanning documents into an archive for an accounting firm. It wasn't glamorous but it paid the bills and I was still rebuilding my resume. I had scraped enough money together to rent an apartment in a decent enough section of Philly.
One night, I had left my home to go to an AA meeting. A couple of hours later I received a call on my cell phone - it was my landlord. I had accidentally left a candle burning. It had caught the carpet on fire and, in an instant, everything I had was gone. Everything. I, literally, had only the clothes on my back.
I should note that, because of therapy and reasons I won't mention here, I was estranged from my father. My mother works in retail and lives in a one bedroom apartment with her boyfriend. So, there would be no help from my parents.
Like I said before - no safety net.
I ended up living in a Red Cross shelter for a month. I lived with indigent families and poor single mothers with little kids. The mentally ill and the chronically homeless. I was lucky, though. I still had my job. But, it was barely enough to afford basic living expenses... let alone first and last month's rent and a security deposit.
Word got out at work that I had lost everything. That week, my manager there presented me with a card containing $308 she had collected from my coworkers.
Again, into the bathroom I went to cry.
With that, and with some help from a local Jewish Family and Children Services, I had the money I needed to get another apartment and start to rebuild... again.
Fast forward about 8 years. Today, I now live in a small cottage about 50 yards from a river. I own a car and a Harley Davidson. I have a 50" flat screen, cable and FiOS internet. I have health insurance, dental insurance and vision. I have nice furniture and utensils and ceramic dishes. I even have a plethora of herbs and spices in which to cook with (another one of my pleasures). I'm going to Harvard University to finish my degree.
I have friends ... most of whom are making a sincere effort to be a better and healthier person than they were the day before. I have a cat. Her name is Kelly. She's all black with a white belly and chest. She's my best buddy and we've been together for 7 years now.
I live an ... abundant ... life.
So... what's the point of all this?
Well, the point is this: it's okay to be proud. It's okay to live an abundant life as long as one appreciates it.
It's okay to have an ordinate amount of self-esteem and self-worth - the key word being "ordinate".
But, it's not okay to be a narcissist. Indeed, narcissistic personality disorder - something I'm intimately familiar with - is a real mental illness.
And, mental illness isn't something that can be treated from within - it requires therapy, sometimes medication and a sincere, genuine desire to do the work to get well.
In the post above you said, "I think that pretty much every person I know ought to be a little more outwardly proud of themselves."
You know what they say... right? If you think everyone else is wrong (or, perhaps in your case, 95% of everyone) and you think you're right... perhaps you should think again.
Maybe, just maybe, everyone else is fine where they're at and it's you who should be a little less proud.
It seems to me, instead of reflecting on the response to the SFGate article, you're adopting a position that basically amounts to a very articulate, intelligent and well written, "Fuck you ... You're just jealous!"
And, true enough, some of those anonymous internet people may very well just be jealous. For my part, I'm not. I do, however, understand you. And, I pity you.
I don't mean that as an insult. Seriously. What I mean is, I think it's sad that you work at Google as a software engineer - one of the most successful companies in the history of companies. You live in one of the wealthiest - if not THE wealthiest - parts of the world. Yet, you choose to deny yourself life's abundance... for... what?
"Efficiency and thoughtfulness"?
Perhaps you are, indeed, being efficient. I know, when I lived in that Red Cross shelter, I had to be very efficient; where I spent my money, things I purchased, food, transportation... even my time (the doors to the shelter locked promptly at 10pm... it was in a bad neighborhood. If you weren't in by 10 you were out on the street.).
But, I was efficient because I had to be - not because I was indulging any ideology or principal.
So, is what you're doing really "efficient"? Or is it just self-imposed financial anorexia?
Perhaps you are, indeed, being thoughtful. I don't know how much you make per year. But, if you're like me, you probably make well over the national median household income with the potential to make hundreds of thousands of dollar a year - maybe even millions.
To those living at or near the level of poverty, to the 25% of Americans who are so-called "food insecure", and to those of us who are intimately familiar with those things in one way or another ... well, they'd probably kill to be in your position.
Yet, somehow, you believe that sitting on a golden ticket and, essentially, refusing to cash it in is some sort of virtue.
Is that "thoughtful"? Or, is it just the arrogance born of your admitted narcissism and, perhaps, an exaggerated sense of self worth?
Either way, I see nothing particularly virtuous about it.
The last part of this post deals with your narcissism. But, unfortunately, it basically amounts to little more than "Well, if I'm a narcissist... I'm going to be the best narcissist I can be!"
I started this comment talking about irony ... and that, my friend ... is the epitome of irony.
It's not for me to determine if you have a problem. It really isn't. I think you do. But, ultimately, only you can decide if you really do. A few visits to a therapist will help you decide for sure and I invite you to seek one out.
There's also something called Debtors Anonymous. I've been to a number of their meetings and found them helpful. Many of the people there had the same story as you and your friends in the article. I invite you to check them out, as well.
In any case, I congratulate you on your successes and I wish for you many more.
Of course, how those successes manifest themselves, as always, is entirely up to you.Good luck.
Thanks for the comment. A few thoughts:
I don't work for Google. I have a startup that I've been working on for 3 years, nearly every single day, seven days a week. The startup is called SETT, and we build this blogging platform. We make a little bit of money now, but none of it goes to me.
I make a small amount of money from a few books I've written, Amazon commissions, and playing poker. Living in the RV helps me keep my costs low enough to live off that small amount of money while I program all day.
So for me it's very efficient. It allows me to live off my limited income and spend time doing work that I think is important. It limits the amount of time and money I have to spend on upkeep. As you can probably tell, one of my hobbies is doing little projects (like installing the tin ceiling, gold leafing, making the table, etc), and having a small living space makes those sorts of things practical.
Living in an RV isn't a particular source of pride for me. I love it, but I don't think it's especially virtuous. If anything I'm proud that my living in an RV has inspired dozens of others to do it. Many of them have reached out to let me know that I was a big influence and that they love living in their RVs, so that makes me feel good.
I don't put much stock in the idea that if you think everyone else is wrong, but you're right, that you're wrong. I think that's how new ideas are formed and how change happens. Statistically speaking, America isn't a very happy or fulfilled place. Maybe if people felt better about themselves and took more pride in what they've been able to do, they WOULD be happier.
So, I don't think I'm without fault, but I'm proud of myself. I've made good decisions overall, I have great friendships and relationships with my family members, and I've had some positive impact on people outside of my circle of friends. I owe a lot of that to my family, friends, and other people who have influenced me, and I have a lot more to do, but at the end of the day I'm still proud of what I've done so far. If some people want to call that narcissism, I can live with that.
I think that might be part of the problem, Tynan. Your willingness to live with it.
I've had an opportunity to take a brief look at your blog and, true enough, you have a lot of friends - most of whom are very happy to support you, And,I think that's great.
Though many, if not most, of the comments remind me of when my drug and drinking buddies used to tell me, "Nah. You don't have a problem!"
That was before I blacked out on I-76 doing 110MPH drunk as a skunk.
I've noticed you've taken some trips to Japan and done some remarkable things. I admire that. I really do.
But, most sane, sober people take a different approach to life. Most follow Maslow's hierarchy where things like shelter come before more prestigious things like trips to Japan and poker. An RV, at least in the most reasonable sense, doesn't really qualify as "shelter". To some, myself included, it looks like you're doing things backwards.
It's kinda like the compulsive gambler who comes to a casino wearing a big, giant Rolex, gold chains, $1000 Bruno Magli's and a huge wad of cash... yet can't afford to pay his rent, gets into fights with his wife over bills and resorts to shady ventures to make ends meet.
You say you can't afford the rent for a regular abode where you live.
But, you can travel to Japan and Massachusetts and other seemingly prestigious places. You can eat out at Chipotle and other nice places, I'm sure. And, at the end of the day and according to the article, the RV thing is illegal.
If you replace the people, places and things... how is that any different than Mr. Magli?
Again, I'm just asking the questions. I am, after all, just some anonymous internet person. For the record, I never said that you were wrong. I said I thought you had a problem and might benefit from some therapy... that you might want to "think again".
I'll end with this: You say you're proud that your RV living has inspired dozens of others. One of those you apparently inspired was a young lady who, in the SFGate article, had this to say: "You feel very productive all the time because you're so present. You feel a little bit, like, superior."
You feel... superior.
If that's what you're proud you inspired, perhaps you might want to look at that pride. At the very least, perhaps you can see why so many people responded so negatively.
If you're unwilling to take the risk of honestly and objectively looking at yourself without the safety net of family, friends and work... then I question whether or not you truly have "little to no insecurity".
Anyway, again, good luck. It's late here and, like you, I do have a job.... not mention an early morning dentist appointment.
I hate the dentist.
I really enjoyed reading this, and I'd like to speak to a small part of it. I'm not speaking on behalf of Tynan at all, I'm speaking on behalf of myself.
I'd like to speak to the concept of financially being able to afford "abundance" and choosing to still live small. I think abundance is something that a person defines for themselves. What's abundant to you may seem like nothing to others, or it may seem like too much. I have never been in your position of losing absolutely everything, so I don't have that perspective. But I do understand where you're coming from, how watching someone who has the opportunity to live in a way you would like to live, but isn't, can feel like a slap in the face.
I determined a long time ago that I would like to live in the smallest possible space that I can comfortably live in. I came to this decision after living with someone, then living on my own, and accepting the fact that I am not good at organizing, and I'm a terrible housekeeper. When I allowed myself to purchase all of the things I wanted to own, I had nowhere to put them, no concept of how to sort through it all so that it had a place, and no discipline to keep it in order after the odd days I felt the urge to clean and organize and managed to get everything out of the way. When I finally realized that this could potentially be a problem my entire life, despite my best efforts to learn how to be a good housekeeper like most adults seem to be, I decided to instead look for ways to work around the issue. At the time, I lived in a one bedroom apartment. I had a grand total of two rooms to take care of, plus a small kitchen and a bathroom. Just thinking of living in anything larger caused me anxiety. If I couldn't keep two rooms clean, how could I possibly keep an entire HOUSE clean? I knew right then and there that I didn't want to live in anything larger than that ever again, and that I wanted to get rid of as much stuff as possible so that the only things I had to pick up and organize were the things I actually used on a regular basis.
That's when I started looking into small living, the tiny house movement, minimalism, etc. I've lived out of my car a few times just to test the boundaries of how small is too small for me. I never saw it as denying myself abundance to be more virtuous. It was a way for me to learn the best way for me to live, in a way that keeps me sane and able to focus on the other things in my life without extraneous mental clutter. During one of these stints of car living, I was dating someone who had a similar mentality to you. His theory was that I denied myself abundance because I felt I didn't deserve it. He aspired to live in a house the size of a castle. But when he told me that, all I could think of was, "Christ, I sure as shit don't want to vacuum that house." The mental relief of having to worry about as little upkeep as possible is what makes small living a more appealing choice for me. It truly helped me determine what I actually want to spend my money on. Even if I did land a job that paid me enough to own a large house with a huge flat screen, I wouldn't want it. It would be more important to me to spend that money on going places, having experiences, and not amassing stuff I'm too overwhelmed to keep presentable.
As I said, I can certainly understand your feelings about living minimally and why it doesn't appeal to you. But I hope that my story might shed some light on why others might choose it. Again, I am speaking only for myself.
Thanks for the reply. Though, I think you misunderstand the point I was trying to make when I told my story. I'm at work so I'll be brief. I wasn't suggesting that anyone should live the way I live or that I believe they should live a certain way. In fact, after years of trying, I've given up trying to direct the lives of others.
Nor was I trying to compare lives or the vices and virtues of living minimally, luxuriously or ostentatiously.
What I was trying to coax out of the conversation was the why... not the what.
The claimed "why" reason was to be more "efficient" and "thoughtful".
And, the article states, "[Armoires are] a symbol of what's wrong in the world, if you ask me."
I own an armoire that I purchased at Target for $80. It's made out of attractive, cherry stained wood and glass. I keep my bath towels in there and enjoy it very much. So it provides both an aesthetic (the stained wood and glass) and "efficient" (organizing towels) quality.
I worked hard for the money to purchase it. And, I also assembled it (took my the better part of a weekend). Is hard work and gleaning genuine pleasure from something really a "symbol of what's wrong with the world"?
Is conflating an armoire with such things as global tyranny really being "thoughtful"?
Then, there was this from a PhD candidate and one of the inspired RV cohorts - a Ms. Grace Zamora: "You feel a little bit, like, superior."
Feeling "superior" would also be a "why" reason. And, if inspiring others is a source of pride in this particular movement then it stands to reason that the culture of superiority is part of that pride.
I think we both agree that - whether you wear a Rolex or vacation in other countries - there's no moral superiority in how honest success manifests itself. But, despite the claims of thoughtfulness, there really is no honest attempt at deep thinking in the article ... for example, that an armoire or house may represent something different to people who have nothing.
Anyway, I've rambled on. I'll leave with this: I'm not sure how bad your clutter problem is but mine is very bad. During my depression, I was an extensive hoarder which included such things as garbage, swarms of fruit flies and maggots. I now have house keepers that come every two weeks.
It took awhile to get over the shame that was transmitted by others (e.g., "You must be lazy or spoiled."). But, eventually, I did get over it... rejected other's opinions... and hired house keepers. Now, I employ two people paying them about three times the minimum wage and my home is completely spotless year round.
Let me tell you.... best... investment... ever!
I can relate to this.
I'm not wealthy yet, so maybe things will change once I get to that point, but for me financial wealth was always about having options, as opposed to having the luxury lifestyle itself (although the lifestyle I want includes a lot of travelling so it would probably be considered luxurious by many people).
It seems more important to me to have a choice of either staying in a cheap campsite or a posh hotel while travelling than to actually stay in that hotel.
Honestly, things that cost more money are not always better, at least in my eyes. I was working at a very posh restaurant once (3 Michelin stars I think). I wasn't impressed with food there at all. Sure, it's not bad, but honestly I'd prefer McDonald's over many of the dishes there. It's not that I feel like I don't deserve good food, it's just my taste is rather simple, and posh food doesn't do it for me. I think once I'm wealthy I will still prefer McDonald's over Michelin awarded food (although I'd like to end my relationship with McDonald's sometime for health reasons). It's like this with a lot of things,people can honestly prefer cheaper things over more expensive things, apartments/houses included, not because they feel like they don't deserve expensive things but because they just like cheaper options more.
I don't have a desire to live in a big villa myself. Sure, it looks nice from the first glance, but when you think about it.. I'd then have to take care of the cleaning of a massive space (some people hire housekeepers but I don't want strangers going through my things, that's a quirk of mine), upkeep the yard, sort out the security, etc. That sounds like a headache that I don't want. Plus, I'm not planning to have a lot of kids, so if it's 3 or 4 people living in a massive house, it would feel a bit weird to me. A really nice apartment in a good location in a city I like? Yes, please. Villa? Maybe I'll pass. These are just personal preferences.
Also, maybe that's just an inaccurate impression I got from the media, but Americans seem obsessed with huge living spaces. I keep hearing people saying things "When I was just out of college, I was living in a tiny one bedroom apartment.." as if that's a negative thing. I always wonder what kind of apartment do you need as a single 20-something, then? Many young people in London would feel like they are living "the life" if they would have their own one bedroom apartment. House sizes that I see in American TV shows surprise me even more. Why do you need a house size of a small castle when it's only two adults and one kid? I think the perception of how much space one needs are affected by the culture one grew up in to a large extent.
I think it's important to understand that different people have different preferences. Would I want to live in an RV? No, I probably wouldn't feel safe here, and safety is important to me. Yet, I understand that people have different preferences, so if they are happy being homeless (I have met people who are homeless by choice and seem very happy), or living in an RV, or having a villa, and they are not hurting anyone else in the process (say, happy with homelessness is fine by me when you are single, but not when you make your kids homeless too), then who am I to judge? Some people prefer burgers, some prefer pizza, and some prefer Greek salads, who cares?
Those comments on the article about you have served to confirm a suspicion I have had about SF for some time, that they are all a bunch of hypocrites. SF seems to have become all about let them live in freedom so long as they live like me.
The fact that so many of the commenters were unable to get past the necklace with your name on it indicates to me that they are the ones who are superficial and narcissistic.
So you think highly of yourself and are proud of your accomplishments such as they are, would they have us all browbeat ourselves for our triumphs instead? People in SF must be absolutely miserable. Never once in reading you blog have I gotten even the vaguest impression that you thought yourself superior to anyone else, merely that you had found some better options to try.
Seldom have I seen such display of people propping themselves up by putting other people down.
I know you like SF, but if I were you, I'd start looking for someplace else. You are confronting a problem, coming up with a way to deal with it that costs the taxpayers nothing. You are not demanding a "program" or a check from the government, but are creating your own wealth and income, and all these people can see is that you are homeless. These people all seem to want you to be beholden to the state for your shelter the way they are for their property taxes. That city doesn't deserve you.
One last observation/thought. It has been made abundantly clear that most so-called normal people make no distinction between an entrepreneur or professional living responsibly out of his/her RV, a chronic welfare cheat living in a dilapidated RV dumping his waste everywhere, and a homeless person living out of a shopping cart. They are all of a piece it seems --at least to the tolerant, open-minded, progressive, ever-compassionate people of the City by the Bay.
The fact that so many of the commenters were unable to get past the necklace with your name on it indicates to me that they are the ones who are superficial and narcissistic.
A direct hit with that one!!!
Honestly I - like most people - have first twitch gut reactions as well that are based off shallow stereotypes. I run the usual gambit of suspects that get it - Ryan Seacrest, Jersey Shore, Miley Cyrus, etc... I've dwelt on this though and upon thinking about it if I was suddenly thrust into a situation where I needed to have a 1 on 1 dinner with any of these people I might actually get to know them and like them (and maybe even respect/admire them).
I do a good amount of craigslisting and before meeting someone for the first time as a seller I usually have some negative pre-conceived notion about the person (especially if they make a huge fuss over details such as where to meet and ask all sorts of questions then try to lowball the already lowball'd price I put out). What always ends up happening though is when I actually meet the person and talk with them and walk thru their concerns I actually end up liking them and understanding where they are coming from! They usually get their lowball'd price as well even when I said I wouldn't lol. I come from the buyer end on CL more often than selling so I understand when someone is looking for a great deal since they asses the value of an item relative to their needs. If I really didn't like the price I could always hold out but the lack of bites often alludes to the 'true' market value for an item. Conversely I know an item is a great deal when the seller is inundated with offers and calls from other CL's while I'm making the transaction live.
Kinda segued in that last paragraph but to sum it up people have shallow instant reactions to alot of things because it prevents the mind from having to do any real work. Once you engage the possibility of challenging the preconceived notion formed in the mind then a different assessment often replaces the original. People often talk the talk but rarely walk the walk.
you know i love you. i am glad to see you acknowledge your narcissism. in my opinion, it's your least endearing trait and i don't think it actually serves you in the ways you think it does. in fact, i believe this is what keeps you from being truly great on a level i know you aspire to be. you have achieved successes in spite of your narcissism, not because of. your high self esteem is surely warranted and admirable, but i'd love to see you incorporate more humility and selfless service into your life. what you describe as assets of narcissism are inextricably linked to who you are, not your propensity for egotism, vanity, pride, or selfishness. xx
I follow your blog for more than a year now and I have leaned many things from you, and for that I am thankfull. I have to admit that I do not like you very much as a person, as far as that is even possible from only blog posts since I don't know you otherwise. This is because you seem to lack empathy and have a huge ego, what you call narcissism. I know a real narcissist and you do not seem like one, you just have a huge ego.
You write yourself that you know you are not perfect, and your blog shows that you're constantly working on yourself, so maybe you will change yourself when you see a reason to. In my opinion It would help you find a good partner to found a family with, so you might do it because of that. Time will tell. I wish you good luck with whatever you decide is right for you.
That's a good point about having a family. I know that for women, being a mother will bring out nurturing and caring for others like nothing else. This also is true for fathers, as well. It's interesting, in this regard, that scholars believe narcissism and homosexuality are closely related, as discussed HERE. Freud has written articles about this, I believe. According to this theory, the narcissist is so in love with his or her self, that (s)he chooses a partner of the same gender that is more like self.
The hateful posters on the Gate are for the most part frustrated and unimaginative drones stuck in a lifestyle that they accepted long ago without giving the slightest thought or effort as to how they should be living. The fact that you are living an alternative and independent existence that affords you freedoms they can not conceive of is a threat to their self image. And they obviously have no idea what narcissism means. These people are clinging to underpaid jobs and overpriced homes that could be lost at any time in today's economy and they desperately want to believe there is some kind of virtue in the sacrifices they have made. I believe that they are beginning to see that they are suckers that have been largely played by the powers that be.
Nice job on the RV, they are depressingly tacky when left stock but you turned that one around. I am adding your blog to my list of world travelers and free thinkers that I follow for inspiration and reading Life Nomadic. My wife and I are about to unload our country place (I telecommuted from here for the SF Chronicle for 8 years) and will split our time between RVing in North America and Mexico and travelling abroad. We lived in SF for 14 years until I realized I could buy a beautiful country property the size of a city block for less than the rent on a small apt in the city. I loved the city above all for the windsurfing on the coast and out of Crissy which has now transitioned into kiteboarding, if you're interested in a high energy sport that is practiced in lovely locales around the world I recommend it.
I read the article this morning and thought it was pretty cool, and mostly about Tynan. Whoever else they interviewed must have been boring or something, there was only like 1 paragraph regarding anyone else, which was fine with me. Without this post I wouldn't have ever read the comments (I didn't even know there were comments...) Given the direction of some of these replies, I figured I'd share my favorite comment from the sfgate article:
I followed the links from his blog and I discovered that Tynan has many other atrocious qualities. He has traveled all over the world in a minimalist and economical style and wrote a book on how to do it. He studied how to pickup women (you know you want to be able to do this!) and wrote another how to book on that. Also he wrote a book and a blog about RV conversion and RV living. He makes a good living writing his blogs as well as developing blogging software. He practices conscious behavior modification and self discipline to enable himself to accomplish his ever expanding personal goals. He eats Paleo style and works out and is in terrific physical condition. Worst of all he does not even have a real job or commute or take crap from anybody as he is completely independent!
Like I said he really sucks! Something needs to be done about people like this!"
My thoughts exactly...sounds terrible. hahaha. Thanks Bayrider for keeping your prof pic the same, totally brought it full circle. +1 on your opinion too, couldn't agree more. Also nice horsey.
Keep living the dream Tynan, so the rest of us can keep working towards it.
I would estimate that about 85% of comments online are negative, especially on news sites, so don't take it personal. And any traffic, is usually good traffic. I went through the comments, and it looked like there was one guy that was complaining the most....
Out of all the wierd problems they have going on in San Fran, they are going to worry about someone WORKING and living in an RV? I'm sure they wouldn't complain if SETT went public and they made alot of $$ out of it....
OK, it's confession time. I am a HUGE narcissist. I mean, obviously I think I'm the greatest, better than your boyfriend, etc. But at least that is all true beyond any doubt.
What I'm talking about today is different. I am my biggest fan. If I make a new song, I will listen to it for at least 24 hours on repeat. Often times I listen on my computer, then play it in the bathroom while I take a shower. When I'm in front of the mirror I lip sync and dance to my own music, imagining that I am performing it. Then after my shower I listen to it in the car while I drive.
Is this normal? Or at least healthy?
A few days ago, I wrote an open letter to a good friend of mine - "I Think Greatness is Something You Are, Not Something You Do" - I said to him, I'm not a great man, just a normal man working on great things. Greatness is something you do, not something you are.
To give you some background, my friend Brendon is just one of the most amazingly good people in the world. He takes care of everyone around him, his mind, body, and spirit are sharp. He's a black belt, an excellent programmer, a philosopher, a Shodan in Go (actually, even stronger than that - he's a Shodan under the Asian rankings, so probably even higher in America), a hard worker, extremely loyal, a clear and free thinker, widely read and knowledgeable, and again - an amazingly good guy. I've learned a lot from him (notably, he taught me how to play Go, sysadmin Linux, understand basketball at a very high level, improve at martial arts, improve my fitness, and other good stuff - we'd usually go drink green tea and play Go at Samurai Restaurant in Boston, go fight in the park, talk philosophy out at nightclubs, do stuff like that).
He wrote back to me about greatness and humility. I think this is a really beautiful piece, so I asked him if I could gently edit it and put it up. He graciously agreed. It's long, but go ahead and just start it and give it whatever time you have - there's a lot of amazing insight in here.
A Quick Favor Request - if you learn from this or it helps you, please send Brendon a quick email to [email protected] - he was actually a little gun-shy about having such a personal piece put up with such raw power in it. He only agreed when I told him how many people it could help - so please, drop him a short line to say thanks if this teaches you as much as it did me.
Without further ado...