I once visited some friends in San Francisco who had copied our idea of renting an extravagant house and splitting the cost between the pickup artists who lived there. We called ours Project Hollywood, they called theirs Project San Francisco.
We sat around their living room, bonding over stories of the perks and follies of communal living. Chores were a sore subject. Our house was always messy-- so messy that maids usually quit after cleaning up after us once. Their house was clean. How did they do it?
"Our goal is to keep our place at a nine out of ten in cleanliness."
Nine out of ten was good enough. Who else admits, even for something small like keeping their house clean, that their goal isn't perfection?
Crossfit, a popular (and amazing) fitness program, does. Coach Glassman, the founder of Crossfit, once said this, comparing Crossfit to other workout programs:
"We do what you do almost as well as you, you can't do our stuff at all, and we do what neither of us do better than you can."
A top Crossfit athlete won't win a marathon. The guy who has trained his whole life for marathon running will win it. Crossfit athletes are okay with that. If a Crossfit athlete were to compete in a weight lifting contest, he probably wouldn't win at that either. And, like the marathon, that wouldn't bother him either.
Crossfit isn't in the business of preparation. It's in the business of readiness. A Crossfit athlete is ready for anything. He may not win the marathon, but he'll probably complete it, even though he hasn't ever specifically trained for it.
You can prepare for a trip, or you can be ready to travel. The prepared traveler who goes to Costa Rica will have a snorkeling mask, two bathing suits, and sun tan lotion. He's ready for Costa Rica. He knows he's staying at a resort, so he has two suitcases full of stuff. The porters will carry it for him.
On the other hand, I'd show up to Costa Rica with a completely different set of stuff. My small backpack can't accommodate a snorkeling mask, so I'd have to borrow one. I have one Speedo, which I might have to wear even if it's still wet from the previous day's swimming. The prepared traveler's experience in Costa Rica will be slightly easier than mine.
The benefits of readiness kick in when I buy a last minute plane ticket from Costa Rica to Alaska. The warm clothes I pack may have been useless in Costa Rica, but they keep me warm in Alaska. Not as warm as people who packed big down sleeping-bag jackets, but warm enough. A nine out of ten.
I base my whole life around readiness. I'm not a master of any language other than English (and even that could be debated), but I can get by in three or four others. I'm not a master chef, but I can cook a pretty good meal out of just about anything. I probably couldn't get a job as a programmer, but if I need a program or web site written, I can do it myself.
Embracing readiness is accepting that life is chaotic and random. The more things you're ready for, the more opportunities you can take and the more you can squeeze out of life. Readiness grants you resilience, and the ability to operate off the beaten path, whether you got there by choice or by accident. By adopting a goal of readiness, you become best prepared for life.
Tynan, this is a fantastic post. This put into words something I've been trying unsuccessfully to explain to my friends and family for quite some time about my chosen mode and method of living.
As a big "crossfit" guy, some will tell you you're a "jack of all trades and a master of none". Funny how some people don't see it. It's something to be experienced and be. -Nathan
It's really an impressive posting. I liked it & think that it will be helpful for others. Keep up the good work. Good luck.
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
Robert A Heinlein
I've read all your posts so far and I'd ike to thank you for inspiring me with your interesting life.
In "Movie Teater Mischief", you said something about building a flamethrower. You mentioned that you "skiied with sneakers on ice behind a car" in "How to Have an Interesting Life" .I was wondering if you can write more about these and other adventures.
Finally, a personal development/PUA blog not dissing on Crossfit (I'm a Crossfitter).
Thanks for this post, it makes me feel better about myself. I'm sometimes hard on myself for not being AMAZING at any one specific thing, but being able to do a dozen things decently.
A great philosopher said: "If ya stay ready you ain't ever got to get ready".
To be ready is to accept life for what it is---wild and wonderful.
Having the mindset of "I stubbornly live the life I choose but I am ready and open to all of the wonderful twists and turns that life brings" makes life a beautiful game.
Tynan, in your life, it seems as though everything you do is designed to enjoy the experience but also to prepare for anything that may come your way. This is what, I think, makes your site so valuable.
One night, while in the RV working on SETT, Todd suggested a trip to Alaska. I said I'd be interested in it, forgetting that in our group of friends, this low level of commitment basically always results in a trip happening. A couple weeks later I bought a really decked out 2001 KLR 650 motorcycle specifically to drive from San Francisco to Alaska, bought a knife, and stopped shaving my beard. That was about all I could think of doing to prepare for the trip.
Our departure date came a month later, and five of us met in downtown San Francisco with our bikes ready to go. Without much fanfare, we headed North, towards Canada.
By the time we stopped for gas for the first time, I had decided to turn back. At the high speeds we prefer to travel at, my bike was a little bit wobbly, probably due to the knobby tires and panniers. This could be fixed with a $100 fork brace, but there was nowhere to buy one and no time to ship it. Beyond that, though, I realized that I don't really enjoy long distance motorcycle trips. You can't talk to anyone, your seat is about as comfortable as a bar stool, you can't have snacks or water, and you can't change the music or podcasts on your ipod. Besides that, I wasn't feeling great about the sharply reduced hours that I'd be able to work on SETT. So I turned back.
Initially after turning back, I didn't plan on going to Alaska at all, but I had already bought my return ticket from Anchorage, so the cost of flying up for a few days was cut in half. I called around a couple motorcycle rental shops, and Nancy from Alaska Motorcycle Adventures offered me a great deal on a BMW, along with a really great route that she suggested. I bought my one-way plane ticket minutes later.
We get two questions when we tell folks that we've sold our house and we're moving to Costa Rica...
"Why are you doing that?"
"Are you going to be on House Hunters International?"