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 loved my Rolex. I held it up to my ear to hear it tick. When I was bored in class, I'd watch the second hand's precise bursts to the next second.
But I was still the same person. No one even realized I had a Rolex-- or cared-- except for one creepy guy at a party who also had one.
That was one of many reminders in my life that you can't buy your way into being someone interesting. Even if we ooh and aah over someone's new car or gadget, our subconscious isn't fooled. Deep down we know that purchases don't define us, despite advertisers' promises.
I eventually lost my Rolex, and it didn't matter.
The one thing that defines us is what we do with our time. For a few years I was a pickup artist. The clothes or cars I bought during that time have come and gone, and no one cares about them. The same is even true of the mansion we all lived in out in Hollywood. No one cared that we lived there. But to this day, seven or eight years after I was actively trying to pick up girls, I'm still known to a lot of people as a pickup artist.
I was recently at a party with some people I hadn't seen in a while. Each one asked me about traveling. Where had I been recently? Any plans to go anywhere soon? For a couple years I traveled around the world as a nomad, and now that defines me as well.
A lot of people have the equation backwards. They do boring things so that they can have enough money to purchase what they think is extraordinary, and try to stand out that way. But it doesn't work. We all know that status symbols are just symbols, and we instinctively try to peel back that layer of a person to figure out what they're really about.
When you find out that there's nothing behind the Bentley, it's a let down. When you find out a really interesting person doesn't have a Bentley, you don't care. Material goods don't count.
That's not to say that money doesn't matter. I think money is great. It's just a question of how to spend it. You can spend it on experiences that will become a part of you, or you can spend it on Chinese made items with luxury brand names on them.
Really sorry I missed last week's post. No good excuse for it... I haven't stuck to my schedule while traveling and I lost track of what day it was.
Some big updates are coming to SETT. A new editor and a bunch of fixes should be ready within the next few days, and a new layout with a sidebar and some other cool stuff will be up within 7-10 days.
Sweet post Tynan, I think this is one of the best I've ever read (for me anyway). Thanks for reminding me of this precious principal. I especially loved this line:
"...or you can spend it on Chinese made items with luxury brand names on them."
Kick ass mate =)
I'm so glad I came across this post. I was just about to spend money on what could essentially feed me for an entire year on an over-priced gold wrist band that just so happens to tell time. I've been contemplating for a while now on whether it's a good idea or not to throw away so much money on purchasing a timepiece simply for name recognition. But this post made me realize that I shouldn't let materialistic things define me, and instead leave that to me. I'm not sure why I thought that owning a Rolex at the age 20 would be a good way to show my small independence and success, but now it's looking more like I'm trying too hard to let everyone know that.
I found this blog while I was googling Rolex submariner. I don't know what in the cosmos put in my head that I wanted to be Steve Mcqueen in some small way. I have always admired the look of a stainless bracelet scuba dial looking watch. I saw online photos of Steve wearing the Rolex submariner and learned that it's the only Rolex that he wore. I thought I would love to buy one, just like his, and put it on and never take it off. But there are problems to this plan. I have extraordinary guilt with spending that much money on myself and the Rolex logo on the watch would be embarrassing if anyone noticed it. Because is does say something about a not wealthy person, which I am, who wears one. Like for starters that they are affected, shallow and stupid and that's if the assumption is that it's fake. If it's real then the list gets longer. We can add self indulgent ass to the list. I kept researching to learn who Steve was in terms of his character. All I knew about him was his rebel hero persona that one sees in his movies. I found out alot of gross stuff. He was a mysoginist with some very sociopathic tendencies. Good thing for me because that totally cured me of spending the cash, that I was seriously preparing to do, on something that would embarrass me if anyone noticed it. Another stronger reason I wanted one, was the thrill of having spent that amount of money on myself. I wanted to flaunt it privately, without anyone realizing that I had on a watch that cost as much as a good used car, but the Rolex logo kills that. So now I am left with no reason to buy the submariner. I think I'll get a Timex.
Is it better to envision an experience and try to achieve that experience, or be a yesman and take experiences as they come?
I think that it's best to have specific goals and go nuts trying to achieve them, but at the same time to accept everything that comes your way and bend it to benefit you. I'm not sure if that answers your question or not... I might be able to come up with a more interesting answer if you had a specific example.
take travelling as an example. Many suggest that the best way to travel is to not plan and enjoy whatever adventures you may come across while travelling, but would it be a more valuable experience to come up with some goals while traveling and trying to achieve those goals? Many times, accepting things that come your way can be a distraction towards your main goals. How do i know when I've found the perfect balance between creating experiences and accepting opportunities?
Love the new look & feel, Tynan. Excited to see what updates you have coming to SETT.
I agree that what people do is a better indication of who they are than what they buy. But, it's still not very good. Plenty of people do things to curate a certain image of themselves. They travel to look cultured. Or recycle to look environmentally friendly. Or protest to seem rebellious or adventurous.
To me, interesting people have interesting ideas and are fun to be around.
This is somewhat correlated with interesting experiences, but I wouldn't say interestingness is defined by those experiences.
This is a continuation of the story, How I Became a Famous Pickup Artist Part 1. If you haven't read that already, you should do so before reading this article.
Papa was notorious for being in contact with everyone in the pickup scene. I couldn't blame him, either - he was the business side of "Real Social Dynamics", a company that taught seminars and workshops to aspiring players. Not surprisingly, he was the only person at the seminar that I knew.
In order to extract every last precious second out of my experience, I had gotten on the earliest flight to Chicago that I could book. I called Papa when I arrived at the hotel at 10am. I could hardly make out his voice. He'd been out in the clubs until very late and was still sleeping.
As Leo says, it's very true that we can easily get sucked into our ideals. I think being around great people you love can help you, it certain helps me, refocus on what matters.
Being a good person.
I was reminded of this yesterday by something I wrote years ago.