There are two types of people at the poker table, generally. First there are the sharks. They stay quiet and occasionally make comments about the game that intimidate amateur players by revealing just how much they're thinking about. The second group are normal people who are there to have a good time.
Through hours of listening to the second group, I've noticed how different the things are that "normal" people think about, and people like me think about. I'll loosely define "normal" people as people whose lives are dominated by things they HAVE to do, vs. people whose lives are dominated by things they WANT to do.
I thought it might be interesting for people who haven't made the switch to independence to hear what sorts of things rattle around our minds.
Money is Time
We tend to not think of sums of money as "a boat" or "a new stereo", but rather we think about it as time. A month of time, for me, is around two or three thousand dollars. I can live well off that.
So if I have $50k saved up, maybe I count that as 20 months. I don't think about it like that because I'm going to take a 20 month vacation, but rather to evaluate risk. If I know I can float myself for 20 months, that's a long runway for me to ponder and come up with an ambitious project. If I have $5k saved up, it's time to hustle.
We Don't Like Weekends
Our week is actually reversed, with weekdays being better than weekends. On weekends everything is busy and expensive. During the week it's cheap and empty. A friend and I just went to ski in Tahoe for a couple days this week and never waited in a lift line. Our hotel was $45 a night. When we go to Tahoe for a full week, we actually use weekends to stay at home and work because the mountain is too crowded.
We can't really figure out how you stand your job
I might be more of a victim of this one than most people, but as I interact with people with normal jobs all day, I can't stop wondering how they take it. This sense of wonder is on par with wondering how Cirque du Soleil acrobats do their tricks: I see it happen so I know it's real, but I also can't even for a second empathize and imagine doing it.
On a similar note, friends' jobs are really annoying because they get in the way of them joining our adventures.
We Write a Lot
I've noticed that my independent friends, like myself, tend to write a lot, whether it's in a personal journal or on a blog. I don't know for sure why this is, but my best guess is that it's because our lives revolve around turning thoughts into action. When I'm in a tough spot I instinctively just start writing in a text file to sort things out, confident that by the end I'll come up with a plan that will be executed.
Location is Flexible
Today I'm headed to Las Vegas. Three friends from San Francisco are coming. I sent a couple texts to two other friends (developer for Bungie and a professional poker player) to see if they wanted to join, and without much discussion they agreed.
When you know that your friends have control of their own time, you invite them to stuff in random places. This sounds expensive, but it's actually pretty cheap because we can take flights on the cheapest day and at the cheapest time.
Status isn't Derived from Money
When you have a job that monopolizes both your time and creative output, material items are the obvious sources of status. Amongst independent people, this is very muted. Admiration for a material object, if it exists at all, is likely to be based around the FINDING of the item, not the purchase of it.
Instead, we derive status from projects. I try to meet people who are working on interesting things, and/or have done so in the past. Whether or not they have money or luxurious items is essentially irrelevant.
What's the point?
What's the point of sharing all this? It's not to convince you that it's how you should be thinking, or even that this lifestyle is better for you. I'm always curious to know about how other people think and what their lives are like, so I thought I'd share a bit about my friends and I to help you understand what bounces around our brains.
I'm sure I've left out tons of things. I'd love to hear you observations as well.
Really looking forward to Vegas this weekend, and then Austin immediately after. SXSW, staying with awesome friends, borrowing my brother's motorcycle, and backstage passes at a certain secret show!
More TaskSmash.com codes:
(Joel Spolsky suggested a multiple use code so you don't have to keep trying them. Definitely a great idea, but I haven't had a chance to implement it yet.)
I notice a lot of people ask you questions or make thoughtful comments that could extend the conversation or topic you've posted about. Yet I see very little if any comments back by you.
Is this blog just about posting and getting your writing out for people to read and do with what they please or a conversation and connection to people who read the blog?
If it's the former I look forward to hearing back and if it's the latter I guess no answer will be my answer.
To all of the naysayers, critics and haters:
Seriously. I don't know Tynan, but I like to think I've come to learn some things about him from this blog. He's never claimed to be the most interesting person in the world. He's never claimed to be a professional poker player. He used to be a professional gambler--defined by the success he had. I'd say his past results speak for themselves.
If you don't like Tynan, or his blog, or his comments, or his fascination with poker, then stop reading it. You're not wanted here. I read the comments to see positivity, motivation, and the collaborative musings of other creative people; not your negative garbage.
Tynan: Keep up the good work. Your writing reflects your genuine passions and interests, even if they don't jive with some of your more mentally-challenged readers.
Man I'm happy I found this post. This is exactly how I'm thinking nowadays (with the small exception of the value of an item coming from how useful it is. Ex. how compact and useful is your razor, or how waterproof and well organized your bag).
Good program that I enjoy listening to. I hope to enjoy more and more interesting programs in the future.
Your heart is in the right place, but it doesn't have to be an "either/or" decision. You can still help people without "sacrificing the easier/freer lifestyle". It could be argued that you can help more rather than less when you have more time and control of your life.
One other thing: In the past 6 months, half of the "nomads" I've come across have been from less-than-wealthy countries. India, Korea, Peru and Guatemala among others. The Internet is a real game changer... as are the political and economic hurricanes happening across the globe. The world is changing FAST. Mindset, creativity, attitude and work ethic are much bigger factors now.
And since most Westerners don't have much work ethic, I'd even paint us at a disadvantage. Posts like this help with the attitude and mindset part. As far as creativity... strangely, the most creative people I know are those that try a lot of stuff (read: worth ethic). Go figure.
@Grace Focusing on the idea of "if everyone took my advice, who would clean our toilets" is a mistake, I think. Mainly because everyone won't take my advice. It's sort of like saying that no one should withdraw all of their money from the bank, because if we all did, the economy would collapse.
I think that the way to make the biggest difference is to focus on what you're emotionally attracted to. I have really strong feelings on escaping the 9-5 prison and doing what you want in life, so that's what I focus on.
Very good comment Grace. I also write about similar things (breaking out of the box, living life to the fullest) on my own blog but I also think about the things you have said.
First, I know many A-list bloggers, some who rant about the Non 9-5 and others who dont bring it up. I can definitely say that any of the people I know who make a good living online still work 9-5 or 10-8 or whatever but they work long hours usually.
Sometimes it changes but overall, whether they are commenting, posting, creating, or networking, its still work. So most of the "4-hour" work week is blown out of per-portion.
With mine, Although I dont like the 9-5 and also chose this as a lifestyle, I dont rant to people to quit jobs. I just want to wake them up to explore possibilities whether it be new work or just adventures outside of work or maybe volunteering like you said.
I have tremendous respect for those that "give up" years of life to volunteer and hope to do a long volunteer project of my own some time soon. Maybe we can team up hah.
So I agree with you in some ways. Not everyone can do this and not everyone will. Lots of people don't have the entrepreneurial traits. Some have a passion for health care.
Thats the main thing. finding your passion and working with it. If its helping third-world countries, thats awesome!
I dont wanna write a book here but if you'd like to continue a chat, please visit my blog and send me an email. Would love to hear fro you.
I enjoy your blog Tynan but there's just something I cannot fully understand about your view on life. I'm not here to bring you down or be malicious because I appreciate your interesting posts and I'm a big follower of your blog. I'd like to share my thoughts however and see what you think.
I guess I think your view on life is completely unrealistic. You berate the 9-5 lifestyle and seem to think that unless you are having adventures, doing whatever you want, hanging out with friends every day etc then life is worth less and you are a total sucker who has been warped into a society trap just like all the other 'normal' people, as you put it. This would be fine, except for the fact that you fully participate in and NEED so many services in society that RELY on the 9-5, full time career lifestyle. You say that people should be able to think about whatever we want all day, not have anything we 'have to do' so we can write in a journal a little, play around, philosophise etc. However, if everybody did this, we wouldn't have doctors. We wouldn't have a fully functioning health system that you will rely on at some point in your life. We wouldn't have a security system and police force that ensures your safety. You also wouldn't have a huge opportunity to travel and have 'adventures' if it weren't for the people working 9-5 jobs at airports. I mean there is no way a doctor can sit down and work whenever he/she feels like it like you can. Basically, there are other people out there supporting YOUR 'ideal' lifestyle by working regular jobs... whilst you sit back and berate regular jobs. As well as this, your perspective just seems off. This lifestyle is completely unrealistic and unattainable for most people in the world who don't happen to live in a wealthy country. Doesn't this bother you?
I'm 22 years old at the moment and at a point where I am seriously thinking about what I want to do with my life and I am trying to look critically at all my options. There are so many paths one can follow in life and I appreciate that you have given so many interesting perspectives on this.
I admire the fact that you carved out your own niche in life in order to do what you want by writing books and creating a blog with your stories. To me however, the choice between creating entertaining/interesting books or blogs to help middle class to wealthy people who are already extremely lucky in life have an even better life, compared with something like working in the health field so I can later volunteer in a third world country and dramatically change people's lives, is just a no brainer. To me, morals are something I heavily consider for all my choices in life. I would prefer to study for a long time in college and then work a 9-5 job, sacrificing an easier/more free lifestyle, so I can have the opportunity to help and support people who may not even have basic human needs let alone the ability to do whatever they want all day.
I am certain you would have impacted many people's lives in a very positive way with your books and blog about living life to the fullest. But to me it is not worth as much as many 9-5 lifestyles out there that keep people safe, healthy, fed, etc., so it bothers me that you are so critical. Most people will never have the chance to create an 'ideal' and unrestricted life purely because of bad luck. Even if they did, the world just wouldn't function and there would be no healthcare/readily available food/products/services/charity work for third world countries, the list goes on.
I guess this is my problem with you setting yourself apart from 'normal' people who work 9-5 jobs when really you couldn't get by without them. What are your thoughts on this?
Ps. Sorry for the long post and thanks for reading if you made it this far
Great stuff yet again. One day I hope there's more people like you and me someday. Until then check out my latest upstart, Lifestyles365.com
I have been living this similar life, with this type of philosophy for 20 Years now, my biggest challenge is finding someone else who also has time and flexibility like me, who is not also Unemployed and on welfare..
I am an Aussie who has just moved to LA as a base having racked up 477 days in hotel rooms last 2 years, weird to be so "settled", but hope to meet more folks this way with my type of freedom..
Thx for the POst mate
In the post, Sebastian is sitting by a train station, watching normal people go by, happily executing their normal lives. "I don't get to have this," he says. That's how I've always felt, too.
There are a great many benefits associated with living an unusual life. Those are fun to talk about because they can be inspiring, amusing, and provide readers with a sort of voyeuristic pleasure. Talking about the hidden downsides isn't much fun, but probably warrants some discussion, at least for the sake of being comprehensive.
I used to dislike to work. I saw how most people lived their lives, slogging through work that they hated, and I was determined not to fall into that trap. I made the mistake of generalizing, lumping all work together in the same bucket.
Since then, things have changed. In terms of monumental personal life changes, becoming a hard worker is the most recent one I've undergone. About a year ago, for reasons I touched on in this post, I decided that it was imperative for me to become a hard worker. I didn't do it because I had suddenly fallen in love with work, but rather because I had began to feel as though I was behind. And believe me, it wasn't love at first sight.
To fall in love with hard work, you must understand why it's necessary. When I was young I was told that sugar was bad, but I never understood exactly why it was bad, so I kept eating it. Only when I learned how it chemically affected my body did I finally give it up. The same is true of work-- if you don't know why you have to work hard and love it, you'll probably never actually do it.
Work is your gift to the world. That sounds corny, but it's true. And believe me, you owe the world a gift or two. Think of all of the various things that millions of people around the world have done for you to enjoy the life you have. They made up languages, invented stuff, procreated at the exact right times to create your ancestry, and managed to not kill each other in the process. We're lucky to be here, and the high standard of living we all enjoy now is only because of those who came before us. Some, like Einstein, had huge impact, but even people you don't notice, like the janitors, are making your life better.