Lifestyle Thoughts

After all of my world travels, nomading around, experimentation with lifestyle etc … this is what I have discovered:

Honestly, all places suck.

Even more,

I don’t even think there’s any place which is more “optimal“ for anything.

What do you care for?

The first thing to address is first, critically think about what you really care for. For me, I care for the gym, weight lifting, hypelifting, the Costco business Center for meat, thinking, blogging, vlogging, etc. Also traveling and entrepreneurship.

I think with a lot of people try to do is chase some sort of lifestyle, mode of living, or place which they consider “successful”. For example, think about all these people who moved to the Bay Area, San Francisco, the city, New York, Brooklyn, London etc.

With a lot of these cities, it seems that people desire this:

I desire to become a more interesting, influential, and more important person. If I move to more important cities, I shall become more important.

But is this true? No.

I forget which great Greek philosopher said, “I would rather turn my own city into an Athens, instead go to Athens.”

Back in the day, Athens was essentially the New York City in ancient Greece. All of the happening things were in Athens.

However in terms of mentality, I do find it much more interesting and noble to strive to turn your shitty city into an Athens, instead of just moving to Athens.

THE NEW ATHENS?

How can you create your own new Athens?

I’ve found my paradise?

Maybe instead of wasting time and meandering around, just set down your feet, fuck it, and just start getting shit done.

Don’t wait for optimal.


Critical lifestyle thinking?

Once again, what we need to critically think and consider is this:

What is it that I really desire out of my life?

For more critical thinking, have a chat with WHY APP? ZEN OF ERIC KIM.


The ideal life?

Some more critical thinking:

What is the ideal life, for me?


Physics Experiments?

A turbo thought I had while giving Seneca a bath/shower, and running the showerhead water, and letting him play with the mobile showerhead, and also letting him play with all these buckets of water, buoyancy, etc;

For Seneca, it seems that one of his supreme joys is physics experiments.

For example, we are taught that it is “bad“ for kids to “waste water“. Yet, what if having kids waste water, and natural resources is actually one of the best ways for them to learn?

Another thought that I had about just things in general;

What if all of life and existence were simply experiments in physics?

For example, physical strength. Physical, physics, it is the same thing. For example, I am actually still pretty shocked that I could atlas lift over 900 pounds on my shoulders. And so is everyone else at the gym.

Also, I just did a rack pull today of 795 pounds — and I overheard one of the guys talking, to his friend, and astonished that I kept adding more plates onto the rack.

Maybe also entrepreneurship is simply physics experiments. In real life.

For example if you think about Elon Musk, what is Elon Musk? I think he is a designer, and also a mastermind in physics. Considering that more or less he self-taught himself rocket science to start spaceX. Also Tesla, and his ideas on the supercharging network was simply applied physics in reality. Also building the grasshopper space ex rocket ship that automatically land itself; physics. Same with the Boring company.

Physics vs “Science”?

Perhaps physics is empirical, science is soft.

Science simply means knowledge. And what we know as the “scientific method“ is not 100% objective.

Physics is interesting; much of it as a binary. Can you lift it off the ground or off the rack even half an inch, or not?

Where to live?

Another thought that I had, just walking around the portion of Cindy‘s mom‘s house that we are renting;

We are simply renting some square cubic meters of space, on the earth, and it is amazing that other places might charge $3500 a month for this. Fortunately, to rent more or less three bedrooms and two bathrooms and Cindy‘s mom‘s house, we are only paying $500 USD a month.

The tricky thing is we are moving to LA, which means trying to figure out a novel living solution.

Living?

Ultimately you need somewhere to live and sleep.

There are different ways to do this. First of all, you can rent, you could rent either a apartment unit in an apartment complex, you could rent a townhouse, you could rent a unit in a luxury condo building, you can buy a condo within a shared condominium structure, you can buy a standalone house, etc.

These are the tricky things I have discovered;

  1. Property tax. Also HOA fees. Let us say that you buy a house for $1.3 million, or you buy a condominium. Still, assuming you paid it all in cash and you have it 100% paid off, you still gotta pay property tax, which often is around $1500 USD a month. And assuming you live in a condo or you buy a condo, and you have a fully paid off, HOA fees can range from $500 USD to even 5000 USD a month. This seems like a massive rip off. also, you got a pay for property insurance, and also, sooner or later things will break, and you got a pay money to fix it, pay for the part if you do it yourself, or do you gotta pay a contractor or someone else to do it, which often takes forever and has lots of problems. And lots of headaches.
  2. The remodeling trap; from what I have observed, funny enough one of the downsides of homeownership is that there will always be things you will want to fix, remodel, redo, etc. And it seems like a never ending Sisyphean trap.
  3. How renting seems interesting; at least here, there is no “gotcha“ fees. Rent, while it can seem high, at least it is transparent and everything is on the table.
  4. Another problem about buying a house, assuming you do not buy it 100% in cash, and also assuming you don’t just have $2 million in hard cash sitting around, or in the bank: interest rates, even if you have a small interest rate of around 3.5%, it seems that almost the first decade or two of your house, you aren’t even paying off the house, you were simply paying the interest. And it is insane. Assuming you’re down 40% in cash for a $1.3 million house, I think you still end up spending around $700,000 USD in additional interest in fees over the course of the 30 years.
  5. If you have the option; honestly it seems the wisest thing to do is not live in America if you have the option. Mexico City, you can rent an insanely nice apartment or studio for only around $1300 USD a month. Also when me and Cindy were living in Vietnam in Hanoi, I think we only paid around 350 USD a month for a brand new studio apartment. We’re also in Phnom Penh Cambodia, lots of new buildings to live in, super nice. Or also in Saigon, a lot of these brand new apartment complex buildings are insanely nice, they look like the brand new structures in Hong Kong. Some of them even have a Starbucks attached to it!

Should we strive to earn more money, to live in a nicer place, or should we seek something else?

It doesn’t hurt to do both; striving to earn more money, as a means to have more buffer in life. At the same time I think what I am principally interested in is lifestyle innovations, in regards of how to live, where to live, etc.

Perhaps some sort of minimalist approach seems wise here.


Travel?

Another funny thought I had in regards to lifestyle is this:

Maybe an interesting life strategy is to barbell it; live in the super boring suburbs, where it is slightly cheaper, and then during the summers, you travel to exotic places in Asia, Seoul, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia etc.


Why lifestyle?

The difficult thing about lifestyle is that it has just become a marketed concept, in regards to clothing. For example, you think this:

I desire to have a certain lifestyle, and in order to become that lifestyle, I must purchase clothing or watches or designer objects or cars associated with that lifestyle concept.

For example, let us say that I really like doing yoga. Sooner or later I will feel pressured to buying Lululemon clothing, Lululemon leggings, etc., in order to fit the “yoga” lifestyle. And also other silly things like becoming vegan, buying more plant-based things, etc.

Or let us say that I am really into rap, hip-hop culture, etc. Sooner or later I might be pressured into buying insanely expensive athletic sneakers, Nikes, Jordans, supreme clothing, Bape, Adidas, Yeezy etc.


Creating your own lifestyle?

My concept is EK — the EK LIFESTYLE. Simply put, maybe the best idea is to just transform yourself into a lifestyle concept.

For example, it can be in regards to everything about you. What you wear, what you eat, what do you think, how often eat, how frequently or infrequently you eat, what you decide not to eat or consume, what you believe in what you don’t believe in, your philosophy, your photography, your blogs, your art, your platform, etc.


How your lifestyle is efficient

It is in lifestyle for the sake of lifestyle; rather, it is simply this:

Figuring out what you truly desire in life, and then figuring out the living strategy which best suits that end.

For example, I am insanely passionate about weight lifting, hypelifting, and discovering new truths about my body and the human body through insanely epic one rep max lifting. Therefore for my lifestyle, going to the gym every single day is critical.

Therefore, in terms of my lifestyle, or living situation, I simply want to be close to a good gym. It doesn’t even have to be even the worlds best gym; as long as it has sufficient enough equipment, good enough for me.

Also another tip, if you feel that the equipment or the bars in your gym are insufficient, simply ask the general manager whether you could bring in your own equipment, or just leave your own bar at the gym. This is what my gym manager Chris suggested to me; to buy a Texas power bar, and just leave at the gym and use it whenever I wanted. And this is what I did.

Purchasing things?

Once again, figure out what your truly truly care for life and what you don’t, is critical. For example, all in all I probably spent around $500 USD which includes shipping for my Texas power bar, and it was literally the best $500 I’ve ever spent my life. It is half the price of an iPhone, and I think a quadrillion times more valuable.

Also, an interesting experiment; I just leave it at the gym, on the weight lifting rack that I typically use at the gym. And the funny thing, it is 55 pounds which is about 10 pounds heavier than the standard 45 pound bar. And therefore when I am just watching people lived with it, I’d love to see how confused they are, because it feels so much heavier than what they are used to, and they are not sure why.

Also another fun thing, even seeing the staff touch the bar, and see how phenomenal that the grip and knurling feels, and also commenting on how thick the sleeves are.

Therefore this is a big lifestyle concept I have;

Quasi-ownership, quasi-communal things.

For example, I just leave my Texas power squat bar at the gym, for anyone to use. But ultimately when I move to LA, I’m taking it with me. So from efficiency perspective, I like the idea that 99% of the time during the day when I am not at the gym, someone else can be using it well in place of me. Kind of also like Uber, 99.9% of the time people just park their cars in the garage, or at home. If your car could semi autonomous they just drive itself everywhere, while you’re not using it, this seems like an interesting idea.

It is also kind of like the idea behind Airbnb, assuming you have a spare bedroom, or you’re traveling during the summer, being able to simply have somebody else rent that while you’re gone is an intelligent efficiency thing.

Apparently there’s also this new funny service that you could even rent out space in your garage, for other people to store their stuff in.

Maybe this is also how banks work; most people when they just put their money in the bank, they’re not doing anything with it. And therefore the banks try to make it more efficient by reinvest in your money into other speculative things, earning a net positive for both you and the bank.

Even in terms of cryptocurrency, apparently now you could even lend your crypto, you become a bank, and you simply lend out your crypto at a certain interest rate, allowing you to earn “passive income“.


Curating your inner circle

Maybe in terms of social relationships, it should also be seen as an ikebana thing;

You don’t try to “keep in touch“ with people and friends and family, but rather, you ruthlessly prune, until you get to what is truly core and critical.

For example for myself, when it comes down to it, it is Seneca Cindy and me. Nothing or nobody else. Pretty simple.


Prioritizing yourself

Also what is truly critical is prioritizing yourself. If you don’t prioritize yourself, you cannot help anybody else.

Photography, creativity and art?

Ultimately when it comes down to it, I think the end goal for most people is this:

Focusing on their artwork.

Artwork can be anything. For example, I think philosophy is simply the art of thinking, and also producing and sharing and publishing your own thoughts. Or the art of bodybuilding, thinking of your body as sculpture. Or photography video etc.


How to innovate your own lifestyle concept

I suppose the art of building your own personal self brand is this:

Proposing a new mode of living, a new lifestyle, a new way of thinking of things.

For example, let us consider how innovative Tim Ferriss was when he published the four hour work week. His notions of the “new rich“, and also, some pretty innovative thoughts on how to use your time in your life.

Authenticity.

Ultimately, there is not a better lifestyle or worse or lifestyle. Rather, whatever you propose; just be authentic.

ERIC


How to prioritize to do more of what you want to do?

Once you have gained the precision of knowing what you want in life, then, it seems that you could better strategize on how to achieve what you want in life.

1. Being insanely selfish?

To pursue what you truly desire in life, you must become more “unethical”.

For example, this is the funny thing;

Apparently it is “evil“ to be “selfish“.

However, when people call you “selfish”, what they’re really saying is

How dare you act in such a way which is contrary to my personal belief system!

Therefore the first thought; become more selfish, bad, “evil”.

2. What does it mean to think different?

One of the quotes coined by Steve Jobs is “think different “. Yet…

We are only permitted to think different in the same old ways.

For example, let us consider how surprisingly intolerant liberal or left-leaning people are.

For example, I am not permitted to like meat, and I am also not permitted to openly say that I don’t really care about the environment.

Also, I am not allowed to be masculine, or even propose notions that the more masculine you are the better.

Or, even though I am a liberal and I did not vote for Donald Trump, I am not allowed to say as a liberal, I think Donald Trump is hilarious.

3. The new thought police?

One of the biggest things that I’ve learned from George Orwell’s 1984, and also Brave New World, is the notion of the thought police. This is that you are not permitted to think differently.

I think a free society should be permitted to think however one wants to think. I suppose this is the nuance;

How to promote free thinking without promoting hate?

What is hate anyways? Hate is strong emotions, and that is fine. However, I think what is not permissible is when you incite or provoke some sort of physical or verbal violence.


Stagnant thinking?

Why travel, move around, live in different places, live in different living situations, experiment with lifestyle, etc.? This is why I have observed; when you stay in one place for too long, your thoughts start to stagnate.

I believe there is a strong bond between man and his environment and his thoughts. For example, the type of thinking and thoughts which come to me while living in Orange County Southern California is different than the thoughts I get one I am in downtown LA, different when I am in LA, different when I am in Saigon, Phnom Penh, Seoul South Korea, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Dubai, etc.

Insane tenacity?

There are a lot of things that we cannot control in life, yet one thing we can control is our tenacity.

Tenacity means to simply hold on, to grip hard.

This is an interesting thought, because at least in matters of the gym, and weightlifting, grip strength is strength. Which means, the stronger your grip strength, it is a great indicator I just how strong you are period.

I have another funny thought, perhaps in order to become more mentally and metaphorically tenacious in life, you must become physically more tenacious, that is, to literally improve our grip strength. How do we do that?

First and foremost, it seems wise to not use wrist wraps, or hand straps at the gym. These prevent you from building your grip strength.

Instead, just use liquid weightlifting chalk, just buy it for super cheap on Amazon. And at least with some types of weightlifting with a barbell, at the higher weights, use the mixed grip, which means one of your hands is overhand and the other one is under hand, so the bar doesn’t rotate and slip away.

Some simple exercises include doing one rep max rack pulls, or also one rep max farmers carries. For example, chalk up, and just find the heaviest dumbbells at the gym, lift it off the rack, and just see how far you can walk it out. For me and my gym, that is 150 pound dumbbells.

In the beginning, my grip strength wasn’t even strong enough to lift up to 150 pound dumbbell off the rack with my left hand. Now I can lift it off, and actually walk it out a little bit.


The philosophy of travel?

One of the huge upsides that I’ve discovered about teaching workshops is that it is hugely beneficial to myself as well. How? When I am teaching a workshop in a new place, whether foreign or domestic, essentially anywhere which isn’t typically seen as “home” to me, it is always an advancing opportunity.

For example, when I am in southern California, not on the road, typically me Cindy and Seneca are just squatting Cindy‘s mom‘s house, in the boring orange county suburbs. So the times that I go to downtown LA to teach a workshop, it is always such an insanely great experience, because it resparked my enthusiasm for life. Ultimately I would prefer to live in downtown LA than I would Orange County.

Another example, I am very lucky that I married Cindy, because she is an academic, it affords me and gives me the opportunity to travel, and also live in places that I would have never even imagined visiting or living in in the first place.

For example, if I had never met or married Cindy, I don’t think I would have ever even gone to Vietnam, let alone live there for about a year. The same goes with last summer, her research took us to Phnom Penh Cambodia, which initially, I was indifferent towards, but after going there and after the experience of being in Cambodia and Phnom Penh, it totally transformed me. Because almost a decade ago, I want to see siem reap, but the same place where Angkor Wat is, and I really didn’t like it. Yet Phnom Penh the capital city of Cambodia was such a phenomenal eye-opening experience to me.

What do you want out of life anyways?

I think the foolish and naïve life aspirations and dreams you had when you were younger is wise. For example, when I was still a tenderfoot green thumb in college, my insane life ambition was to become self-employed, essentially not “work for the man“, travel the world, shoot photos, etc. And funny enough beyond a decade later, it still seems to be the case.

Also, a fun thing I like to do often on my iPad, is using Apple Maps, just zoom out and look at the whole world. See how much you have yet explored or been to.

The ideal mode of living?

I do not think there is a universal mode of living which is supreme to everybody. But some philosophical thoughts:

  1. Self employment. In modern-day capitalist society, I think this might be the most critical. Why? It doesn’t matter if you’re being paid $5 million a year from your company as CEO, if you don’t have any personal freedom, it ain’t worth it. For example, a simple heuristic from Nassim Taleb on whether you are self-owned or not, “When you want to, can you just take a nap?”
  2. Quasi nomadic; that is, you are not perpetually on the road, which is energy expensive. I think being semi-nomadic is best, which means maybe in the summer, you just live in a foreign place for about three months or so, and then you might have a homebase elsewhere. Or, if you can, Every year or two, spend a year or two living in a new foreign city or place which interests you.

Embark on an insanely epic and life transforming experience

Respark your passion for living and life!

  1. June 17th, Saturday, 2023: DOWNTOWN LA CONQUER YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY AND LIFE – New!
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Things I’m into

  1. Just buy a Texas squat power bar, either for your own home gym, or for your own local commercial gym. Buy it, it literally shipped to me within three days, it got here so insanely fast. Assuming you just go to a local gym, just bring it in, and say that the general manager allows you to just leave it there. Just leave it at your local commercial gym, and let anyone use it when you’re not there.
  2. Balenciaga — crypto shirt. Mind blown — the B for Balenciaga and Bitcoin are both “ B’s”? Get the hoodie.
  3. Maybach.
  4. Death wish coffee, also the NGUYEN coffee brand. Robusta is the future?

Forward the turbo!

If you feel that this turbocharger thinking even in one tiny way, feel free to forward this to a friend!

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Things I still gotta do

  1. Start my own streetwear company, gym attire, lifestyle apparel and clothing brand
  2. Watch John Wick 4

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10 Tips to Become a More Creative Photographer

Creativity is our lifeblood. Typically when I think about creativity, I think of aberrant thinking, and doing things differently from what is considered traditional.

Some thoughts:

1. Ignorance is good

Something I have discovered is that going to art school, studying art history, etc. might be one of the worst things for your creativity. Why? Honestly a lot of it is so fake; a lot of artists tend to be insecure introverts, and I think that all people seek some sort of supremacy. Therefore, if you are a young insecure artist, or even a more mature insecure artist, you will seek external validation for your art.

Therefore, I think some knowledge of the past is useful, in so far much as it can help expand your thinking. For example, the reason why I really like Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, studying cubism and other forms of abstract art is so interesting because it teaches us:

Art does not need to be photo-realistic to be legitimate.

For example, even people don’t know that Jean Michel Basquiat really knows how to paint, photo realistic paintings. The same thing with Jackson Pollock, Picasso, Matisse, all of them. Also the same goes with other surrealist’s, and abstract painters.

Typically this is how it goes:

  1. The artist will get a traditional painting education
  2. The artist will make really really great photo realistic paintings
  3. The artist will eventually get bored of this and seek some sort of innovation
  4. The artist then figures out a more unorthodox form of visual expression

Even when you think of an artist like Kanye West in the context of art, he started off as a traditional producer, making music and beats for other artists. Then he wanted to get into rapping. And got in. Then he wanted to go to fashion, and then he did. And also if you think about his more innovative albums like 808s & Heartbreak, and also his Yeezus album, Kanye West was at least 20 or 30 years before his time.

2. What is creativity?

I think the best definition of creativity is having the propensity to create. That is, you like to create and make stuff.

Therefore, I think a creative person is somebody who derives joy from creating things. Creating, modifying, customizing, painting, drawing, making photographs, making videos, etc.

Whenever you transfigure something, or the world, you create something new.

3. What gets in our way?

My personal thought is so much of the difficulties behind art is that everyone is trying to put us down.

For example, I can speak from my personal experiences. When I got started in photography, street photography, started traveling the world and meeting all this famous people, etc., at the ripe age of 22, this is what I have discovered:

When other people see you as a young rising star, they feel small compared to you, and they feel less bad about themselves, when they try to put you down.


4. Think different

To become more creative means to think differently. What does it mean to think different?

First, I think there is a moralistic ethical perspective behind things. That is, one is not permitted to think differently, in modern day society. Also, it seems that the modern left-wing liberal bent is becoming more intolerant.


5. Insane audacity

Another thought I have is when it comes to creativity, insane audacity is a good idea.

For example, Who are some of the most creative geniuses we have witnessed on planet earth? Steve Jobs, Jony Ive, Kanye West, Elon Musk, etc.

“Name one genius that ain’t crazy!” – Kanye

I think in order to become a creative genius, you need some sort of level of insane audacity.

“A genius is just a kid with good parents.” – Kanye

What is a genius anyways? I think all kids are geniuses, and are born geniuses. The problem:

Typically, when most kids go through the traditional K-12 education system, their genius like curiosity is beaten out of them.

When I think about Montessori education, it isn’t a perfect system, but, I think that general bias is that they indulge more creativity in their kids.

6. Kids are smarter than you think

Something that I have discovered with Seneca, him only currently being 2 years two months old, he is 1 billion times smarter than I think he is.

And I think this is the secret,

Just talk to your kids as if they were 12 years old.

Kids are so much more capable than we think they are. I think the bias in America, also eastern schools of thought is that kids are not that intelligent. However, I think the geniusness of your child will rise to the occasion. This means:

If you treat your kids like a genius, they will become a genius.

However,

If you treat your kid like a baby, they will remain a baby forever.

This is also age independent. It doesn’t matter if you are two years old, three years old, 35 years old, etc., I think maturity is a mentality thing.

7. Do you even desire creativity?

I think 99.9% of creativity had to deal with courage. That is, having the courage to be different, act different, and approach things differently.

For example, do you have the courage not to have an Instagram?

I think in terms of creativity, the downside is that often when you are more creative, you are actually praised less. I don’t think one should pursue creativity for the sake of being praised. The trap is when you seek to be praised, you’ll actually not to do creative things, you’ll just do the same old boring thing as everyone else, and be praised for that.

For example, in the context of art, kids who could draw or paint more photo realistically are praised more than kids who draw abstract. Yet ironically enough, at the upper echelon of things, like if you think about the end works a Picasso and Matisse, their ultimate works are indeed, childlike. Consider the beautiful sublime simplicity of Matisse and his Turkish blue cut outs of the silhouettes of women. Literally any kid with cardboard paper and scissors could do it. I think the ultimate hybrid of an artist is this:

Have the intelligence of adult, but create like a child.

8. The genesis of creativity?

Something I am personally curious about is where does creativity come from?

My thought is perhaps the genesis of creativity is dissatisfaction with things. The deep desire to change, transfigure, modify things and the world.

For example, let us consider a Steve Jobs, one of the most creative human beings who has ever lived. If you read the Walter Isaacson biography on him, this is what I learned:

The genius of Steve Jobs was that at heart, he was like a child, and ultimately was a creative tyrant.

You cannot bend.

For example, it would have been impossible for Steve Jobs to have started Apple Computer without Steve Wozniak. But ultimately, Steve Wozniak was simply a steppingstone. Why? Steve Wozniak wanted to add ports, and all of this hacker like things to the Apple OS. But Steve Jobs knew that this was not the way. And this is why no one will remember Steve Wozniak, only Steve Jobs.

Even Jony Ive, who is pretty much the design mastermind of most things at Apple. I think the problem of Jony Ive is that she is almost too soft-spoken, too nice, not enough of an asshole like Steve Jobs.

In fact, when someone calls you an asshole, what does that mean?

How dare you talk to me in a non-nice way.

But like Kanye said —

“I’m not mean, I’m just focused!”

Even in Steve Jobs‘s told Jony Ive that in fact, Jony Ive was the dishonest one. When Jony Ive retarded angrily about this, Steve Jobs told him:

“The reason why you’re the bad guy is that you just want everyone to like you. Therefore you don’t tell people what you really think.”

To say what you really think, takes much courage, and also, a healthy dose of being “unethical”, and “immoral”.

Also for myself, and I consider myself a “nice guy“, this is what I have discovered:

I just want everyone to like me.

But the problem is ultimately, I’m starting to think that this is a little bit disingenuous. Why? When you want everyone to like you, you often bend yourself in dishonest ways.

Therefore, my simple thought:

Better to be honest and “bad“, than to be dishonest and be “good”.

9. Why be creative?

I think the ultimate end goal is creativity for the sake of advancing humankind.

There are lots of ways to be creative. For example, a simple one is just to be more creative in your thinking. To think more creatively. To think more aberrantly, to think more unorthodox, and ultimately, to publish share and propagate your thoughts.

Simple ways to do this is on your own blog, your own email newsletter, YouTube, podcast etc.

The best way to build a blog is through bluehost.com and install wordpress.org, for email newsletter I like sendy.co, and for podcast anchor.fm which is now owned by Spotify (search ERIC KIM on Spotify).

10. Creative assignments

I think ultimately, the best way to achieve creativity is through creative restrictions, or creative constraints.

  1. Only shoot macro mode for a whole week
  2. Only shot jpeg for a year
  3. If you shoot with a manual focusing lens, only shoot the minimum focusing distance for a month. For example, if you have a like a rangefinder M camera, pre-focus to .7 meters. LEICA MANUAL // FREE PDF

Upload your best creative photos to arsbeta >


Now what?

  1. EK CREATIVITY SHOP// CREATIVE EVERYDAY PRINT // MOBILE
  2. Just create something. Use your iPhone, your iPad, the Procreate app. Install Zen brush 2, do calligraphy.
  3. Deleting and getting rid of stuff is also a creative act: maybe even a simple idea is get rid of all the unwarranted clothes in your wardrobe, and just donate it to the local Goodwill.
  4. My friend Stan Hudecki did something good, when he moved houses, he purged all of his camera equipment, and gave it to friends and families and kids in need/people who would use it better than he could. He is now part of the Ricoh mafia, Ricoh GR 3X

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Fulfill your creative potential:


Things on my mind

  1. What is the best car? The greatest flex? Maybe a murdered out, all black matte Prius prime. Or a matte pink genesis G 90, with Tonka neon green rims. Or a rolls Royce spectre in Morganite (blush pink)/ customize
  2. The Texas power bar, the Texas power squat bar is totally worth it. I just lifted 895 pounds with it, and I feel great.
  3. Seek the more clever solution: in life, I think my passion is discovering novel solutions to things. Don’t do basic.

Forward the turbo!

If you feel like you even got one creative thought from this, and you have a friend or family man number who will also benefit from it, feel free to forward this as an email to them!

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Why Manliness?

The Art of Virtue: How to Become More Masculine and Manly

I think ever since I was a kid, I always strove to become more manly, or masculine, more dominant, etc. Why?

First and foremost, I remember when I was a fat kid, and being teased, and wanting to do something about it. Thus my early impetus is a kid, I remember having a triple chin when I was around 11-12 years old, and I was motivated to make a change. I asked my mom to buy me some dumbbells, I started lifting weights, first starting with 15 pound dumbbells, double stacking them to make them 30 pound dumbbells, and then I think I later got a 50 pound dumbbell. Lots of bicep curls and shoulder presses.

Also, a funny memory that my friend Spencer always reminds me, when I started to put rocks in my backpack and go on long runs.

Media?

Certainly another big one is the media. As a kid growing up, the media I was exposed to was mostly video games, and comic book hero stuff. For example while I never read any comic books, I was really into the video game adaptations of Spider-Man, wolverine, Iron Man etc. And what do all of these superheroes share? Their superhero strength and muscles. I still remember vividly as a kid, when I withdraw my own superheroes I would always draw them with really cut, and lean and large muscles.

Also, when you draw a superhero, they always have a six pack.

Why?

Let us disregard of this modern day nonsense. Let us go back to the fountain.

What is the most classic, OG, original gangster literature we could draw inspiration and wisdom from? The Iliad by Homer.

Let us observe Achilles, the apex of manliness. Who or what is Achilles?

Achilles was a demigod, his mother a goddess, and his father a man. Therefore, Achilles was semi-deus, half men, half God.

What was Achilles’ personality? In the beginning of the Iliad, he is weary you from all of this war campaigning, he just wants to take his prize, Breusis, and go return to his land, and just chill out. Yet, because king Agamemnon seriously disrespects him, he stays by the shores and the ships, where he wails his heart out, pining for the lust of battle.

Some first very interesting things, in the ancient Greek literature, both in the Iliad and odyssey, do you have the heroes in the main protagonist crying a lot. For example, Odysseus by the shore, crying every single day, wanting to go back home to his land and his wife. Achilles also does a lot of crying by the shore, before his mom comes to comfort him.

First interesting lesson:

Real men are permitted to cry.

Yet in modern day times, it is considered unmanly to cry. Ancient Greek literature has shown that it is fine for real men to cry.

How should one interact and engage?

Post Socrates, which is during and after Socrates, much of philosophy has been around the moral and ethical philosophy. Which means,

How SHOULD one interact and engage with in the world?

For example, 99.9% of stoicism is all about becoming impervious to fate, and the external world.

It is your duty to be strong

The first thought I have is that it is your moralistic duty to be strong. To be strong for yourself, your wife, your kids, for what you believe in, etc.

Everyone has different life goals

Everyone has different life goals. Yet, in order to do or attempt anything, you must be strong.

Strength can be interpreted in many different ways. Mental fortitude, physical fortitude, etc.

Physical, physiological strength is the root of it all. Without it, you can’t do nothing.


Then how can you become more manly?

First of all, if you have testes, a.k.a. balls, and a penis, you’re a man. Everyone has the right to choose their gender orientation, but, if you were born with balls, you’re a man.

First, the physical strength component. Can you imagine a superhero who doesn’t have superhero strength? Let us consider all the superheroes, they all have superhero strength. Superman, Spider-Man, Wolverine, etc.

How do you build superhero strength? Very simple. One rep max lifting at the gym. I suggest atlas lift and very heavy rack pulls— never more than one single repetition. A simple way to progress is start off with the bar, just do a single repetition, add a 45 pound plate to each side, do a single repetition, and keep progressing.

When you get near your limit, test your limit, and when you figure out what your hard cap limit is, a.k.a. the point in which the weight just won’t budge, then you could adjust as needed.

When you are able to hit a new personal record, then the next time you do it, or the next week, simply add a 2.5 pounder on each side.

A simple progression is that let us consider, if you are able to successfully add a 2.5 pounder on each side of the barbell (5 pounds in total) week over week, that means if a year has 52 weeks, 52×5 is roughly 250 pounds. If you keep up a simple progression, increasing the weight maybe by 3% or even 1% week over week, you should be able to gain and increase your total personal record by at least 200 pounds a year.

Certainly there are some limits to human strength. For example, while Hafþór was able to deadlift 501 kg, around 1200 pounds, it is difficult to imagine a human being lifting 100,000 pounds.


The mental thing?

I know this is the philosophical pursuit:

How SHOULD a “real man” interact and engage with the world around him?

This is where philosophy comes in. Ultimately, there are no moral or ethical truths. In someways, the philosopher is a value-setting tyrant. The philosopher doesn’t need to quote statistics, or past thinkers. The philosopher can simply state his or her opinion, carte blanche, first principles, asserting what he or she believes in, without needing any “proof“, or “data.” My simple rule of thumb is this:

Never trust anybody who quotes the “data“, or “statistics“.


Nutrition and manliness?

Cholesterol is a natural steroid.

What is a steroid anyways? A steroid is something which boosts your testosterone. Considering that testosterone is the hormone for men (testes… test-osterone as being the hormone for your testes and balls), then the higher your testosterone (naturally), the better.


Foods with the highest dietary cholesterol

Dietary cholesterol is only present in meat or animal products.

Beef heart for example:

BEEF HEART NUTRITION PROFILE
Based on 3-ounce serving and % of Recommended Daily Intake ( % RDI) for each nutrient.

Saturated Fat 7%
Cholesterol 71%
Sodium 2%
Potassium 6%
Total Carbohydrates 0%
Protein 27%
Iron 68%
Phosphorus 22%
Copper 24%
Folate 2%
Selenium 48%
Zinc 17%
Riboflavin 61%
Vitamin B12 383%
Magnesium 6%
Vitamin B6 17%
Choline 36%

Organ meats are key

A funny thought:

Are organ meats “meat”?

It’s funny because a lot of it is anti-meat conspiracy people like Bill Gates, etc say —

Eating meat, especially red meat, beef, etc., is not only bad for the environment and the planet, but also bad for you.

I think it is probably certain that beef, animals, and meat products are bad for the planet. However, from a dietary nutritional one, I don’t think that is the case.

For example, I think people who adopt a “plant-based diet“, or a vegetarian one, or even vegan one … I believe this to be positively bad for your health. I have never met a vegetarian or vegan who looks healthy, and also even more funny, I have never met a vegan or vegetarian who doesn’t smoke weed or doesn’t drink alcohol.

I also don’t think we should quote Patrick Bohemian or other people like that because they are also taking “plant based” steroids. This is why it is wise to not trust any “vegan“, or “vegetarian“, or “plant-based“ bodybuilders, calisthenics guys, or fitness Youtubers, because they also take steroids.

Even Friedrich Nietzsche had a funny thought, that most vegetarians are also alcoholics.

Society doesn’t want you to be manly

Modern-day society and consumerism capitalism says

You are not permitted to be manly, yet, you can purchase manliness

For example, you’re not permitted to flex your muscles in public, yet you’re permitted to purchase and drive a loud “muscle car.”

Or, you’re not allowed to walk around in public topless, yet you’re permitted to buy a convertible car, a Lamborghini, a Porsche 911, or any sort of droptop car convertible.

What was Benjamin Franklin say?

When we think of modern-day American values, a lot of comes from Benjamin Franklin, and all a lot of this protestant, Quaker mentality. It says

The supreme virtue is to create and produce capital, yet, not spend or waste any of it.

Also, eastern philosophy, Confucian values say

It is only virtuous to cultivate your mind, not your body.

Why this disregard for the body?

My theory on why the body is disregarded is the notion of a “afterlife”. That is after you die, you don’t need a body anymore, because your soul and mind can live in the afterlife forever.

Or let us consider a lot of this modern day nonsensical Silicon Valley notions of “uploading your consciousness to the cloud“. Or let us consider those black mirror episodes in which people don’t really need bodies anymore.

The hypocrisy

This is the funny hypocrisy in modern day life: a lot of these things are not considered virtuous, yet when we watch movies and consume media, it is.

For example, can you imagine watching Thor, and Chris Hemsworth looking like the typical skinny fat American male?

Or, can you imagine watching wonder woman, and Gal Gadot being the typical overfat Oompa Loompa looking suburban woman?

“But that’s just a movie!”

Then why do you watch it?

Posit your own ideals

It seems that we all agree that tyranny is bad. Yet, I’ve discovered even in liberal circles, a lot of the liberals are intolerant, and also tyrants. They say,

What we propose is the apex of virtue, and you must abide by our rules.

In politics, the virtuous thing is to consider that anyone and everyone should just be left alone.

How about the right?

How about the right, the republican party, or the conservative party?

My general sense is that right-wing people simply just want to be left alone. They want to be left to their own vices.

I think perhaps the prototypical image is like a Kid Rock, living in a trailer on top of a hill, and just living their life more secluded, and cut off from the rest of society.

Yet the problem with all politics, irregardless is it all just comes down to entertainment, “anger porn”, or “outrage porn”. This is why I quit the news.

Also quit Reddit. I think Reddit might actually be worse than traditional mainstream news, because nobody thinks of Reddit as news. Let us consider that Reddit is now owned by Condé Nast, the mega news corporation.

Also, the reason why Reddit is so bad:

Everybody who is on Reddit thinks that they are the only person on Reddit, and they think of themselves as enlightened non-sheep people, whereas anybody who uses Reddit, whether active poster or not is another lemming.

The power of owning your own opinion

Also in modern-day times, one is not allowed to own his or her own opinion. One must always quote “statistics“, or “the data“.

Why this bias?

My thought is that modern day society doesn’t want a bunch of free thinkers. It is not conducive to a servile, well functioning society.

There is no conspiracy

Even if you get a bunch of competent people in a same room, all breathing the same air, they never get any real work done.

For example, in thinking fast and slow, by Daniel Kannemann and Amos Tversky, they talk about the planning fallacy. A bunch of academics came together and said that they would write a book, and they predicted it might only take them five years. It ended up taking them 15 years plus.

The reason why I no conspiracy exists is that nobody is competent. It doesn’t matter how good or evil somebody is, or bodies of people are, nobody is intelligent enough to actually pull off a conspiracy.

No no, there is no world power conspiracy. It is best to just think of everyone as individual actors, aiming to simply enriching themselves. They do this through hard and soft ways, yet ultimately, all of their actions manifest differently.

Back to manliness

Man, manliness. Virtue, virtus… man.

Vir— man.

Man, male.

Is virtue a concept for women?

This is where things get interesting. Is there a such a notion of virtue for women?

Assuming that lexically, virtue, virtuous means man, male, then from a purely dictionary perspective, it doesn’t.

Therefore in the context of woman, or female, the better thing to consider is this; just leave women alone. Just let women do whatever what they want.

This is where I also find it unbecoming for men to criticize feminism. However on the contrary, I also don’t think that women should criticize men for being masculine.

Therefore, my simple idea is this: let women philosophize on female and feminist matters, and let men philosophize on masculine and men matters. We should keep both spheres separate.


Now what?

Philosophize more. If you need some philosophy consulting, shoot me an email at eric@erickim.com

Why?

Why app?

One of the best ways to gain deeper insights about anything is to keep asking yourself the question why?


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Manly movies

Cinema

  1. 300
  2. John Wick
  3. Godfather

Manly cars

Real men drive Hyundai Sonatas or murdered out Prius primes


The best camera?

In terms of overall best camera, Ricoh GR 3X. If you’re interested in doing more cinema, vlogging, Lumix G9.

The most manly clothes?

Ironically enough Lululemon clothing.

I recommend the license to train shorts, and all of the Lululemon compression clothing for men.

The most manly phone?

iPhone mini.

The most manly shoes?

Vibram Five Fingers

The most manly investing?

Crypto and bitcoin


Workouts and exercises to do

First, hit the gym, and do either a one rep max atlas lift, or rack Pull.

Also, get a tan. Spend more time outdoors in the direct sun.

What to quit?

  1. Quit porn
  2. Quit Reddit
  3. Quit the news
  4. Quit Netflix
  5. Quit complaining
  6. Quit chasing women
  7. Quit comparing yourself with others

Quit the basic.


Manly literature

  1. The Iliad by Homer
  2. The Odyssey by Homer
  3. Will to Power, Antichrist, Twilight of the Idols by Nietzsche

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Fortune favors the strong.


Why Manliness?

I think ever since I was a kid, I always strove to become more manly, or masculine, more dominant, etc. Why?

First and foremost, I remember when I was a fat kid, and being teased, and wanting to do something about it. Thus my early impetus is a kid, I remember having a triple chin when I was around 11-12 years old, and I was motivated to make a change. I asked my mom to buy me some dumbbells, I started lifting weights, first starting with 15 pound dumbbells, double stacking them to make them 30 pound dumbbells, and then I think I later got a 50 pound dumbbell. Lots of bicep curls and shoulder presses.

Also, a funny memory that my friend Spencer always reminds me, when I started to put rocks in my backpack and go on long runs.

Media?

Certainly another big one is the media. As a kid growing up, the media I was exposed to was mostly video games, and comic book hero stuff. For example while I never read any comic books, I was really into the video game adaptations of Spider-Man, wolverine, Iron Man etc. And what do all of these superheroes share? Their superhero strength and muscles. I still remember vividly as a kid, when I withdraw my own superheroes I would always draw them with really cut, and lean and large muscles.

Also, when you draw a superhero, they always have a six pack.

Why?

Let us disregard of this modern day nonsense. Let us go back to the fountain.

What is the most classic, OG, original gangster literature we could draw inspiration and wisdom from? The Iliad by Homer.

Let us observe Achilles, the apex of manliness. Who or what is Achilles?

Achilles was a demigod, his mother a goddess, and his father a man. Therefore, Achilles was semi-deus, half men, half God.

What was Achilles’ personality? In the beginning of the Iliad, he is weary you from all of this war campaigning, he just wants to take his prize, Breusis, and go return to his land, and just chill out. Yet, because king Agamemnon seriously disrespects him, he stays by the shores and the ships, where he wails his heart out, pining for the lust of battle.

Some first very interesting things, in the ancient Greek literature, both in the Iliad and odyssey, do you have the heroes in the main protagonist crying a lot. For example, Odysseus by the shore, crying every single day, wanting to go back home to his land and his wife. Achilles also does a lot of crying by the shore, before his mom comes to comfort him.

First interesting lesson:

Real men are permitted to cry.

Yet in modern day times, it is considered unmanly to cry. Ancient Greek literature has shown that it is fine for real men to cry.

How should one interact and engage?

Post Socrates, which is during and after Socrates, much of philosophy has been around the moral and ethical philosophy. Which means,

How SHOULD one interact and engage with in the world?

For example, 99.9% of stoicism is all about becoming impervious to fate, and the external world.

It is your duty to be strong

The first thought I have is that it is your moralistic duty to be strong. To be strong for yourself, your wife, your kids, for what you believe in, etc.

Everyone has different life goals

Everyone has different life goals. Yet, in order to do or attempt anything, you must be strong.

Strength can be interpreted in many different ways. Mental fortitude, physical fortitude, etc.

Physical, physiological strength is the root of it all. Without it, you can’t do nothing.


Then how can you become more manly?

First of all, if you have testes, a.k.a. balls, and a penis, you’re a man. Everyone has the right to choose their gender orientation, but, if you were born with balls, you’re a man.

First, the physical strength component. Can you imagine a superhero who doesn’t have superhero strength? Let us consider all the superheroes, they all have superhero strength. Superman, Spider-Man, Wolverine, etc.

How do you build superhero strength? Very simple. One rep max lifting at the gym. I suggest atlas lift and very heavy rack pulls— never more than one single repetition. A simple way to progress is start off with the bar, just do a single repetition, add a 45 pound plate to each side, do a single repetition, and keep progressing.

When you get near your limit, test your limit, and when you figure out what your hard cap limit is, a.k.a. the point in which the weight just won’t budge, then you could adjust as needed.

When you are able to hit a new personal record, then the next time you do it, or the next week, simply add a 2.5 pounder on each side.

A simple progression is that let us consider, if you are able to successfully add a 2.5 pounder on each side of the barbell (5 pounds in total) week over week, that means if a year has 52 weeks, 52×5 is roughly 250 pounds. If you keep up a simple progression, increasing the weight maybe by 3% or even 1% week over week, you should be able to gain and increase your total personal record by at least 200 pounds a year.

Certainly there are some limits to human strength. For example, while Hafþór was able to deadlift 501 kg, around 1200 pounds, it is difficult to imagine a human being lifting 100,000 pounds.


The mental thing?

I know this is the philosophical pursuit:

How SHOULD a “real man” interact and engage with the world around him?

This is where philosophy comes in. Ultimately, there are no moral or ethical truths. In someways, the philosopher is a value-setting tyrant. The philosopher doesn’t need to quote statistics, or past thinkers. The philosopher can simply state his or her opinion, carte blanche, first principles, asserting what he or she believes in, without needing any “proof“, or “data.” My simple rule of thumb is this:

Never trust anybody who quotes the “data“, or “statistics“.


SUPERHUMAN.

How to become superhuman:


What does it mean to become superhuman?

First of all, everyone is human, and everyone has the ability to become superhuman, irregardless of race, gender, sex, nationality etc.

Super simply means above.

Therefore, becoming superhero or a superhuman is simply a philosophical concept.

To me, I have some ideas:

The first idea is that one must strive to gain superhuman strength. For example, my Atlas lift of 890 pounds, which is nine plates, 10, and a five pounder and 2.5 pounder taped on top. Considering that I maxed out the barbell, I just ordered a Texas power squat bar, with longer sleeves, black zinc with chrome sleeves, which should allow me more leeway to add more weight, “safely.” My new current strength goals:

  1. Atlas lift 1,200 pounds
  2. Rack pull, 950 pounds
  3. Floor bench press, 750 pounds

Why superhuman strength?

First of all, you can easily achieve this without taking steroids or any weird stuff. If you are an avid gym goer, I easily suspect you could at least atlas lift over four plates, five plates, six plates, seven plates, eight plates. A simple innovation I’ve made in the realm of weightlifting is this:

Reduce the range of motion, increase the weight.

It is funny because this is actually far “safer“, than doing the “full range of motion.”

What do I feel like the day after doing an atlas lift of 890 pounds?

The funny thing is with traditional squat, everyone is always so concerned about their knees, and maybe their back. However after doing the atlas lift of 890 pounds, my current personal record, and being insanely sore the day after, I don’t really feel anything on my knees nor my back. I feel it all in my traps, my neck, and my upper back.


How to do the atlas lift

To do the atlas lift, the general gist— imagine like you’re doing a standard squat, just get under the bar, and just try to lift the weight up with your shoulders and your legs, and just get it off the rack even half a centimeter, hold it for a few seconds and just put it down. And this is the reason why it is so safe:

If you’re not strong enough to lift it, it just won’t budge.

Truth be told when it comes to the gym and weightlifting injuries, typically speaking it is not from one rep max attempts, but rather, churning out multiple repetitions of some exercise. For example, a lot of people get injured when “training to failure“. Also, I think 99.99% of injuries at the gym involve some sort of bench press, shoulder press, military press, or overhead pressing motion thing. It seems that human shoulders are actually quite fragile, but what is insanely strong and robust? Human legs.

Also a good reason not to do CrossFit. I think the whole methodology behind CrossFit is insanely bizarre, as it yields numerous shoulder injuries, from a lot of athletes trying to churn out multiple shoulder presses and clean and jerks and shoulder cleans at a certain fast tempo, and also trying to train their “endurance“. Also, I have never met a CrossFit athlete in real life with a demigod physique, the only ones I have seen with impressive physiques are the ones who perform at the CrossFit games, who are all certainly on steroids, both the men and women.

No more bench

Therefore, stop doing bench presses or shoulder press exercises. Instead, only do leg exercises.

Also, the upside of doing leg exercises is that your leg muscles are at least 100 times bigger and stronger than your arms and upper body. The real demigods have demigod legs, and torsos, relatively small chests and shoulders. What is more impressive is to have an insanely muscular thighs, legs, and back. Biceps, shoulders, and chest is overrated. For example just study the Farnese Hercules proportions by Richard Dalton.

Biceps are for losers

In fact, I believe that you can simply get rid of all bicep exercises, and just replace it with heavy one rep max rack pulls instead— 780 pounds and beyond. This will also build you an insanely superhuman back.

I believe that with superhuman strength, you will naturally boost all of your productive hormones, whether it be your testosterone, adrenaline, or any other hormones we have yet discovered.


Superhuman productivity?

Also, I think all of us Silicon Valley tech nerds strive to become super humanly productive. However, nobody has ever given this a critical thought.

My simple thought is that productivity means producing much. To become less distracted, more focused, email and phone minimalism.

For example, a practice I have kept up for a long time is this: everyday, uninstall at least one app from your phone, iPad, or laptop.

For example, a list of things you could uninstall from your phone with zero negative consequence:

  1. Uninstall Gmail or your email app from your phone. If you really need to send emails, just do it from your laptop or desktop.
  2. Uninstall Netflix, or any streaming service things from your phone. Better yet, unsubscribe from any streaming service subscription, whether it be Netflix, Amazon prime video, Apple TV+, Hulu, Disney+ etc. If there’s a brand new show or series that you really want to watch, like the Mandalorian, just subscribe for it only, and then once you’re done watching the series, Unsubscribe from the service, and also delete the app from your device or phone.
  3. Uninstall all social media things from your phone, uninstall YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc. If you want to access these things just do it from your laptop.

Superhuman sleep

A foolish optimization that a lot of people do is that they think in order to become more productive or superhuman, it is to sleep less. However conversely I believe the opposite; to become superhuman you strive to sleep more. For example, if you want to become more superhuman, I suggest trying to sleep at least 10 to 12 hours a night. Even Seneca when he sleeps well, he will sometimes sleep for 13 to 14 hours straight.

How can you sleep more? It is mostly via negativa:

  1. Quit alcohol, it impairs your sleep
  2. Quit weed, marijuana, or smoking weed, THC, cannabis, weed vapor, weed gummy’s, etc. While this does help you fall asleep, it impairs the quality of your sleep
  3. Don’t use melatonin to fall asleep
  4. Charge your phone or your iPad or your device in a separate room
  5. If you need to fall asleep at night, read a paperback book, don’t use Kindle or iPad, because it still engages your brain
  6. Don’t take warm showers before you sleep, only take cold ones. Your body actually requires a small dip in temperature in order to fall asleep
  7. For dinner, have 100% carnivore dinner, striving to eat foods as high in cholesterol as possible, beef liver, beef heart, beef intestine, beef ribs, beef neckbones etc. This will help you fall asleep better.
  8. During the day, go to the gym at least once, maybe even twice. Attempt a one rep max lift of something, and I can guarantee you will sleep well at night.

Why become superhuman?

I think everyone in life wants to be happy. But once you’re happy, then what?

For myself, my only life goal is to become stronger, more powerful, both metaphorically and literally.

Always striving to go beyond

It seems that no matter how much we have, we always want more. And I think this is a good thing. Why? I believe one of the greatest virtues of being human is always striving for more. Without this, there is no reason to live, no optimism in life.

I think the world-weary line of thinking is this:

Life is all about suffering and pain, and the way we should strive to live is to reduce pain and suffering as much as we can.

I personally believe this to be a very anemic and weak line of thinking.

Instead —

Life is great, and being born is the greatest blessing that any human could have ever wished for.

Then the question is, how can we strive to live life to the max?


Superhuman thinking

Peter Thiel one said, it is better to risk boldness than triviality.

I believe that one of the greatest virtues of America, being American is that it is the land of infinite possibility, imagination, and possibility.

For example, nothing is promised or guaranteed in America, it seems that the only promises that we got in modern-day life is the promises of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Also, what is promised in America? Justice, the law, protection of private property etc. But beyond this, nothing. In fact, I believe life in America to be cold, cruel, hard, and mercurial. There is zero to little assistance for the poor, homeless, or even people struggling. Social services are a farce.

However irregardless of this, I suppose the good thing is that everyone has the freedom to get a job. I think In-N-Out Burger pays $20 an hour!! Even apparently nowadays, starting salary at McDonald’s is $16 an hour!


Think insanely epically

What makes Elon Musk so great? He is just a mere human, yet, I think it is his insanely epic vision which is the most admirable. For example, wanting to put humans on Mars, and also, starting spaceX, cofounding a Tesla, and transforming Tesla into what it is today. Honestly anybody who criticizes or critiques Elon Musk is a small human being.

I say in life, considering you only got one, better to aim insanely insanely high and fail, then to set your sights too low and obtain them.


Elevate your thinking

Fresh new EK EXPERIENCES:

  1. Become superhuman in DOWNTOWN LA, June 17, Saturday, 2023
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How to think beyond

  1. Read the Iliad and think to yourself … what is NOT said or mentioned?
  2. Read Zero to One by Peter Thiel
  3. Read Invent and Wander by Jeff Bezos // my book notes.

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Stuff I’ve been buying

  1. Texas squat bar— black zinc with chrome sleeves. Chris the manager at my gym said I could just buy it, bring it into the gym, and leave it there, and use it at the gym! I plan on just using it at the gym, letting other people use it, and when I ultimately move to LA, just bringing it with me. I also read a funny review on the Texas power bars website of a user, who said that while some people leave their kids fancy watches, I will leave Seneca behind this Texas power bar, and I cannot wait until he could at atlas lift over 1500 pounds!
  2. I’ve discovered that buying floss is not a sustainable option. Ultimately you always run out of floss, which is insanely annoying. I ordered a portable water pic on Amazon, and it is the best thing ever. I like it more than my iPhone! I’m amazed at the battery holds the charge for so long, and also it delivers a lot of power. It is really good for me, because after I got braces, my teeth are insanely tight, and there are always meat chunks and other things which are stuck in between, which makes flossing and cleaning my mouth a pain in the ass. This water pick is totally worth it.

Future thoughts

  1. I’m really interested in the new Vinfast electric cars, not because it is the best car, Tesla is, but I am just so impressed that within such a short period of time, Vietnam was able to produce her own electric car, and sell it successfully in the states! From a entrepreneurial perspective, this is insanely inspiring.
  2. I really like the design of the new electric polestar cars, yet when you’re inside it, the interior actually feels very cheap. Don’t be fooled by all of this fake Swedish marketing, Volvo was bought out by a Chinese company, and polestar is also effectively a Chinese company (Geely). While I have nothing personally against China and mainland China, the issue with China and Chinese corporations is that ultimately they always cut corners, because they are more profit driven rather than soul driven, like let’s say a Steve Jobs.

Photo thoughts

What is the future of photography? I’m not really sure, but I’m going to make it.

Start off with arsbeta.com


Forward the turbo!

If this even gave you one interesting idea, feel free to forward to a friend!

EK NEWS


Start, Books


Fortune favors the insanely brave!


Books to read

  1. Iliad PDF
  2. The Will to power pdf

More EK BOOKS >

Conquer on!
ERIC

GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER.

After a lot of thinking and philosophizing, this is what I have gathered:

I think the ultimate privilege is simply to strive to make great photos, become a great photographer, and become an ever greater photographer.


How?

The first thought to think and consider is this:

What does it mean to become a great photographer, and is it even a possible thing to become the “greatest“ photographer?


Being inspired to make photos until you die at the age of 120

OK so let us assume that I could predict with you with 100% certainty that you will live to be 120 years old, in phenomenal health. If that were the case, how can you structure your life in such a way which allows you to stay inspired and motivated to make photos until you die at 122?

First things first, don’t own a home. At worst, just own a condo. A lot of my successful friends, like my friends Don Dillon and Tim Flangan have done this; the upside of owning a condo is that you can just travel, and travel the world, and ultimately you will still have somewhere to keep your stuff, and go back home to. And at least when you’re on the road, you don’t have to worry about maintaining your home or the outside of your house.

Second, structuring your life which allows maximum movement and independence. This means a life in which you spend a good amount of time on the road, traveling, in other foreign places. It could be as simple as wing road trips in America, or more complex like traveling internationally. The world is a big ass place. And this is what gives me great hope.

For example, there are still 1 trillion places that have not yet been to, which I am interested in. I’m interested in going to Lagos Nigeria, Morocco, South America, Eastern Europe, Hungary, etc. And before all of this Ukraine Putin stuff, I was very interested in going to Russia Moscow.

Making great photos

I hate to say it, but certainly there is a hierarchy in terms of great photos compared to not as great photos. What is the differentiating factor?

For myself, when I study the work of Henri Cartier Bresson, and look at his more advanced works, he is really good at the arabesque composition. The squiggly line composition, which adds elegance to his photos.

Also, a Dionysian aesthetic. This means a dark, hard aesthetic. Extremely high contrast black and white, extremely high grain. For example, lately I’ve been shooting on my Lumix G9 camera, after my Ricoh GR 3X broke. I was able to use the in camera JPEG setting of dynamic monochrome, adjusting the contrast to the max, the grain to the max, and I think I have discovered a new aesthetic which I might even prefer over the Ricoh GR 3X in camera high contrast black and white.

In terms of longevity, I believe black and white is more durable than color. Why is this?

First and foremost, we don’t see the world in black-and-white. This alone is the massive differentiating factor between black-and-white photography and color photography.

Secondly, color, color science, digital cameras, sensors, sensor technology is always changing in terms of color. Also JPEG, RAW settings. CMOS vs CCD sensors for color, etc. this alone is a massive headache; and there is also a quadrillion different types of ways to print color, display color, and also view monitors with different color profiles etc. Black and white makes your life 1 trillion times easier.


The path to become a great photographer

How does one become a great photographer?

I think first of all, I think having an over stated ego, over inflated ego, over inflated self-confidence is a virtue and a good thing. First, I think you must have the desire, the audacity, and also the chutzpah to desire to become a great photographer.

I believe the 99.99% issue with modern day life is that it is considered immoral to desire to become great. That somehow, greatness, and striving to become great, is actually considered a vice.

Modern day life says one must be quiet, low-key, and ashamed of oneself. It is considered a vice to self promote, have self confidence in oneself etc.

I say, perhaps the best thing you could teach yourself, and also teach our kids is in fact to gain more self-confidence, to gain more audacity.

Great aesthetics?

In terms of making great photos, my simple thought is that making great photos is all about making photos which are strong, simple, and hard.

For example, some aesthetic thoughts:

  1. Extremely high contrast black-and-white
  2. Simple backgrounds
  3. Some sort of strong character, subject, or happening or mood behind the photo

Making “objectively” great photos?

Something which I believe which is very unorthodox:

Personally speaking, I do believe that it is actually possible to make an objectively great photo.

But the question is, who decides?

First of all, you decide. Then maybe EK or arsbeta.com can decide.

Whose opinion matters?

In terms of photography, and your photos, whose opinion truly matters?

For example, do you want everyone to universally call you a great photographer, and bow down before you?

This is what I have discovered after having attended a magnum workshop, meeting Magnum Photographers, etc:

Nobody is happy.


Becoming a happy photographer?

I had a funny idea, if I want to start a gym, I want to call it “happy gym”.

Why? Isn’t the point of going to the gym just be happy, become happier?

Even Joe Gold, the guy who started golds gym said “the point of going to the gym is to have fun!”

I think the same as in photography. Isn’t and shouldn’t the purpose of photography to be happy?


Resources to become a great photographer

  1. STREET PHOTO STARTER KIT // HAPTIC SHOPPE
  2. BOOKS
  3. MASTERS // How to get started

EK WORK

CONQUER:

  1. CONQUER PHOTOGRAPHY AND LIFE IN DOWNTOWN LA June 17th
  2. July 15-16th: SAIGON WORKSHOP (details to be announced)
  3. OCT 14th— PHILLY WORKSHOP DETAILS TBA

New directions

  1. iPad is a brick? I insanely love the iPad Pro, but I’m starting to realize it is a brick. Why? I keep hitting the 2 TB family limit, and irregardless of how many times I go back and delete all of my old photos and videos etc., I still keep hitting the max. Perhaps it is a good time to just transition back into Adobe Lightroom or Lightroom classic, and just do it on my laptop, off the cloud.
  2. Testosterone in photography? It is my personal theory that there is a connection between testosterone and photography. Perhaps when we see a beautiful woman, or we want to shoot a street photo, or we want to shoot a street portrait, this boosts and affects and influences our testosterone? As a consequence, perhaps the best thing you could do for your street photography and your photography and life in general is striving to naturally boost your testosterone, consuming more beef, organ meats, and hitting one rep maxes at the gym. 885 pounds atlas lift.
  3. I’m over Tesla? Me and Seneca just checked out the new Tesla model S in ultra red, and it looks great. I think Tesla and Elon really nailed it here; the previous red colors were not vibrant nor bold enough. Now, I think the Tesla model S plaid in ultra red is probably a perfect car. Especially with the all black interior and the new yoke steering wheel; there is literally no flaws I see. Yet once I have discovered perfect, I no longer feel a strong desire or need to own it anymore? Therefore, maybe the most intelligent strategy then is to just buy Tesla stock, or invest in anything Elon Musk does. Maybe I’ll be the first person to own $1 million worth of Tesla stock, yet not actually own a Tesla car myself.

Photo

  1. How can you gain critical feedback and constructive feedback to improve your photography? Upload your photos to arsbeta.com
  2. I still think there is a very good opportunity to be had when it comes to websites and blogs for your photography. What I am personally curious about is how to design a website which is very conducive to this.