After all of my world travels, nomading around, experimentation with lifestyle etc … this is what I have discovered:
Honestly, all places suck.
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?
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.
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;
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ultimately, there is not a better lifestyle or worse or lifestyle. Rather, whatever you propose; just be authentic.
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.
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.
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:
- 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?”
- 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!
- June 17th, Saturday, 2023: DOWNTOWN LA CONQUER YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY AND LIFE – New!
- July 15-16th: ERIC KIM SAIGON VIETNAM TRAVEL STREET PHOTOGRAPHY EXPERIENCE 2023 – New!
- Oct 14th (Saturday) PHILLY CONQUER STREET PHOTOGRAPHY – New!
CONSULT WITH EK
Get the thoughts — firstname.lastname@example.org
Elevate what is possible:
Things I’m into
- 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.
- Balenciaga — crypto shirt. Mind blown — the B for Balenciaga and Bitcoin are both “ B’s”? Get the hoodie.
- 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!
Things I still gotta do
- Start my own streetwear company, gym attire, lifestyle apparel and clothing brand
- Watch John Wick 4
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