Two days ago, I went to a high end tailor for the first time in my life, Dung Tailor in Saigon, Vietnam. I got measured and ordered a shirt and a pair of pants. Cost: 1,020,000 VND, or a little more than $50 USD total.
This reminds me of when I was in Chengdu, China five years ago. In Chengdu, I bought a beautiful red leather suitcase for $100 USD, and got shirts and shoes for about $5 each.
So, would it be cheaper for you to fly to another country to buy your items? Here's the calculator I'd use:
1. Figure out what you're going to pay on clothing, shirts, shoes, and hand-crafted gifts in the next year.
2. Assume you can get that at between 40% and 70% off in Vietnam, China, or a relevant part of South America if you live in a Western country.
I'm really lucky to have the friends I have. (Well, luck doesn't exist, but I'm very... blessed/fortunate/something...)
My friend Brendon and I correspond pretty regularly, keep each other on track with goals/projects, share ideas, share science papers/books. He taught me how to play Go and how to sysadmin a Linux box, and we've had lots of great chats about business, philosophy, martial arts, combat, science, learning, winning, lots of stuff. I told him my book is almost done and though isn't imperfect in some ways, it's close enough, I'm going to finish it up, and that'll free me to work on my next book, on art, on business and entrepreneurship, etc. I could re-write this sucker 3 or 4 times over the next 10 years and it'd get better each time, or I could write a book or two per year and each book I'd improve in skill. I'm going the latter route.
Still, I'm nervous and uneasy over this to some extent, actually to a very large extent, and I'm not too shy to say that. Bren wrote this to me in an email:
Incredibly exciting. Given your commitment to keep writing, I think pushing it out is a great move. The victory of achieving that will be tremendously inspiring, and you can start to get your ideas in front of people to see how they react with no further delay. Enjoy the push across the finish line. You're a great man with a great mind full of great ideas. You will do great good, which will be greatly rewarded, as greatness is all too rare a gift in this world. You will achieve great scorn, which will be promptly forgotten, as there are far too many things for a Hater to Hate in this world.
First, man, I'm so fortunate to have such great friends. Thanks, man. Intellectually I understand most of what you write, but doing it in the real world is something else entirely. Thank you for the encouragement, you couldn't possibly know how valuable it is to me and how even a few words like that help make me stronger and keep me going
I was always pretty frugal with money - I'd spend on good tools, lessons/training/classes for myself (including lots on books), on having unique or developing experiences, and on showing appreciation for people who make me successful. One of my good friends helped me finish an important business deal once that made me a lot of money, and I bought him a plane ticket to Japan to say thanks.
But I never liked spending money on comfort or luxury that doesn't serve a higher purpose. I eat very simply, I sleep simply, I don't need or want much.
Lately though, I've been thinking about how this conflicts with another goal I have - constantly improving my environment. I want every room to better because I was there. And not a little better - a lot better.
I was always a decent tipper, I'd go out of my way to tip great service in particular. But I'm thinking lately I should be an exceptional tipper, even at businesses where I don't want a long term relationship with the establishment.
Not sure why I'm starting to think this way, I'm just starting to think it's correct. I was going through Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics - in particular, there's sections on liberality and magnificence.
I've got some interesting photos to share, and I was researching whether Flickr, Photobucket, or something else is the best way to go.
After about 30 minutes, I realized I could just join both, upload my photos to both, try both out, and figure out which one is better faster than I could research. And it'd give me a more accurate understanding of how both work.
So, that's where I'm at. I've got some interesting Vietnam photos. Also, I'm not sure about crash-proofing a blog, but I get the impression that high resolution images hosted on site don't help. So I'll look to do more embeds and less uploads directly to the site, I think.
Takeaway for the day - when it's free or the cost is nominal, choose both options. Buy both guides to investing or learning a new programming language. Sift through both of them. Thinking about which sites to sign up on? Just sign up and tool around on all of them until you find one that suits you. Why not? You'll be better informed, and you'll be learning by building actively instead of just reading passively. Why do we over research things anyways? It's no good. Decisiveness. Decisiveness is good.
Well, this is cool and flattering. "Hey You - Yeah YOU - You can be an entrepreneur" was featured in The 22 August 30Startups Weekly Link Roundup.
Looks like a great site - I like the article 65+ Resources for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses, I see a couple tools in there I'm going to check out. Particularly, I've been in touch with a lot of people recently and I'm juggling a few different projects, so I'm going to check out some of the management and CRM tools linked up. It looks like a pretty carefully selected list, so I'm excited to go through that.
I dropped the site owner David Glassanos a line, I'd like to find out more about what he's up to and doing. I'll see if I can get some observations from him and share them with you - he spec'd out a concept and put some pretty interesting content and a cool design to it very fast. I'd love to hear more about how and what he's doing.
Happy to be featured there! I'll report back if I can twist Mr. Glassanos's arm into sharing some of his wisdom with us.
About three weeks ago, I recognized a common phenomenon that's hard to describe.
A lot of times, you know something, but you're not doing it. Or you're not living it regularly.
When you come across information you've already read or seen, the temptation is to say, "I already know this." Okay, you know it - but are you living what you know? If not, you might want to keep studying and practicing on that topic, even if you feel like you "know" it.
When I start reading a book on managing money, or managing time, or setting goals, sometimes I have a reaction. I say, "I already know this." But then I stop myself. Stop. And I ask, "Am I living it?" Okay, I need some goals and I need to look at them regularly. Am I doing it? If not, I'll re-read the section, or watch another video on it.
I'll be honest - it's somewhat boring going through information you've already come across. But it's necessary if you're not doing/living it.
A lot of my heroes come from the Sengoku Warring States Era of Japanese History. Here's two quotes from Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate:
"Life is like unto a long journey with a heavy burden. Let thy step be slow and steady, that thou stumble not. Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair. When ambitious desires arise in thy heart, recall the days of extremity thou has past through. Forbearance is the root of quietness and assurance forever. Look upon the wrath of the enemy. If thou knowest only what it is to conquer, and knowest not what it is like to be defeated, woe unto thee; it will fare ill with thee. Find fault with thyself rather than with others."
"The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. Patience means restraining one's inclinations. There are seven emotions: joy, anger, anxiety, adoration, grief, fear, and hate, and if a man does not give way to these he can be called patient. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience."
I think in the big picture, patience is the way forwards, the way to win. You take small actions each day towards getting what you want. But, I think it's critical to guard your time from nuisances and distractions. In micro, on the minute by minute level, I think being impatient is the better way - look to fill dead time with learning, dispense with formality and bureaucracy as quickly as possible, talk about things that matter instead of smalltalk and pleasantries, break away from organizations and people that don't respect your time. In macro, in the big picture, patience and steadiness is the way. In micro, on a day to day level, impatience is the way.
A few days ago, I got six pieces of news ranging from good to exceptional, and one piece of bad news. Of the good news were well wishes, opportunities, advice, and connections from people I care about. The bad news was almost trivial and there isn't much I could do about it.
Today I was out for a run in the park when it started raining hard. It's rainy season in Vietnam, and it came down pouring. After a minute, I gave up trying to stay dry, and enjoyed my run in the rain. I was enjoying it, mostly having my mind turned off and enjoying the audio I was listening to - a really wonderful story called "The Greatest Salesman in the World" by a guy named Og Mandino. Really a beautiful piece to listen to, read by its author 30 years after he wrote the book.
And yet, that damn bad news comes back to mind! What is this? I have so many opportunities I could think of, jump upon. I could create, produce, serve, connect, relax, enjoy, train - the whole world is open before me, and I think of trivial shit that I can't change.
I'm going to willpower this off of my mind. Being human is a strange thing.
The way I see it, if you were born into one of the Socialist Soviet Republics in 1960, you had five basic options:
1. Be a member of the proletariat, work in the Soviet machine, take what the social controllers give you.
2. Join the Party, become a social controller yourself.
3. Try to fight/overthrow the Party. You'd probably lose and get executed.
4. Mildly subvert the Party - be a black marketer or capitalist. I met a woman in Los Angeles whose family black marketed goods from West Germany into Poland, amazing woman and amazing family. Apparently they'd take defective West German products like women's pantyhose with runs in them and sell them to little kiosks for money... they were one of the wealthier families in Poland.
Kashif Razzaqui just emailed a copy of the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley:
Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid
It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.