Posts in "Lifestyle"

What do you think or do differently to mostly everyone else?

I’ve been watching some of the early Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes recently and theres no two ways about it — Larry David certainly thinks and does things differently to mostly everyone else.

It got me thinking, is that really such a bad thing?

Ok, so you might not want to replicate Larry David’s approach to life (although it’s an entertaining way to consume time). But, if you think or do some things differently to mostly everyone else, it means you’re consciously not taking a path that the majority expects of you. It makes you interesting and unique. It makes you stand out a little — and that’s a good thing.

I would say nearly all of the people I think are successful and interesting, tend not to follow a normal path — or they have several things about them that are unusual. It might be something they believe, that others would mostly disagree with. A habit or hobby that is different to the norm. Maybe they take unusual risks. But there is always something unique about how they think and act.

Off the top of my head, here are a few:

  • Jason Lengstorf sold everything he owned and has been traveling the world and working remotely for nearly two years.
  • Steve Jobs dressed in an unusual way, wearing the same outfit mostly every day — new balance trainers, jeans and a black roll neck.
  • Wim Hof has some unusual disease prevention and fitness habits. He takes ice baths, practices extreme breathing, swims long distances under polar ice and climbs Everest in nothing more than a pair of shorts.
  • Mark Zuckerberg & Bill Gates made risky decisions early in their career and dropped out of top colleges to start businesses.
  • Richard Branson had an unusual approach to impressing his girlfriend. He bought an island (that he couldn’t afford at the time).
  • Alastair Humphreys set off on his bike one day and ended up cycling around the world. It only took him four years.
  • Benjamin Franklin started his day in a way unlike the majority. He would take an ‘air’ bath, which involved opening the windows of his house and then sitting in front of the window naked, to get the full effects of the fresh air.
  • Nate Green works a very focused and productive ~ 4 hours a day and spends the rest of his day away from the computer, not doing work.

It got me thinking. What is it that I think or do, that other people would consider unusual?

  • I ditched my smartphone for a Nokia 130.
  • I’m not on Facebook.
  • I wake up very early. At the moment about 5:30am, but in the past I would wake at 4:00am and be in the office for 6am.
  • I’m a minimalist. I own fewer things than most people and am constantly throwing things away — normally to the dismay of Ella (usually because I’ve throw something out that she wanted to keep!).
  • I stick to a paleo diet — so don’t eat dairy, grains, legumes or processed food (well, for the most part!)
  • I don’t own a microwave. I think they look cumbersome and ugly.
  • I have zero interest in politics and don’t vote. I also do my best to ignore news.
  • I chose to step out of a high paid career to pursue a life with more freedom (this is a work in progress).

Ok, not all of the above are overly unusual, and I certainly stray from them now and again. But, they do tend to put me in the minority.

It’s also worth noting that this isn’t confined to people, it also applies to companies. When you’re looking for a company to work for, I think it’s useful to look for things that they do differently than most other companies.

Again, it might be a view they have, something about their culture, the CEO, the way they work, how they are structured etc. Beware of gimmicks though. I’ve seen some companies stand out, but only because stand outing was a specific strategy to attract talent. It wasn’t genuine.

Basecamp is a good example of a company doing a number of things genuinely differently. One that jumps to mind is they work 4-day weeks from May through to August. How cool is that? They don’t do it because it sounds cool, they do it because they believe it works for them.

What do you think or do differently to mostly everyone else?

Back to the title of the post. What do you think or do differently to mostly everyone else?

If you can’t come up with anything, it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. But, it might be a sign that you don’t experiment with things outside of the norm very often. And sometimes it’s the things outside of the norm that can add surprising value to your life.

Food for thought.. 🙂

Feature phones aren’t just for hipsters

Yesterday I overheard someone saying feature phones are popular amongst hipsters.

Recently, I ditched my iPhone 6 for a Nokia 130. I guess that makes me look like I was trying to be cool, which I definitely wasn’t. In fact, I think I look less cool — and I wasn’t cool to start with!

I did it because I was tired of being constantly connected.

The computer we carry around in our pocket is amazing. We have the world at our fingertips, but that was my problem. I was addicted to checking things — twitter, medium, public markets, email, news, instagram, bank balance etc.

I did it when I woke, when I was with people, or when I was bored by myself. Reaching for my phone to check things, that didn’t need to be checked had become a habit.

Maybe I’m more obsessive than most. Or maybe I’m more aware of my addiction. Either way, it was getting in the way of life.

I wasn’t being present and was feeling drained by being constantly connected. It was distracting me from things I wanted to do.

I tried to curb it in a few ways. I tried turning off all notifications. Then I tried removing the worst offending apps from my phone. I tried Jake Knapp’s disabling safari trick. But, I couldn’t resist checking things and always found a way around it.

I decided to try something extreme. Ditch the smart phone for a feature phone. The Nokia 130 seemed perfect. It was 20 quid. No apps. No camera. Just phone calls and texts.

Nokia 130 — Just look at this beauty!

Nokia 130 — Just look at this beauty!

I’m 10 days in and it’s been one of the best things I’ve done this year.

I had the same urges to check things in the first week, but had no way of acting on it. They became less frequent in the second week, and now I hardly get them at all.

I feel so much better. I’m more present and my mind feels less cluttered.

I also now enjoy the things I used to check too frequently more. Take Twitter for example. I used to check it 20 times a day for a few minutes. Now it’s two or three times a day for 5–10 mins. I look forward to sitting down and browsing it properly

I thought I would miss apps that are exclusive to the phone, but I don’t. The only thing I’ve found inconvenient is needing to google something on the move. But how great I feel without a smartphone far outweighs that.

The only time I pull the iPhone 6 out of the cupboard is when I run or bike. I like to use Strava and Nike + to track things and I listen to music whilst I’m exercising. But I put it straight back into the cupboard afterwards. I can use the laptop for most other things and can live without the rest.

One surprising benefit of a feature phone is the battery life. My first full charge lasted eight days. You wouldn’t think charging your phone is such a pain in the ass until you rarely need to do it.

Right, I’m off to stay with family for 3 days on the South coast. And I don’t need to pack a charger.