older things are better things – wearing something in

I always cringe when I pick up a brand new book. Cringe because I know that I prefer to read from an older book. Something feels off about it. Like the laminate of the fancy new book touching my skin just feels weird? I mean I have read from many brand new books, just as I have read from a Kindle and just as I have read using my phone. But none of them compare to reading from an old book. An old, used book. A book that has clearly been read from before. A book that probably has blemishes on it and the paper feels obviously weathered.

The book does not have to be that many years old, but when you read from something USED or worn or weathered in any capacity, it just FEELS different. Maybe its the binding. Maybe its the pages. Maybe its the way the cover feels.

But I think it is something else. I think using something built to be used that is used…it leads to it feeling worn in. Worn in is a good thing. A really good thing.

Worn in is a thing that is really hard to manufacture. I mean, I am trying to think of things that come default worn in and I am struggling to find good examples.

Most everything it feels need to be worn in. When something is worn in, time takes over. There is like a melting and molding process that occurs during the wore in time that we as humans have not really figured out how to replicate using a manufacturing system.

Jeans should be worn in. We all know that. Manufacturers have tried to make jeans that come worn in. Like they have literally made jeans that come with holes in them. But that does not really compare (and I even find it to be a bit ridiculous that people pay more money to have jeans that have literal holes in them by default).

But no one prefers wearing brand new jeans or soccer cleats or running shoes or BOOKS. These things should be worn in. They should be used. If you just let them sit on your shelf, they will not actually get better. They have to be tried.

But more than just things that you put on need to be worn in.

Cities need to be worn in. You can build magnificent buildings like you have in Singapore but when you enter and there is no character you realize that the city has not been worn in. You realize that life is drowning there in staleness. It is almost like you put hand sanitizer all over the city and there is no dirt sure but there is also no life. Mission Bay San Francisco is a good example of this. It is devoid of life because it has not yet been worn in. There are tons of restaurants. They are all too clean.

Workout equipment should be worn in. I prefer to pick up weights that have been picked up before. It’s why I liked working out at Gold’s Gym in venice. Home of so many bodybuilders. I am not a bodybuilder, but picking up a weight that Arnold picked up—feels different. Less sterile. More about actually working out.

Organizational systems need to be worn in. You can write a bunch of fancy culture documents for a company and talk about the values and how the company should run but none of that will make any impact or stick in any capacity unless you actually do it. Only when you do it does it start to *feel* actually like a core part of the identity of the culture.

These are all examples, and there are many more, of where “wearing something in” actually makes things better. Yet, when we make something new, we do not consider that. Like there’s this weird paradox that exists where we think that just because something is new that it should be more valuable. We also build things with this assumption in mind. That the wearing in makes something LESS valuable and not more.

And this is why…at least I think this is why…some older things were built to last and newer things, recognizing that they could monetize by building more new things that get worse as they get worn in, do not last and are actually worse to use.

So we are left in this weird? position. Where all the new things being created, as they get worn in, are actually breaking and fumbling (after getting to the worn in stage, they eventually fall apart because they are not originally designed to be made to get to the worn in stage, because manufacturers want to sell and resell the same things to you). But the old things that were created with the intention to last actually get to the worn in stage and then stay there forEVER?

Forever in the worn in stage seems like the optimal use case for a thing that we want to last a long time. Take it out of the plastic and realize that 99% of the usage should come after the unboxing.

Old things that stick around for a long time, after they are worn in, you realize they have to hit the right amount of simplicity. I mean for them to consistently stay around, they really do not need more bells and whistles…they just need the ones that really matter. They need those to be excellent.

And that’s why old things may be better. That’s why I like clicking buttons. Tactical things. Enough touch screen everything. More switches and buttons. More consistency and permanent-ness. More things I can feel and touch. That is my dream set up.

I hate when I go to rich people house and the bathroom light has like 15 settings. One simple switch to turn on the lights. Not 100 fancy touch screen controls to turn on the lights. Make a decision. Have an ego. Be simple. Simple is hard.

That’s why simple is better.

People confuse that quite often. They think, similarly to newer is better (which as we demonstrated above is not true), that more is better. It sounds rational but is not logical to think this. Less is so often more. In basically every way in life.

Like it is tempting to think that hiring 100x more people will enable you to solve 100x or more types of problems. This has never proven true. We know this has never proven true. Yet we hope and pray and think that for some reason we will be different. So we over hire. Why? What have we done to overcome what should be humility? Nothing. We have not. We are idiots. So we fall for the more is more. In every way.

A bigger house. More friends. More stuff.

And then we break.

And then we try it again.

And then we break again. The cycle repeats. Willpower doesn’t win. Systems do.

And then one day we inevitably wake up and realize that this is all a scam and that less is more.

Less, higher quality things. That is more. That is leverage. That is what it’s like to feel alive and not have to worry about a long tail of things you do not really care about. But instead, to surround yourself with things and causes and people and places that you actually do care about. That is more is more.

Have run into this weird paradox of life—which is that it is hard to beat time.


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