I don’t have a great opening to this post.
Scratch that. I’ve got it.
It’s not my usual foray into the weekly scripture that this newsletter has become, however I think you are going to enjoy it.
Here is a reenactment by none other than my friend Hulk Hogan of me starting off every staff meeting at The Fort. If you ever wondered what happens when we close the gym to clients between 1 and 3PM, this is it.
OK, now that that BTS is out of the way, I want to discuss a concept which I’ve been ascribing to for years without even realizing it. It wasn’t until I put a label on it that I was able to reflect on the fact that I’ve been participating in the movement since I was 6 years old.
I call this concept “fewer better things”.
Now, before you all start screaming “Maria Kondo” at me, fewer better things is close to what put Maria on the map, but it isn’t exactly the same thing.
Kondo is about decluttering your life and only keeping the things that are necessary and give you joy.
Fewer better things gives you a bit more credit than that. It assumes that you already know what you like – you just need to up the quality and get the full value out of that thing.
Get two sets of the 1000 count sheets that you love rather than 5 sets that are just meh. Wear the shit out of $200 dollar jeans instead of the $15 Old Navy jobbers that fall apart after the third wash. You get the idea.
(SIDE NOTE: Fast fashion is fucking terrible for the environment. So you’d be making both yourself and Greta Thunberg much happier by buying less crap)
This isn’t a new or earth-shattering concept. You’ve probably considered it already. And, even when you do the math, the cost of that high-end denim may ultimately come out to a lower cost-per-wear than the cheap stuff over the long haul.
Yet, so many of us will fall into the volume trap. Sure, having seventeen different pairs of dress shoes affords you a lot more outfit options. But how does that compare to slipping on those two incredible pairs that hold up great, look incredible with everything and feel like they were made just for you.
Better doesn’t always have to equal more expensive, either. It can be argued that a Subaru is a better all-around car than a Lamborghini. Unless you are trying to assuage your mid-life crisis or you are Rick Ross. Then a Lambo cannot be replaced.
Reflecting on it now, I think I was born with the “fewer better things” mindset. When I wanted a specific teddy bear for our first grade school play I was disappointed when it was out of stock at Toys R Us. My Mom offered to buy me two smaller bears instead. I refused. “We’ll just come back when they have the right one, Mom.”
Fewer better things can also be extended into (you saw this coming!) training as well.
Don’t get me wrong, variety can be very helpful in stimulating muscle growth and battling boredom in the gym. But it should rarely come at the expense of the basics. Continuing to improve your squats, deadlifts, presses, pull-ups, mile times and 2k rows should always be foundational to your training.
I’ve argued that if you only had a barbell, weight plates, a squat stand and a fan bike you could become an absolute machine and accomplish nearly any non-specific training outcome you desire. It could even prove superior to having too many options at your disposal as it wouldn’t allow for the distraction of novelty. It’s a prime example of fewer better things.
But lately, perhaps most importantly, I’ve been trying to bring this concept of fewer better things to my own personal mission. If you asked me what it is I want to accomplish the list would be long. I want to be a great Dad and husband and son and brother and friend. I want to run a successful business surrounded by a team that pushes me and client’s who find the value in what we bring. I want to be in great shape. I want to develop skills. I want to push myself forward.
That’s a healthy dose of a lot of worthwhile things if you ask me.
But if I had to break it all down to just one thing. One fewer better thing. I’d say my mission is to help as many people as I can. And, if I keep the interpretation of that fairly loose, I think I could make a strong argument that everything I mentioned above falls under that umbrella.
Clarity is a very powerful thing. It allows you to strip away all the non-important worries and frees you up to pursue what your heart really desires. But it’s nearly impossible to get there if you overwhelm your life with too much noise, distraction and clutter.
In an effort to honor my fewer better thing – helping as many people as possible – I’d love for you to take a minute and really break down what is essential to you. If you had to break down your mission into one sentence (to teach kids to read, to go to the Olympics) what would that sentence be? And I’d love it even more if you hit the reply button and told me what thing is. I know it’s vulnerable but actually writing it down will help you. And actually sending it will help me.
And if you can’t do that just let me know if there is anything I can do to help you.
Apparently, it’s what I’m here for.