THE ARTICLE IN SHORT
When I was younger and had less money because I was studying, I used to watch out for offers and low priced merchandise. That also meant buying lower quality food as long as the price is right. "Bio" and local was a niche back then and not very popular in rural areas. Since I started to earn an income my attitude changed in a lot of ways. I'm more aware of the impact which our buying decisions make, Quality oftentimes beats quantity, even though our mind wants to tell us otherwise. What are the things I spend more money on now compared to when I was younger? Why did I decide to spend more and why do I think the ROI is higher even though it's less things?
Since I was involved in economics, I wanted to start my own business one day. I had countless ideas for sure. From a coffee-mint shower gel, to a perfume line, to imported electronic gadgets and many more. What often stopped me was the underlying feeling that the world doesn’t need MORE. There is no need for yet another cheap wireless headphone. There is no need for another plastic article which ends up as landfill or even worse, in our oceans. I think the solution to a lot of problems we're facing lies in having LESS, instead of more.
I guess my grandpa has around three pair of trousers and he looks fantastic in all of them. He’d never consider (and probably never understand) the concept of fast fashion. He grew up during a time (WW2) when resources were scarce and saving was the highest priority. They made a lot of things for themselves (even tools, razors, furniture) and tried to maintain it as long as possible. The family history in combination with the book “Essentialism”, as well as the movement of minimalism, inspired me to look into my own lifestyle. I took the challenge of removing 1 item per day for 30 days and intend to do it again. Yes, it gets harder with each item thrown out but at the same time it is satisfying and relieving.
The approach left me more fulfilled and I wanted to apply it to other categories in my life as well. Sports, biohacking equipment, supplements, morning habits and so many other things. Looking into these areas I noticed that I already changed my approach to certain buying decisions. I want to share those with you. What are the things I decided to spend more money on, even if it means having less (and maybe less frequent bursts of excitement)? Why would I recommend doing the same? What is the change of experience for me?
Because your food is what fuels our body. If you put bad food in your system, your cells, muscles and even your brain, all have bad material to work with. If you want to perform better in your job and generally everything in life, watch more carefully what you fuel up with.
I have “upgraded” a lot of products in my assortment. Olive oil, coffee, green tea, eggs and especially meat are all products I only want to accept a certain quality of. An egg is “produced” by a hen and the quality of life this particular hen determines the quality of the egg. If the hen only gets corn and antibiotics, what do you think your egg is composed of?
If you buy the cheap eggs from the discounter you can be sure you are getting some very cheap ingredients, just in the form of an egg. You are eating corn and antibiotics. The same goes for meat and animal products in general. But also vegetables, which are grown in artificial soil, will lack the natural nutrients like vitamins and minerals that our bodies require for high performance. Not even to mention the lack of taste.
I feel much better and healthier when working with high quality material in the kitchen. Just imagine a Pizza. Only a few ingredients but with the right flower, a high quality tomato sauce and a good mozzarella cheese, your pizza will be delicious. Take cheaper products and the taste experience will suffer.
I have more energy when eating high quality, wholesome and natural foods and am much less dependent on supplements.
Because how good you sleep will greatly influence your performance. Maybe even more than movement and food. With a lack of sleep your cognitive systems will suffer a great deal and your performance will take a big hit. Sleep not only influences your cognitive performance but also your sports and recovery systems. It is the foundation of increased mental performance as well as physical performance.
I've bought a new bed upon learning about the importance of good sleep. To make sure the foundation for high performance is strong. For a good night’s sleep the environment is of utmost importance. Make sure your bed is comfortable while supporting your spine. If you sleep with a partner, choose a mattress which doesn't transmit each and every movement from the other side of the bed, so you won't be disturbed. Furthermore your room should be:
It should be as close to a natural sleeping environment as possible. Fresh and cool air, dark as in a cave as well as quiet. Also avoid chaos so the room has a calming effect on your mind. The room should be for sleeping and other bed related purposes only, meaning no TV or work in bed!
My sleep has changed a lot and even though I still need a relatively high amount (between 7-8 hours) to function at my highest level, I feel much more refreshed in the morning. Most noticeable for me was that my muscles feel much more tender in the morning. I’m not as stiff anymore the day after a workout. I would never want to give up on that bed anymore.
The textile industry is one of the worst polluters on the planet and fast fashion in particular. I work in the textile industry myself but the company is producing high-quality products which are meant to last longer. In my opinion that is an approach in the right direction. The people who work there can afford a life and in turn spend money in the local economy. Therefore the area is wealthier, healthier and provides a good standard of living. Also I feel much more confident in clothes that I know have a heritage and are made with love.
Last but not least I actually save money. As I love to wear the items more carefully, it results in a lower cost per wear than you get out of cheaper items.
I reduced my wardrobe to basic items and colors which I can mix and match easily. Saves me money, time and nerves. I also buy more high quality items which means I have less clothes but with a much better fit and overall appearance.
My wardrobe is now at a point where I can combine almost anything. It takes away a lot of stress in the morning as I can just grab something and it will match. I buy much more consciously and rather invest a bit more money in something I know will last longer. On top I’m more confident with the items I’m wearing now.
(Unpaid Ad: I love the brand Hanro of Switzerland. Their “Living” range includes one of the best T-Shirts and Loungewear I ever got my hands on. They produce in Austria & Portugal with the highest quality materials available. Link: www.hanro.com).
The best investment you can make is in yourself. We all heard of that. But one thing is for sure: I wouldn’t even be where I am today without the countless lectures I attended and the inspiring people which helped me to learn, grow, adapt and succeed. I consider every cent invested in books, courses and studies as the best investments I made so far.
Courses (online & offline), study programs, books and documentations. But also with learning, sometimes less of something gets you further than more. Information can be addictive and deep inside you know that reading yet another book might not get you to the place you want to be. At least not without action, guidance, etc.
I read a lot of books and every now and then I come across one that truly changes my course of life. Same with lectures and workshops. Some are nice to have, others get you to the next level. However a colleague of mine once said: "There is nothing which is not somehow good for at least something". So try out everything you can that gets you closer to your goal. Don’t be picky in the beginning.
Once you reach a higher level of performance, the thing that will be limited most is your time. You will have a tighter schedule with more obligations. I choose to spend some money to buy back time. I choose comfort in some instances (even if it means higher expenses) to free up resources in other areas.
It starts with comfort when travelling. Imagine you have to fly for 8 hours and perform as soon as you arrive (e.g. business meetings). Imagine the difference in performance when flying business class versus regular low space seats. Same goes with hotels, restaurants etc. I rather spend an extra Euro on a hotel which is closer to the city center, than to lose 1-2 hours each day for the commute. Of course this is only as budget allows.
My travel experiences have been much less stressful for both private and corporate flights. I try to fly a day earlier if I have a lot of meetings, to acclimatize and adapt to the new environment. I look for hotels which provide at least a clean and comfortable sleeping experience as I value my sleep a lot more. Also I rather spend some extra money on good and healthy food and save money on other things.
There are things where spending a bit more money has had a profound influence on my life and performance. Personally the most important areas are:
If you choose to look for higher quality in those areas I'm convinced you will feel a big difference in your performance soon. It will give you more energy, mental clarity, confidence, knowledge and peace of mind. If you have any questions regarding the different categories or what things I use in particular, drop me a mail or direct message on Instagram (@minimalist_biohacker).