3 min read

#2109: Spandex means speed, cooks should clean, & treasure reveals

This week felt chaotic, but I managed to:

More spandex = more speed

My wife isn't thrilled about me appearing on the internet in a skinsuit, but you can't do a world-class transition without one. (No doubt y'all should stay subscribed if only for the highly anticipated video launch date.) It might be the only thing I'll ever be able to compete with Jornet on.

Whether watching a skimo transition or the perfect preparation of tiramisu, it's easy to focus on what's being done. But the real magic of mastery comes from what isn't done. That's the hidden power of outstanding performance.

An "okay" skin-to-ski transition is 60 seconds; a decent one, less than 30. A good one? Less than 20 seconds. (Most backcountry skiers will take 20 minutes.)

To be that efficient—you don't try and go fast—you do the minimum number of movements with the maximum focus and intention. It's a similar idea to half-assing it with everything you've got.

The slacker in you rebels against pointless tasks, and the tryer in you wants perfection. So satisfy both: aim for the minimum necessary target, and move there as efficiently as possible.

Cooks should clean

"I'll cook, you clean" is a bullshit line that I've always hated.

It's the equivalent of "I'll make a mess, you clean it up." (And you better be thankful for the privilege.) It incentivizes chaos by removing the consequence of bad planning. I guess being messy makes the cook feel artistic.

So I was thrilled when I discovered that professional chefs don't waste time being sloppy. They are type-A to a "T." It's even part of their education.

By being organized, you will be more efficient. By being more efficient, you will have more time in your day.

And in your evening. Because when you finish cooking, the cleaning is done too.

In his book, Everything in Its Place, Dan Charnas details the habits of high-level chefs and how to apply them to everyday life.

As it turns out, chefs don't make a mess. Cooks do.

Honor agreements, dash expectations

Until I read The Almanack, I'd never heard of Naval Ravikant. Although a trendy Twitter topic, it turns out he has some pretty good ideas. Among them is the idea that you need to honor your agreements but dash expectations.

If you hurt other people because they have an expectation of you, that’s their problem. If they have an agreement from you, that’s yours.

I have a rule that I do not honor plans made for me without my consent. I sabotage them on purpose to prevent the assumption from being indulged in the future. I'm glad that someone sees things similarly.

So perhaps the Ravikant trend is justified. I'll soon have more on that in my opinionated restructuring of The Almanack which I'm calling The PDF of Naval Ravikant.

Treasure reveals

My dad often says, "Money doesn't change people. It just reveals who they've always been." It turns out pirate treasure works similar magic.

Pirate Hunters, by Robert Kurson, is the second in a pair of great books about the prolific wreck-diving career of John Chatterton. Among his thought-lost-but-he-found wrecks was The Golden Fleece, located 323 years after the Royal Navy sunk it by cannon fire.

In 1684, Joseph Bannister—until then a successful merchant captain—stole The Golden Fleece from the British government, recruited 100 men, and gave up a respectable life to become a pirate. Two years later, the Royal Navy hung Bannister from a yardarm just offshore of Port Royal, Jamaica, the most lawless city in the world. (In 1692, Port Royal sank. )

Treasure shows who you really are. It strips away every façade you’ve constructed, every story you believe about yourself, and reveals the real you. And you needn’t find a single coin to know. It’s enough to get close to treasure, to believe it within reach, and you’ll have your answer. For that reason, treasure is crisis, because what you get in the end is yourself.