Creation versus Consumption

debtOn page 52 of his book Debt Is Slavery, Michael Mihalik makes a point that has been running through my head for several days.

Be a creator, not a consumer.
Anyone can buy a $2,000 vintage Fender Stratocaster guitar, but can they play it?
Which is better, owning the most expensive tennis racket money can buy or winning the local tournament?
Instead of buying a $200 pair of basketball shoes, why not dedicated another 30 minutes a day to practicing ball-handling?
I am not saying that everyone should stop buying stuff. There’s nothing wrong with owning a $2,000 electric guitar. And not everybody will win the local tennis tournament.
But it’s much more satisfying to be a creator than a consumer. We should focus on improving our skills and abilities, not increasing our stack of possessions.

A quick look at one piece of my own life bears this out.

smallI like pocket notebooks. During my years as a young professional who still harbored some little sliver of a dream of someday becoming a writer, I would often pick up a wonderful, shiny, expensive new Moleskine pocket notebook. I’d keep it with me for a while, sitting down at coffee shop tables and opening it up before me, dreaming little dreams of being a great writer. On occasion, I might even write something down in that notebook.

But, after a while, I’d put it aside somewhere – in a dresser drawer or somewhere else – and then a few months later, the bug would strike me again. So I’d buy another nice, shiny, new notebook and fill up a few pages with jottings, only to eventually add it to my ever-growing pile of journals and pads here and there around the house.

Skip forward to today. Today, I keep a tiny, dirt-cheap Mead memo notebook in my pocket at all times. And I use it and abuse it. I fill that thing from top to bottom with notes, and it’s often a race with time as to whether I beat the notebook to death before I fill it with my notes. Here’s a picture of a recent one that’s actually in fairly good shape compared to how bad it gets.

Organized 1: Pocket notebook

(Incidentally, that picture is part of my earlier visual guide to how I manage the information in my life, which may be of interest to you.)

Similar to this is an epiphany I had just a month ago. I spend a lot of my time reading books and magazines, but, sadly, I was spending even more time accumulating books to read. It reached the point where my actual collection of books that I wish to re-read again and share with my children was much smaller than my “to be read” stack. So I took a stand and declared a moratorium on more books.

What good is a book if it’s not being read? What good is a notebook if it’s not collecting your thoughts? What good is a pair of running shoes if you’re not out running? What good is a keyboard if you’re not practicing your music?

A lot of us want to accomplish something great. We want to read the great works of Western literature. We want to train for and run in a 5K. We want to write the “Great American Novel.” We want to have the perfect home for our family.

The truth is that no product on earth will ever make these things happen. You can get the great books of Western literature for free from the library, but you can’t buy the time and patience and concentration to read them. You can have the best running shoes on Earth, but if you’re not out there jogging thirty minutes every day, they’re useless – the barefooted fellow will do substantially better.

You can have all the slick notebooks in the world, but if they’re just filled with empty pages, they’re useless.

Over at Get Rich Slowly, J.D. is going through a similar epiphany about his comic book collection. He looks upon his shelves of comics and asks himself the tough question: Will I ever read these?

The real question is do those comics add genuine value to his life? That’s a question he has to answer for himself. If they do, then there’s no better time than now to pop open Crisis on Infinite Earths.

If they don’t, then he might as well start packing them up and selling them on eBay, because they’re just empty clutter without the creative and intellectual spark.

If you harbor great ambitions and personal goals and find yourself buying what you need to start, but never achieving liftoff, consider a different approach. If you want to try something new, find ways to get involved with it for free before accumulating stuff and wasting money. Start with a cheap pocket notebook instead of an expensive one for your writing ambitions. Check out books from the library to fuel your reading. Start jogging with the shoes you already have. If you find after a period that the spark is really with you, then jump on board, but focus on only the items you need and have a distinct purpose for that you can’t get elsewhere.

Otherwise, you’re just accumulating and spending for the sake of accumulating and spending – and that’s a mistake.

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55 thoughts on “Creation versus Consumption

  1. Jules says:

    I completely understand. I love notebooks with good heavy paper and rollerball pens (if I had my way, I’d use a fountain pen but I’m left-handed). Alas, my pens inevitably get misplaced and my notebooks are only ever partially filled.

    Until this last one. It’s been filling up with doodles, clothing designs cribbed from the latest Vogues, writing, plans, etc…It’s damn near indispensable–it’s like a real-life PDA, except I don’t have to worry too much if I drop it in the toilet.

    For some reason I’ve been finding it’s a lot easier to be inspired if I’m writing on junk paper–paper printed on one side only. It’s almost unlimited in supply. I think it’s that I know it’s not inherently valuable so there’s no stress to come up with something worthy of putting on it.

  2. I used to have this problem as well. Except that I used to buy and voraciously read everything there was to read about investing in stocks and Real Estate…but then I never invested.
    What a waste.
    I finally stopped reading so much and started doing (or as you put it “became a creator instead of a consumer”).
    WOW, what a difference. Although I still like to read about investing, I am now actively making money in both the stock and Real Estate markets.
    Part of my problem was “paralysis analysis” and the other part of my problem was a fear of failure.
    I’m still trying to overcome my fear of failure because it is true that without risk there is no reward.

  3. Shanel Yang says:

    The title of this book reminds of the “10 Things I Wish Dad Taught Me” at http://shanelyang.com/2007/11/16/10-things-i-wish-dad-taught-me/ The first 2 of these 10 lessons are all about why having and saving money is important and to a little girl (like I was) it would have made a big difference in my life. : )

  4. Stephanie says:

    *applause*

    Excellent post Trent. I think about this when going to yoga clothing stores — how many people there actually *practice* yoga? Or are they buying the stuff hoping to one day start up a genuine practice?

    So often the purchases come before, or even instead of, the effort it takes to get involved and practice something. Like purchasing Things has become surrogate to the actual experience that the Things represent.

    You hit the nail on the head here. So sad. I hope this inspires people to get out there and *do* stuff rather than *buy* stuff.

  5. Great post! It’s all about setting aside the time to actually DO the things we dream of doing. That’s harder than just shelling out more money, and takes more persistence, but it’s much more rewarding.

    Jennifer

  6. Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy says:

    it’s always bugged me when my friends would take up a new hobby and IMMEDIATELY buy the latest, greatest, most expensive equipment to go along with it. Only to loose interest in the hobby and have a really expensive peice of junk fill their closets.

    I’m a big fan of rent-used-new philosphy when I take up a new hobby. I’ll start out by renting equipment. Then, if I feel I’ve stuck with it long enough and feel I’d like to take it to the next level, I’ll rent. If I’m still having fun after a while and I feel like I’ve reached a plateu I’ll finally spring for new equipmet…but this is rare for me.

    I’ve been playing trumpet for over 16 years and at a semi-professional level for about 10 years now, and only bought my first top of the line horn about 4 years ago.

  7. JReed says:

    Every day’s junk mail becomes a “notepad”. I cut the bottom off bills; use the back side of envelopes; the back of the one sided printed coupons etc. I put them together, staple the top and voila…a notepad. I bet I can go the rest of my life without buying a single piece of paper let alone a notebook.

  8. Niles Gibbs says:

    No matter how hard I try to use that pretty Moleskinne I carry everywhere, it’s always some throw-away mead that gets used.

  9. kelly says:

    Unfortunately I fall into this trap more often than I’d like to admit. Stephanie expressed it perfectly. I have to remind myself that I need to DO stuff not just buy it.

    Thank you for this thought-provoking post, Trent.

  10. “What good is a book if it’s not being read?”

    What good indeed! That’s why I give mine away! Next giveaway is for Clear Blogging. I even pay postage. So far I’ve given away 8 or 9 books but I’m always happy to know that someone else is able to enjoy them.

  11. I have been making a concerted effort not to buy new things without thouroughly looking to see if I don’t already have something that will do. When I went back to school I reused half filled notebooks from my university days. Paper is paper.

  12. KG says:

    I really needed this post now. Thanks.

    Just a couple days ago I bought some drawing books to add to my already large collection (at least I used an Amazon gift card). And I was debating whether to buy a nice sketchpad.

    But what I really need to do is go over the books I already own, sit down with a pencil and a stack of cheap printer paper, and DRAW.

  13. Debbie M says:

    Jules, I suddenly feel less bad about dropping a cell phone in the toilet.

    **

    Like Tyler, I’ve learned that just learning isn’t enough either. In fact, I think it’s better even to actually do something that’s boring than to just learn how to do something exciting. Reorganizing my files or re-attaching my cabinet doors or applying for a job will make me happier than learning yet another skill that I don’t use.

  14. resonanteye says:

    I use the moleskin constantly. pocket sized one. no lines just the blank pages.

    of course it’s not art I use it for but notes, reminders, lists, and stuff. they just hold up better than a mead. I also use the pocket in the back for stamps, a pen, checks, notes, receipts.

    I beat it to death and fill it with random to-do lists then I throw it out at the end of the pages.
    I used to get moleskin sketchbooks (bigger ones) but I never used them, until I looked at the pocket size and started treating them like just a heavy-duty mead-type book.

  15. Susan says:

    Yes, I too have a larger collection of books “to be read” than books I have read and decided to keep. I’ve made it a routine to get books (and movies) from the library and it has been great! Now to unclutter the bookshelves.

    Keep writing…I enjoy your site.

  16. resonanteye says:

    it’s more about viewing my possessions as tools, instead of as valuables in and of themselves. The moleskin is more valuable to me than a mead or scrap paper, but only because I’m less likely to lose it or lose loose papers from my pockets if they’re tucked into its pocket.
    I rarely buy stuff when I get into a new hobby, either. Borrow things first, figure out what I can use, then buy just the barest necessities. I don’t need jogging shoes, but I do need a pair of good absorbent socks, to run on the treadmill.

  17. Rick says:

    Great post. I think the point is: in being a consumer, we ought to *consume*. That notebook in the picture looks consumed. The horn in comment 5 seems consumed. But the yoga clothes that sit in your closet are not consumed.

    Just to reiterate what is often stated but rarely fully understood, there is nothing wrong with buying stuff, but you ought to at leaset use what you buy.

  18. Ryan K says:

    what a great post. This has really helped me 1) encouraged me to get better at and do the things I’m already doing. 2) Question whether I really need all the new gizmos for my bike…

  19. Jennifer says:

    When I was a kid and just started taking tennis lessons, I asked my dad for a tennis outfit. He told me “When you show me that you’re committed to tennis, then I’ll buy you a tennis outfit.” I don’t think I played tennis after that summer – not because I didn’t get the outfit, but because I found out I wasn’t really into the sport. It was a good lesson for me, and it saved my parents a bit of money.

    I did, however, figure out that I loved running. I joined the track team and spent my free time practicing. When my parents saw that I was serious, they bought me a great pair of track cleats, and my dad came to every meet.

  20. Brent says:

    I agree with Tyler and Jennifer. I once spent a couple of months looking to buy a canoe so I could take my family on a great adventures on a lake. (just like the outdoor magazines) It wasn’t until I went to a local state park and rented one for the day for only $10 that I realized I could have saved a lot of time and energy.by just *doing* instead of *wanting* Thanks for the reminder.

  21. SP says:

    Good post. When I first got into running, I used old shoes. Finally I bought some mid-priced shoes and used them fora while. When my knee started to pain me, I took myself to a real running shop and got fitted for shoes that supported my arch properly. Love them.

    My latest new hobby is not going so well. I attempted to start backpacking with tennis shoes and a large school bag. Ouch, pain, misery!! Sometimes, it seems, you have to get the “things” before you can really get far. Used + renting is an option though. Sometimes though, it is just frivolous consumerism.

    I read JD’s article as well. I liked where he said that things often represent who you ONCE were, or who you WISH you were, not who you actually are and what you really need.

  22. beth says:

    This is so true, and a post that I really need to come back to now and then. I have been on a mission to get my house “decorated” for the 2 years we’ve lived there, and the one before that. And I now have a half closet full of curtains that were never hung, paint chips that have never been sorted (at least I didn’t buy the paint!), and a stack of framed art that has been waiting to be hung for a year. Instead of browsing home decorating stores or sites, I really need to get everything out that we have and get the process going.

    And exercise gear is another universal constant too. I have a great elliptical, but constantly find myself shopping gym fees because I’m sure I can find the motivation *that* way. Much like I was sure I’d find the motivation if I had the equipment at home staring at me…

  23. michael says:

    I agree with the post, but I’ll say one thing about taking up musical instruments (or buying one for your child): Don’t buy top of the line, but GET SOMETHING THAT AT LEAST SOUNDS GOOD.

    If you buy a cheap acoustic guitar ($50) that sounds like crap and won’t stay in tune, you’ll quickly lose the drive to play. OTOH, if you spend a LITTLE money ($200) and get one with a nice sound that can stay in tune, you’ll enjoy it for years. Yes, there are people for whom a given instrument is “in their blood” and who can become a blues master on a cigar box, but that’s probably not you.

    The same is true of other instruments.

  24. PetMom says:

    Just last week I had a conversation with my husband about what to do with the piano I’ve had for 10 years and have played maybe 5 hours. Turns out playing piano when you’re an adult who spent all day working at a computer keyboard isn’t as enjoyable as when you’re a kid playing just for fun. I’ve gone through all the mental gyrations about it being a fine musical instrument, the cost, how beautiful it looks holding up my photos ;-) etc. And letting go of it means my dream of progressing past the 3nd grade piano book would burst! But it might be time to face reality that it could be put to much better use if we donate it to someplace like the boys/girls club.

  25. Geoff K says:

    Great article. However the concept doesn’t just cover doing activities versus paying for equipment to do them. It applies to a huge amount of life.

    Most of our waking life we are either consuming or creating. Driving your car to work? Consuming petrol and an auto industry product. Waiting TV? Consuming entertainment and electricity. Making a product in factory? Creating. Writing an insightful article on The Simple Dollar? Definitely creating.

    We are all a mix of consumers and creators to some degree but I personally feel a lot better on the creating side of the coin.

  26. Susy says:

    So true. I see this whenver I run local races. There are always the tried & true runners, which you can tell by the fact that they’re wearing a 10 year old race shirt, old shorts and shoes that look like they’ve been through hell and back. Then you see all the people that went out and bought all the running gear there is (sparkly shoes, wicking running shirts & shorts, heart rate monitors, expensive socks, GPS wristbands, etc). It always feels so good to pass all those matchy-matchy runners walking somewhere along the course. The finish line is where the truth comes out!

  27. The quote from Debt is Slavery is excellent. Thank you for sharing it!

  28. Karen says:

    Excellent post. I made myself stop buying Spanish language reference books/materials about two years ago, and use what I already have. Luckily I realized on my own that I was going overboard.

  29. Lurker Carl says:

    It’s as though we believe we can realize our goals by purchasing success without investing any time. That’s why most exercise equipment ends up draped with clothes next to the laundry room. The finest trappings without your personal involvement is only a pipe dream.

  30. Battra92 says:

    I’m not a big moleskine fan and I’ve discovered that the Hipster PDA (index cards on a binder clip) are great. I also made myself some pocket notebooks with a paper cutter, a printer (to print grids from Open Office) and a stapler. I can’t really find the equivalent in stores and I am contemplating just buying some graph paper instead to make some better ones (maybe even stitching and them myself)

    The goal I have is to have a good cheap but quality alternative to Moleskines / Field Notes. Or I could make mine with real mole skins! :)

    I’m a crafty sort of fellow so I view this as a cheap way to have some fun for a day. YMMV of course.

  31. Always nice to fly by those dentists on their $5000 carbon bikes. Too bad they can’t afford to ride more. Then maybe they would be faster.

    This year’s challenge: Wear something out!

  32. ND says:

    Always nice to read your post. Keep up a good work.

  33. Todd A says:

    If only the same thing could be said about our furniture. Best the best for looks, and then never use it because I’m too busy exercising ! I’ve been thru several couches, but the aluminum mountain bike I bought 15 years ago still looks like new …

  34. Heather says:

    This is such a great post!!! And Jules also hit the nail on the head. I like notebooks and school supplies and art supplies, but I’m extremely reluctant to open or use something because I don’t want to “mess it up.” I find that I’m more creative and use things more freely if I don’t treat it like it’s sacred. I even enjoy used books more because they are already broken in and I don’t feel like I’m messing up the covers by reading them. And here is something really pathetic – I will even put off eating choice pieces of fruit I buy (i.e. cherries), because once I eat them they will be gone, and I might not be able to afford or find more. Of course, fruit shrivels. You’d think I would learn.

  35. Nienke says:

    Great post! I used to be afraid to waste my fancy diary on possibly stupid thoughts and ended up writing nothing, but now that I buy cheap notebooks I’m always so inspired.
    I also like beading and I often buy beads at rummage sales at low prices. I bead with the cheapest beads available (seed beads). When I see other people buying fancy beads (to ‘start up’ their hobby) and then doing practically nothing with them, I just feel frustrated. You can make so much out of scrap!

  36. Rick, that is so true…that we need to actually consume, or use what we buy. And of course, we need to avoid purchasing more than we can consume or use.

  37. Anna says:

    Not only is this an excellent post, but the comments are high-quality too. They are real contributions to the discussion.

    My version of the Hipster PDA (Battra92, #24) is this: first I cut the 3 x 5 cards in half with a guillotine to make 2.5 x 3 cards; then I attach a mini binder clip at the top. Most notes can be captured in the smaller space, and the card pack and a stubby pencil (never runs out of ink) fit neatly in my pocket.

    (You don’t have a guillotine? They are worth every penny. Just keep yours on top of the refrigerator or somewhere safe where the little kids can’t reach it.)

  38. Katie says:

    So true! I spent hundreds of dollars on test prep books I didn’t have a prayer of opening before the exam. While a few of the bunch were helpful, I definitely went overboard, thinking every dollar I spent on it would reap me more points. I did well, but it had much more to with practice time than any PILE of books.

  39. Kevin says:

    GPS wristbands? $5,000 bikes? What are these people thinking?

  40. Carrie says:

    Trent, this is one my favorite posts from you and it was very timely for me. We started a rock band at work, and one of the guitar players (who’s not very good) keeps talking about this or that new piece of equipment that he needs to get to sound better. I’ve had to bite my tongue, but I want to tell him that if he spent as much time practicing as he did talking about his rock star fantasies or shopping for new gear, it would make a bigger difference. Both of my bass guitars, by the way, are old and well-loved. Yeah, I could be more fussy about keeping them pristine, but every scratch brings memories of when and where I got it.

  41. Lianna says:

    I have an action that goes along with this line of thought: Once a year I go through EVERYTHING I own. If I haven’t used it in that year, I give it away, to friends or Goodwill. Period. This yearly review forces me to be honest with myself, a cathartic experience. And it results in the satisfaction of knowing that the stuff that had been gathering dust in the corner is now out being put to good use.

  42. There are very few books on my shelves that aren’t listed on Amazon or Green Metropolis, ready for someone to take them off my hands for cash. If it’s not one of the handful – Diana Wynne Jones, Elaine Dundy, Elizabeth Wurtzel – that I’ll read, re-read, skim through 5-10 times a year – if I might re-read it once a decade, if that… then however fond my attachment, however fine a book, it’s just clutter taking up space in my life.

    Should I let a book go and later want to re-read it… well, what are public libraries, thrift stores, BookCrossing, GreenMet, Amazon et al for? Books are a luxury in terms of time – finding enough for reading – not money, any more.

  43. I think it’s not just the case that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ – i.e. one makes the best of one’s resources – but that restriction actually feeds and enhances creativity in ways that couldn’t have happened without it.

    If you don’t have the same old tools, you can’t do things the same old way. With unlimited supplies/tools/funds, that’s probably exactly what you would have done. If you read up on a lot of great inventions, many were happy accidents resulting from a resourceful response to restrictions and insufficiency.

    I try to apply this in my crafting – fewer expenditures, more ingenious application of intellect to available resources!

  44. jana says:

    I completely agree with the use ii up philosophy. We buy things for how we wish we were. And then we discover that we are that person…in your case you were always a writer but your perfectionism of having to make it perfect in the moleskin book stopped you from discovering your talent. Well said!

  45. Brent says:

    Thanks for the reminder. Last spring I spent a couple of months wanting to buy a canoe. It wasn’t until I went to a local state park on a family camping trip that I realized I could just rent one for the day for under $20. Cheaper and easier than buying and storing one. I need to remember that it’s always better to do instead of want.

  46. meepster says:

    So, wait… the message is “buy cheap notebooks – don’t buy expensive notebooks”?

    Personally, I think that if you actually use an item, you should get a top-of-the-line one, and if you don’t use it, you should not get it. If you use notebooks on a regular basis, get one that will give you pleasure – and use it, of course. It’s consumerism either way – you are either buying a crappy notebook that looks awful or a nice notebook that looks good; in either case, you are buying something. There’s really no reason to buy the crappy notebook – if you are going to use a notebook, get a good one, and if you’re not going to use it, just don’t get one at all.

    I own an expensive digital piano. I use it. If I had a cheap one, I would not use it because it would not give me pleasure to play it – it would sound awful. Generally, when it comes to musical instruments, cheap is not good.

  47. Geoff K says:

    Great article. However the concept doesn’t just cover doing activities versus paying for equipment to do them. It applies to a huge amount of life.

    Most of our waking life we are either consuming or creating. Driving your car to work? Consuming petrol and an auto industry product. Waiting TV? Consuming entertainment and electricity. Making a product in factory? Creating. Writing an insightful article on The Simple Dollar? Definitely creating.

    We are all a mix of consumers and creators to some degree but I personally feel a lot better on the creating side of the coin.

  48. Ken says:

    My born-and-bred frugal partner inadvertently produced a mantra that cured me from the type of consumerist overkill Trent is referring to:

    “Quit throwing money at your problems”.

    After that sunk in, it illuminated how people all around me were doing exactly that.

    Later, she applied a similar line of thought to books. I kept giving her articles on personal productivity, and talking about books that influenced me…eventually she intimated that I was “throwing a book at things”, instead of just living life.

    I ran across a quote from psychologist Eric Berne that acts as something of a zen koan for addressing misconceptions like these: “The moment the little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing.”

  49. Ann says:

    I have always loved to sew, but never had time. When my kids were grown, I started to pick it back up. I spent the first year at the fabric store buying tons of fabric to make this and that, but only making a few things. It finally dawned on me, when I had so much fabric that I couldn’t find what I needed, that I needed to quit buying and use it all up. Now I sew and don’t shop at all.. Novel idea. Great personal revelation!

  50. Kim says:

    My husband has been playing golf with the same set of irons for about 20 years. Other golfers poke fun at him while they show off their newest sleek shiny clubs (which they replace probably every 1 -2 years at tremendous expense). DH just smiles and keeps on playing. And wins every round.

  51. battra92 says:

    Kim, (#36) I got my set of clubs at a thrift store for $2 a club. I told my friend I wasn’t sure I would really like the hobby. I do enjoy a good trip to the driving range once in a while when I can spare the $5 but really, why spend all that money on something you use maybe once every week or so. 99% of people playing golf suck royally (I’m probably the worst golfer in history) so better clubs will just make me a broke bad player.

    Anna, I’m debating on trying the cutting 5×8 cards into vertically ruled 3x5s with the guillotine at work.

  52. Caroline says:

    Wow. Your blog is the best – you’ve got topics I’ve never thought of, and then you also express ideas that I’ve been forming for a long time in my own mind. Of course it wasn’t just noteboooks and books and even lip gloss for me – there are many examples. It’s odd how each thing seemed to require a whole new learning process, at least until the big picture formed and I realized that it’s all the same issue. Sometimes it’s not even my money that’s wasted: I asked for a Spanish class for xmas last year and got a Rosetta Stone instead. I told my parents that it was having to go to the class that would make me learn. With more than half the year gone and this lovely new still unopened Rosetta Stone, my vocabulary remains limited to words like “quesadilla” and “agua.”

  53. Tara S says:

    The best thing I have done for myself in this whole year was to give away 75% of my book collection. I _love_ books, love reading, and love finding great books. But it had turned into a burden of consumerism…instead of focusing on doing and creating things, I was weighed down by all the great books on my shelf that I could or should be reading. Now I have about 50 core books (not including my recipe books!), and a lot less baggage.

  54. Kathleen says:

    I like the Moleskine sketchbooks over just about anything, for many reasons (paper, construction, size etc), and do beat them to death, drop them in creeks, take them up volcanoes (well, 1 volcano), but I’ve used pocket spiral notebooks for years and years for writing. I’ve recently ‘upgraded’ to something which was better suited to indexing methods, but that was after 15+ years of spirals.

  55. Michelle says:

    This article reminded me of when I first joined the triathlon team at my college. A lot of people were crazy elitist goons that had all the latest stuff. . . and they were the ones that were serious–winning, coming in second or third. . . There was a small group of us beginners that used beaten up old bikes and cheap running shoes. For us the goal was participating, making the practices, getting the workouts and pushing our bodies to do something difficult. A lot of the pressure to buy expensive stuff comes from the people using it and pushing other people to do the same, and it’s difficult to ignore.

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