Gratituesday: 20 in 20

Which five items, next to your computer or smartphone, do you use most frequently throughout your day? An electric toothbrush? A pair of headphones? A notebook?

Based on how often I pick them up and how much time I spend using them, for me, it’s headphones, a reusable coffee cup, my backpack, my wallet, and my watch.

If push comes to shove, I can replace all of these for $20 in less than 20 minutes.

Sure, I have a nice watch and good, noise-cancelling headphones. But there are much cheaper backup alternatives. And the other items? They cost less than $20 to begin with.

This “rule” extends to most other items of everyday use. Phone chargers, small home appliances, office supplies, over 90% of what you need is dirt cheap and available at the click of a button or a short drive at most. This is huge. Huge. And we’re not making a big enough deal about it.

The driving force behind this convenience is called Moore’s Law. It describes the exponential growth of computing power on processing chips, but, as a corollary, it tells us we can expect costs of new technologies to drop rapidly.

In 2013, Angelina Jolie underwent a preventive double mastectomy after having one of her genes sequenced and discovering she had an 87% risk of getting breast cancer. She didn’t sequence her full genome, but if she had, it would have cost her about $10,000.

Just five years earlier, that same procedure would have cost $500,000. Today, we can sequence a full human genome for around $1,000. That’s the power of Moore’s Law and it’s also why most of what you need to go through your day is so cheap.

You might not be a minimalist. You might have a house filled with lots of things. But if you think through them individually, you’ll be amazed at how easily and quickly you’d be able to replace them if need be.

We live in the best of times. Let’s remember that we do.


About Gratituesday: By Tuesday, we're deep into thinking about what we seek. That's why it's a great day to remember what we already found. Gratitude has many benefits, but, mostly, it's an exercise in shifting our perspective. Instead of focusing on what's missing, we can focus on what we have.

And we'll be much calmer for it.

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