What NOT to take.

What NOT to take.

There’s a great line in hiking circles: “Backpacking is the art of knowing what NOT to take.”

When you go out camping in the wilderness, you have to carry everything with you on your back. And with a physical ceiling of only thirty or forty pounds at most, that adds up quickly, especially if you’re going out for more than a couple of days.

And if you’re going desert camping, where you have to carry your water as well (you need about a gallon- 8 lbs- per person per day, or 56 lbs per week). So natch, you have to be very selective with what you put in your backpack. 

This means focusing on essentials: good food, good solid footwear, good shelter and sleeping bags, something reliable to start a fire with… Basically, good gear and grub, in general.

This is what you’d call “principles”. You may not be prepared for every contingency, and you probably won’t know what they are in advance anyway, but with good gear and proper food, at least you’ll be in a better position to respond when the time comes.

Ditto with parenting. You may not be able to prepare your children for every bad thing that happens to them, but if you impart them with good *principles*- politeness, fitness, work ethic, discipline, sociability, honesty etc, they’ll be better navigate the minefield that is life.

And in times of great change, the same rules apply. Yes, automation is coming. Yes, the changes to the working world are going to be massive. But the question isn’t really about what companies should you invest in, or what jobs exactly will be eliminated… …But what principles should we cultivate?

This fellow says it well: “To Prepare for Automation, Stay Curious and Don’t Stop Learning”.


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