Have you noticed how we always celebrate new technologies and novel ways of doing things?
Change is exciting. But after that excitement wears off, we have to ask ourselves: does this actually make our lives better?
Sometimes “more, bigger, better” isn’t actually better. Occasionally we find that we got it right the first time. Or at least pretty close…
Below are 5 classic things that are still better the old-fashioned way.
Watch the video below or continue reading.
Big thanks to OneBlade for making this post possible! The OneBlade single-blade razor is engineered to deliver zero nicks, cuts, bumps, or ingrown hairs. Click here to learn about the OneBlade CORE Starter Kit.
1. Writing Handwritten Notes
There’s no doubt that tools like email, IM and text have made it faster and easier to share ideas, keep people updated, and to maintain relationships.
But in some ways, those technologies have also made communication less personal. The convenience of writing an email vs. writing a letter makes it a lot easier to be sloppy and not really be fully present.
That’s why I think writing hand-written letters and notes is even more important than ever.
First of all, it’s impossible to cut and paste a handwritten letter. So even if that handwritten note is only 3-4 sentences long, for the recipient it’s a special thing. It shows that you gave your undivided attention, if only for a moment, to think of them.
A few years ago, my friend Kyle Boureston—who besides having an awesome first name also has another great “man website” called Mantelligence—came to my holiday party in San Francisco. A few days later, my wife and I received a handwritten card thanking us for the great party.
It was only a few sentences, but the fact that he took the time to write it in a card and mail it made it way more memorable and classy.
Immediately I thought, “Damn, it was bad enough that half the single women at our party wanted to jump him. Now he has to go and do this? Frickin over-achiever!”
But seriously, that old-school, personal touch of a handwritten letter or thank you note is something that can’t be replicated by any form of electronic communication.
2. Traditional Wet Shaving
Have you ever noticed how mass market cartridge razors are always coming out with a new model? It’s always about more blades and more whiz-bang…and MORE MORE MORE?
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The thing is, when it comes to shaving, more blades aren’t necessarily better.
Think about it: when you get a great shave from a professional barber, what do they use? A single blade. Because when done right, a single blade can give you a closer and more comfortable shave.
Even with a multi-blade cartridge razor, there’s usually one blade that does the “heavy lifting” to cut the hairs. For the most part, the other blades are just scraping your skin, causing unnecessary redness and irritation.
Old-school safety razors are great for getting a close shave, but they can also be intimidating, especially if you’re learning how to wet shave for the first time.
OneBlade: A New Take on Old-School Wet Shaving
Now, a company called OneBlade has come out with a razor that helps preserve that simplicity and precision of single-blade shaving—but they’ve added a few features that incorporate modern comfort and forgiveness.
It took them about 2 years and over 1000 prototypes to develop the OneBlade System. After deconstructing tons of razors, they realized that one thing new razors had right was the pivoting head, which allows for a better, closer, safer shave since it contours to your face.
The result is a single-blade razor that’s really easy to use and gives you a smooth, super-close shave—but without the aggressiveness of the extra blades that sometimes cause razor burn and ingrown hairs.
When OneBlade originally launched, they came out with a higher-end model called Genesis, which ended up winning a bunch of awards. But it also cost about $400.
Their new model, the OneBlade CORE Razor, is modeled after the Genesis, but it’s more affordable at around $50.
Aside from the sleek look of the razor and its pivoting head, it feels very much like an old-school safety razor. It has a solid stainless steel core handle that’s been perfectly weighted and balanced.
Since I have a beard, I don’t shave with a blade that often. When I do, I’ll use my double-edged safety razor. But getting the blades on and using the safety razor can sometimes be a little tricky. The CORE Razor uses single-edge blades, which makes them easier to put on without cutting yourself. And they make an audible click when you put them in, which is helpful.
The guys over at OneBlade firmly believe that less is more. I appreciate that even after all that R & D, they didn’t overcomplicate the design by adding more bells and whistles. Instead, they doubled down on something that already worked—the classic single-blade system—and made it easier and more comfortable to use. That’s why I think the OneBlade can provide a great wet shave for beginners.
If you’re interested in the CORE Razor, they have a special CORE Starter Kit which includes: the CORE Razor, a display stand, a premium shaving brush, moisturizing shave cream, post-shave repair gel, and 30 Feather blades (around $125 including shipping). Learn more.
3. Real Face Time, Not Just Facetime
Being able to video chat in real time with someone across the country (or even across the world) is great. But it’s no substitute for good old-fashioned, face-to-face time.
This is true in your professional and personal life.
I remember when I worked in advertising, I found that I could get more accomplished spending 2 hours in person with my clients than in 2 weeks over email or phone.
Was it just because they just liked having me around?
Well, as I mentioned in one of my other videos, it probably didn’t hurt that I often brought donuts to the office. Donuts are like kryptonite for marketing executives. Anyway…
The reason why we got so much done is that being there in person removed all the “friction” for them to communicate with me. Normally if they were starting a new project, they would have to sit down and type an email and really think through the direction they wanted to give.
But with me there in person, it was easy to just chat about it casually. I could help them formulate their thoughts about the project even before we got started.
Of course, it’s obvious that genuine face time is great for personal relationships too. That’s why it’s often easier to rekindle an old friendship by hanging out for a long weekend—just 48 hours of concentrated in-person time—than it is through a series of Skype calls or IM threads.
Partly, it’s because being together in person makes it so much easier to read the nuances of each other’s body language. But also, it forces both of you to give your undivided attention and completely focus on the other person.
As good as video chat technology is, it’s still no replacement for being there in the flesh.
4. Photos You Can Hold in Your Hand
I’ll be the first to admit that digital photography is an amazing advancement.
Back in the day, I just had my trusty Kodak Disc. It was an awesome camera, but I remember that I had to be really choosy about how to use those 24 exposures.
Yep, just 24. I know for some of you that’s how many selfies you take before 10AM.
So being able to take 1000 photos and never pay for film is HUGE. But here’s what I miss about old school photography: having photo prints.
Now we take pictures all the time, and where do they usually end up?
Besides the few pics that get posted on social media, most of them wind up on a computer tucked away in some folder. And yes, occasionally we remember to scroll back through those old pictures…or maybe if we’re lucky we make one of those looping screensavers so we’re reminded of them.
But that’s nowhere near as good as having physical photos on display—either in a frame on the wall, or in a photo album, where you can flip through them while sitting on the couch.
That’s why whenever we can, my wife and I try to make prints of our digital photos or make one of those custom printed books—especially for special occasions like vacations.
There’s still nothing like having real, physical photos around your house—they’re a constant memory of special times, and a great conversation starter with visitors.
5. Staying Connected to Local Merchants
Being able to buy things online is a lifesaver. First of all, it definitely makes Christmas shopping waaay easier.
I also recognize that I have a Pavlovian addiction to buying books on Amazon. I can feel my pulse elevate ever so slightly when my thumb hovers over the “buy now with one click” button on the Amazon app…and again when I see that beautiful smiling yellow package on my doorstep.
But, there’s definitely something lost in not patronizing local stores. For one, you miss out on developing a relationship with the store owners. How great is it when you can walk into a place and get the “Norm” treatment from Cheers? Where everybody knows your name…
Also, before we relied on fancy computer algorithms tell us “you might also like…” that kind of helpful information used to come from a human store clerk. And yes, (gasp) that meant you had to talk to a real person. But that interaction, and getting their perspective, was part of the whole experience of shopping.
Aside from the personalized attention, you often get a better-quality product by shopping with a local small business. For example, going to a local butcher who still does whole beast butchery: some of those butchers can not only tell you how fresh the pork chops are, they actually saw where the pig lived and they were there when it was slaughtered. With that kind of intimate knowledge of the product, they can’t help take more pride in what they’re selling to you.
So, while it often seems like new-fangled things are automatically better…and that “more is more,” sometimes that’s just not the case.
What other classic things do you think are better the old-fashioned way? Leave a note in the comments.