The New Merlin Mann and Authentic Happiness

It may not be anything new, but I see him in a new light. Why might you care? You might get ideas that improve your life and finances.

If you’re not familiar with Merlin, he’s made a name for himself in the world of personal productivity. But that’s probably the least important of his work. Increasingly, he seems focused on doing things well (not just efficiently) and bringing authenticity into our lives. And he’s kind of entertaining.

The type of authenticity can turn out to be essential to your financial strength. For example, it touches:

  • Your job – what you do and how you do it
  • How much you spend
  • How much you save and invest
  • Your goals for the future
  • How much you enjoy all of the above (your experience of it)

The Goal Behind the Goal

Unless you understand what you do and why you do it, no amount of working, saving, and investing will make you happy. And that’s the real goal right?

If you’re not happy with what you do for a living or how each day goes, what’s the point? You can’t buy happiness. You might not even make it to retirement age – stress will take you out before you even get close.

Get excited about stuff and do that stuff. The success (whatever that is), most likely, will follow. Yes, it sounds a bit on the new-age-motivational side, but it’s probably true. And if it turns out not to be, you’ll still enjoy the ride more.

In my mind, Merlin stresses the importance of why you do things and that you do them – not so much how you do them. Wanna get in shape? Move your body. Unfortunately most of us are more prone to fall into traps:

  • Thinking about how and where we’re going to exercise
  • Reading about how to exercise
  • Setting up a place to do it
  • Getting equipment (shoes, socks, sweatbands?) dialed in so we can work out
  • Designing a program to motivate and track progress

Some of those things have to be done from time to time, but not at the expense of moving around.

So… How’s this About Money?

Why is this on a site about personal finance? It could be related.

Personal finance is about spending less than you earn, saving and investing, and enjoying life. Unfortunately, readers often get stuck:

  • Reading mass media (which is all news but never new)
  • Picking up tips and tricks to save a little money
  • Analyzing numbers and things they have little control over, and which may not matter over the long term
  • Finding things to hate without understanding them (which makes the required behavior less likely to happen)

Again, these things may have to happen periodically. However, if you spend too much time on them you’re a researcher or a professional – not a saver. Or you might be evading something else…

If you want to hear interesting things from an interesting person, try some of the links below. You don’t have to be a creative person or knowledge worker to get something out of it. You can even consider the basics of handling your finances as a “project”.

  1. Fake Rocks, Salami Commanders, and Just Enough to Start
  2. Audio and Video (or just a recent talk)
  3. Write online? Try to be Better (I don’t know if I am but I think I try)