The Great Discontent – Merlin Mann

The Great Discontent described by its creators:

The Great Discontent is an online magazine featuring interviews on beginnings, creativity, and risk.

This particular interview from October 2013 with Merlin Mann of 43 Folders fame, and many a podcast worth listening to, provides a somewhat philosophical, though exquisitely realistic view about why we end up doing what we do. Why we think we should know both what we are doing and where we are headed; generally why we don’t know; why those who do often aren’t happy; and why we end up where we do, even though it is not where we think we should be.

And ultimately, why it probably doesn’t really matter in the first place. We are all who we are, where we are from, and more alike than we generally realise.

I wish I could be more helpful and say, “You should find your dream path and paint a rainbow to your love cloud!” But, most of us are so stuck in this notion of how stuff should go that we want to find one of seven stories that matches our narrative. The fact is that most of us are wandering around, scared shitless, wondering what the —-’s going to happen next. That’s as true when you’re 11 as it is when you’re in your 40s. It’s one reason that people feel very discouraged or disinclined to try new things—they feel like it’s not for them.

As my wife and I have always said, things generally don’t get any easier, they just get different:

How many people out there say, “Gosh, I wish I could own a house”? Everybody I know who owns houses are losing their minds trying to make their mortgage payment or they’re scared to death about having to replace the roof. Anybody who wants more money, a better job, or a bigger house is ultimately just wishing for a new set of anxieties. It can be a great set of anxieties, because that means growth, but there are trade-offs to everything.

And a few other gems that ring decidedly true:

If you want to really help people, then go out and help people. It’s like when people say, “Buy this pink yogurt, and a portion of the proceeds will go to charity!” Well, you know what’s really great? Donating directly to a good cause and having the entire portion go to charity—and you don’t have to act like you’re Gandhi because you bought a snack. Just go spend some money on something you care about, then shut up about it: that’s a dignified way to be an adult who helps people.

I would highly recommend reading the entire article, which is a long one, and typically not done justice by the few quotes above – if you do, grab a coffee and settle in for a decent read. This is not one of those scratch the surface internet snippets we are so used to these days, and what makes The Great Discontent a quality site.

In a world going increasingly digital, TGD thinks contrary, and currently has a Kickstarter project running to produce a high quality print version of the publication. Certainly worth considering if a you are at all interested in more in-depth intervies and profiles such as those found on the site.

More can be found on the Kickstarter project page here.

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