Tag Archives: Merlin Mann

Merlin Mann: Figure out who you are

This post from 43folders.com contains a video with another interesting line of thoughts by Merlin Mann, who thinks about productivity, creativity and the caveats surrounding them.

Merlin presents his ideas in a popular way, fast and often funny, but he is serious and dedicated in trying to find out the truth about his subjects.

It is another attempt to define, and thereby better deal with, procrastination.

Here are some quotes I wrote down:

Procrastination happens when we don’t know what to do.

(You go look around to find out what you should do next.)

Sometimes you procrastinate because you feel you need to do something else for a while. But if so, then never forget who you are and what you want.

It’s important for creativity to read or do something even if you don’t know why you are doing it.
But sometimes you have to put your head down and work really hard.

Happiness is in the right balance of these two.

In his video Merlin explains that it is important to figure out who you are and to always keep that in mind. Procrastination can be o.k., but it should never lead you away from your own goal.

There are truly many more thoughts in the video including his well meant advice on how to protect yourself from certain forms of procrastination.

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Here’s another post I wrote about Merlin Mann’s ideas.

Hail the caesar of your genius

After reading a post by Merlin Mann on the process of starting a project (and to keep going) and after listening to Elizabeth Gilbert in a TED-talk mentioned in the post about nursing your creativity, I understand that they offer a way to deal with one of the major obstacles for writers..

We all know it basically comes down to the old truth of “ You just have to work for it and all will be well”, but it is not so easy in practice for the majority of us..

Both clearly indicate that writing on a daily basis is the key to getting work done and creating possibilities to get inspired during the process. As Merlin puts it in a Tweet:

.“Creative work, summarized: In the time you set aside each day to work your ass off, ignore anything that makes you consider stopping.”

.To be able to do this for a longer period – what about a lifespan? – is undoubtable the key to success. As Merlin stresses, this “anything that makes you consider stopping” is no sinecure.

.The majority of those threats that endanger continuation are based upon fear, and this means fear in all its facets. That is easy to say as fear rules just about anything in our world, but when it comes to for example writing it is all the more clearly. Writing is listening to the voice within, digging for inspiration in the depths of a human being, listening to all the tails from the incredible feedreader in the unmeasurable caves of our head. And what voices will be more loud and clear than the ones that originate of fear?

.To ignore those voices and to keep digging for the gold is a major achievement, reminding me of many classical stories, like for example Frodo in “The Lord of the Rings”. Being a writer, an active and serious one, is going through a lot of darkness, traveling on a seemingly hopeless journey like Frodo did.

.But it is also a quest, something that has to be done, for not doing it equals giving up and letting life age you without truly saving your soul.

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Genius

.In her speech on Tedtalk.com Elizabeth Gilbert tells about her way of dealing with the voices of fear. She admits that they are a serious threat to her existence as a well-functioning human and comes up with a solution. Although being aware that it is not the only and most dependable system possible she states that it does her good and advocates to people to try it out for themselves. The idea originates from ancient Greek and Roman times, and it is not only for that not a revolutionary new idea, but Elizabeth gives a positive approach to it that can be a great relief to many.

.Her “trick” is to put the source of inspiration outside the person and thereby putting the blame for many of the problems the voices in head come up with outside herself. It is in that way not her responsibility to produce another flawless bestseller or her fault when the day’s writing isn’t flowing at all, but it is the inspirational voice from outside her that lets her down. Following old Roman traditions she calls this voice a genius.

But unlike romantic ideas of writers, or any other creative persons, being struck by a sudden moment of inspiration, like an arrow of cupid’s bow, she definately holds on to the idea that all she has to do to let her genius work for her is to show up and work every day. That is the only way to blame her genius and not her, because she was there, writing at her desk, giving the genius a fair chance to work.

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