The Underappreciated Value of Boring Financial Success

How Derek Sivers, Kurt Vonnegut & Cinderella Can Help You Achieve Your Financial Goals

When it comes to practical wisdom, one of my favorite people to follow is Derek Sivers, a musician, blogger, programmer, best-selling author of Anything You Want, and the founder of CD Baby – in its heyday, the preeminent online store for independent musicians. What does Derek Sivers have to do with your finances, you ask? Just you wait…

The Dangerous Lure of Dramatic Success

Before we tie this to your financial life, allow me this quick tangent.

One of my favorite posts by Sivers is Kurt Vonnegut explains drama. I won’t rehash the entire post (honestly, just take a second to go read it and then come back. I’ll wait.) but here’s a quick summary:

Think of life like a graph with a continuum of joy and despair on one scale and time on the other. The stories we grow up with lead us to believe that life is a wildly dramatic affair, that, as time goes on, life is all over the place on the joy-despair scale. Think about the story arc of well-known favorites like Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast or almost any popular movie.

These stories are just a series of sensational twists of fate, one after another. Because we love these stories, we think these wildly dramatic oscillations between happiness and pain are normal, or, worse, to be expected. We can easily start to believe our lives should be like that. There should be exhilarating highs, crushing lows, and drama, drama, drama.

But real life isn’t like that at all. (more…)