Authentic Happiness
The Book That Started Platinum Years

In a sense, Authentic Happiness, by Martin Seligman, is the book that started my "platinum years" passion, at least in a third handed sort of way. Authentic Happiness was read and recommended by a financial planner in an article in “Investment Advisor” magazine. When the planner realized how woefully inadequate it was to help people with money issues alone, he totally revolutionized his financial planning practice. He created a seminar entitled “Living the REAL good life,” and started practicing what he was preaching. And a funny thing happened. He began to attract many new clients who shared his balanced approach to “life planning” as much more than “financial planning.” And other existing clients, not as enamored with this approach, began to “self-select” out.

If you click on the link to the right, you can go right to
www.amazon.com and check out this interesting phenomenon for yourself. You will see that many people just loved this book. And many hated it. Some of the critics like the premise but criticize the science. And there is probably some truth to their criticisms. For example does the author, Martin Seligman, sometimes confuse correlative relationships with cause and effect relationships? Well, maybe. But does that negate his premise? No. I'm mostly interested in the correlations. In particular, the correlation that ISN'T there. You know, the one between money and happiness.

Now I'm really more interested in what does make people happy, not what doesn't. But this "money and happiness," correlation is very pervasive in our culture. No, actually, it's more like "stuff and happiness." No, it's actually more like "the stuff we're trying to sell you and happiness." One of the main premises of living the "platinum years" is that happiness is more about living out your passions, fulfilling dreams, maximizing relationships, and there is much you can do in all these categories without a whole lot of money. So what types of things make YOU happy? And how happy are you to start with? One way to learn about yourself is to visit the free "authentic happiness" website, at, you guessed it, www.authentichappiness.org.

I find it interesting that the whole field of "positive psychology" is still pretty new. And doesn't the fact that there is a new branch of psychology called “positive psychology” tells you something about its main branch? I think I should probably leave that thought there, maybe for another day, but if you want to read a collection of negative comments from a bunch of sourpusses, just peruse through the low rankings for this book among the amazon.com reviews. I’d rather have a beer with Martin Seligman any day than subject myself to any time with the traditional psychology (read “negative psychology”) bunch. Although maybe if I did, I could find out who to blame for why I feel this way … (tick, tick, tick) ... get it?

Anyway, I will remain on the lookout for more good reading in this category. Meanwhile, I recommend this book and Seligman’s website as a good thought provoker and test to see if your psyche has any ill effects from constant exposure to our negative culture. And the book, in particular, will definitely begin to disabuse you from any “American dream”-type misconceptions you might have about the relationships between money and happiness. His views on the relationship between money and happiness are the best in the book.

And it’s an important issue, because I can tell you from my own years in the financial planning field that some of the saddest people I have ever met are wealthy people who have every possession that our materialistic culture says should make them happy… and they’re still not.

And the whole premise of this website and my book, Platinum Living, is that irrespective of your bank balance and stock portfolio, with some creativity and determination, you can still achieve happiness and the fulfillment that comes when you “get the best out of the rest of your life.”

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