When we’re creating art we say “How can I do more?” and when we’re doing work we say “How can I do less?”
Seth Godin talking about how employees view hitting the clock versus creating a business. He goes on to talk about the difficulty of creative work being that you’re showing up to make change in a way you’re not sure is going to work.
These ideas are taken from a discussion Godin had on The Futur (sic). He has an incredibly logical brain. One of the greatest entrepreneurs, marketers and authors of our time. These are the ideas I took from the video.
1 I don’t know
I don’t know the answer to this, let’s figure it out!
Godin is a fierce advocate of leadership and problem solving as foundational skills for modern work. He talks at length about how education was built to serve an industrial workforce and now that people will work harder for less money, we need to look at different skillsets. (Sir Ken Robinson and Simon Sinek are massive advocates of this notion too.)
2 Mentor vs Hero
Godin talks about the “hustle people” looking for a mentor. This is a buzz word amongst trendy internet entrepreneurs. For every influential person in the public eye there are 2,000 people who want that person as a mentor. This does not scale well. Instead he suggests you look for a hero and think “What would Tracy do?”. This doesn’t require direct access to this person but will help to channel focus and is much more achievable.
3 Make something every day.
Create not just consume. Want to explore a new avenue but not sure you have what it takes? Do it for 100 days on the side of your main income and you will be able to see if you have what it takes for that to be possible. Be aware you cannot overcome the quest for perfection, the more you try to overcome, the harder it will be to do the work so get into the habit of creating daily.
Godin talks about the subconscious pattern of thought that drives making the move to start work “I will work when I get a standing ovation from my brain”. To counter this he suggests thinking “I will be creative especially when my brain is freaking out.” Make a daily commitment and keep to it, then you will become creative.
4 Regularly find generous work that scares you.
“Dance with the fear and enjoy the experience.” Share things to turn the light on for people. This concept of “turning the light on for someone else” or inspiring the thing that excites you in someone else is refreshing. He is encouraging us to be open with information and share key insights that could be of benefit to others. To act as a teacher.
5 Keep innovating and pushing towards the edge.
A lot of people want one great opus and for the work be done, their Mona Lisa! Godin argues that the internet catches up too fast to have a one hit wonder, you have to keep innovating. Isn’t that difficult?
Well let’s look at lunch, when I finish lunch I don’t get depressed, I just think about what i’m going to do for lunch tomorrow. It’s a part of the process.
Important side note: Godin doesn’t deviate from the task at hand or topics about his personal life. When asked about wife / kids he says “That’s their story to tell, not mine”. Not engaging in gossip. He is a positive person but realistic and never indulging bullshit positivity, a direct problem solver.
6 Whoever fails the most, wins.
Failures serve a purpose. It’s about negotiating a risk and learning from the results. Not being attached to the outcome as a reflection on who you are as a person but being able to use the data to help make more informed decisions in the future.
Take small calculated risks so you can be in the game long enough that you can succeed. If you fail too big you don’t get to play any more.
7 Biggest mistake when crafting a story?
People fail to have empathy. They think that people care about them, believe what they believe, want what they want, know what they know.
Practical empathy – people have different experiences and that’s ok. Telling a useful story is one in which you see people at their worldview and tell it from their perspective. How often do we think we’re being empathetic when we’re simply looking at someone else’s situation and solving it through our own eyes.
8 Do your job.
“I hired you to do your job. You told me you could make a change for me.”
Being a professional is being hired to do your job and doing it. It doesn’t matter if you’re having a bad day or you have the cold. You go to the barber to get your hair cut, not to hear justifications on why it can’t be done to the best of the barbers ability.
At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”
– Marcus Aurelius “Meditations”
9 Writer’s block is a myth!
A plumber doesn’t have plumbing block. No-one says to a plumber “How did you find the energy to fix a toilet?” That’s what you do.
If you write enough poorly, your brain gives up and starts to be better. Go ahead and write. If you show me 50,000 words of bad writing I can tell you if you have the potential to be a writer.
The host raises the point that people don’t want to do something because they’re going to be judged and often think i’m only as good as my last piece of work so i’d rather sit here and do nothing, they don’t take risks.
People who do the work every day end up creating masterpieces regularly but those who decide to just make a masterpiece, end up missing the deadline.
10 Everything else
- Figure out how to build a life with low enough overheads that you can create a ruckus doing creative work making the world a better place. This relates back to when Godin was at college and was able to experiment and take risks because he didn’t have rent or a family to support.
- Henry Ford made things more efficient and productive. When Henry Ford started there were 2,3000 car companies in the USA. Selling $600 cars where others were selling $3,000. The industrial age is over, everything is so cheap and so perfect now you cannot think with industrial ideas.
- The innovators dilemma; Successful companies are often the last to make giant leaps because they don’t want to give up what they’ve already got.
- The job is no longer to be a revolutionary coming up with these ideas that no-one ever thought of it before. Talk about things that are important that people haven’t understood before.
- On being asked to give the same keynote “It doesn’t bore me that I have greatest hits, it pleases me. People want to pay for something that works.”
- Seth paid to give talks in the early days and emphasises the need to practice a lot to get good. (His mentor was Zig Ziglar, notable motivational speaker and salesman.)
- The last thing here is Seth talks about about is his manifesto about the future of education, Stop stealing dreams. Well worth the read or watch the Ted Talk to get a rough idea.
In summary Seth Godin explores some wonderful topics causing us to examine how we think. For more information on this tremendous brain, start with his blog and then his books, particularly This Is Marketing.