Few individuals seemed to have made such a contribution to my way of thinking as much as Seth Godin has. And no, I have not even met the man yet. I only started reading his blog religiously earlier this year. He talks mainly about marketing and brands, and it may not be obvious, but most of his ideas can easily be applied to our daily lives. It is because good marketing involves a good understanding of human psychology. Another feature of his which has always amazed me is that he also writes at a mind-blowing frequency. Sometimes I wonder how he gives all his readers those life-changing ideas at least twice daily.
Now I am going to take upon the herculean task of sifting through the many his posts that I have read and enjoyed, and write about the ideas that have stuck with me.
People seem to be in one of two categories:
- Those who seek stability, affiliation, work worth doing and the assurance it (whatever it is) will be okay.
- Those who explore, need to know that failure is an option and are on a quest to make a dent in the universe.
You can be in either category, the world needs and rewards both. But pick a brand and a job and a posture that matches your category, or you’ll fail, and be miserable until you do. (Hint: there is no category of: “does risky exploration, never fails.”)
Did you ever think failure is a good thing? Think again.
This is one reason why recovering from failure is such a great opportunity. If you fail and then you pull out all the stops to recover or make good, the expectation gap is huge. You don’t win because you did a good job, you win because you so dramatically exceeded expectations.
On Procrastination & Creativity: Seth Godin gives an alternate way to deal with procrastination and be creative by using the same technique. He says we seek emotions, we find a refuge in them; just as we like walking into an old house.
One way of looking at activities you do is to think that you are actually walking into a room to do that thing. Soon you will realise that there are some rooms where you spend way too much time and it is robbing you of your productivity or your happiness. Why then do you go there again?
Every time you go that room, you spend more time than you expected, and it stresses out the rest of your day. Every time you go to that room you short-circuit the gifts you give to the rest of the team.
–Sometimes you sleep funny, wake up tired and feel cranky all day. Do you ever work funny?
Ever have a day when none of the things you need to focus on materialize, when the emotional labor doesn’t come naturally? Most of us have come up with a strategy for days we’re working funny–we do the busy work, we reply, react and occasionally respond. We show up at the meetings and we answer our email, and we go home feeling as though we accomplished at least a little something (though we didn’t.)
The danger is this: this working funny habit leaks into the days when we’re on our game. When you’re on a roll, you still find yourself going to meetings, answering email and working through someone else’s to-do list. That’s a waste.
Don’t toss and turn if you don’t have to.
–It’s easy to talk about lunch: It’s so easy to speak up on the things that are trivial, defensible, matters of taste. If I want your opinion, I’m going to want it for something where you might be wrong, for something that actually makes a difference and most of all, for something where you are putting yourself at risk. Not lunch.
The number one reason people give me for giving up on something great is, “someone else is already doing that.” Or, parsed another way, “my idea is not brand new.” Or even, “Oh no, now we’ll have competition.”
Two big pieces of news for you:
1. Competition validates you.
2. There are six billion people in the world.
There are lots of good reasons to abandon a project. Having a little competition is not one of them. Even if it’s Google you’re up against.
All sabotage is self-sabotage: Not doing something when you can is self-sabotage. Face it. We know more than enough about whatever we want to do. The thing we have trouble with is making the commitment to do it even when it’s frightening and difficult.
If you want your best people to do more, one way to do it is to announce the most they can do. While this may dissuade a few people from pushing ever farther, it will in fact motivate a large number of people to up their game.
–Rule of thumb: being first helps in the short run. Being a little more right than the masses ultimately pays off in the long run. Being last is the worst of all three.
–Two things we need to get better at:
- Getting accurate signals from the world. Get better perceiving things.
- Sorting and ranking information based on importance. Not on urgency.
Ok, seems like that’s only about the last 40 blog posts. There will be more next time.
This is a post from the series on what I have learnt from Seth Godin. You can find the rest of the posts here: