Seth Godin on why we should all be artists

Yesterday I went to a speech by author, entrepreneur, agent of change, inventor of words Seth Godin in Antwerp (Belgium).

I have read a few of his books and follow his pondering via his blog and I like his train of thought.

Yesterday he said that there is no scarcity of choice, that we have over-branded ourselves (read my earlier blog post on Choices are luxuries, or are they?).

Today it is much harder to stand out because there are already so many other products/services out there to choose from.

His mantra is: ideas that spread, win. That if you want to be successful, you need not just create a product or service, you need to create a culture, a tribe.

You need to take people some place they want to go. People don’t follow boring.

How do I do that, you may ask. It’s actually pretty simple. It begins with taking a first small step in that direction: Make a difference by choosing to make a difference.

You are the expert; everyone’s an expert, at something.

You have to become a GENIUS.

And that doesn’t mean you have to be someone with lots or no hair.

You’re a genius when you are solving a problem in a way no one has ever done before.

Find the work that matters, do Great Work.

Because people are interchangeable, we live in a world of overproduction and everyone has a degree. Competence is no longer a scarce commodity.

Seth says ‘If you can write it down, I can find it cheaper’.
If your job description overlaps with the possibility to automate your work, you are doomed.

So you need to stand out. You need to be original, better, unwritedownable. You need to be or create a Purple Cow.

At the Ogori Cafe in Japan and every customer gets what the customer before him ordered. Now there’s an original concept!

One thing you SHOULD NOT do is bowl. Because at bowling, everyone is more or less good. Don’t choose something where the best is perfect, where everyone does or is able to do well. Do not choose an activity where the best possible score is perfect.

Seth is no fan of current education and Sir Ken Robinson joins him in that in saying that Schools kill Creativity. We have learned to be obedient, to follow the rules.

For Seth, obedience belongs in the dog training school.

The HOW you do this is not important. What’s important is that you do it. That you SHIP.

You cannot blame the system anymore because in our day and age, you have all the possibilities in your hands. If you have a laptop, you can do it.

What stops us from doing it? What stops us from shipping?

As Seth puts it: “You don’t need to be more creative. All of you are actually too creative. What you need is a quieter lizard brain.”

We have inherited this primal fear from our ancestors. Back when we were animals, we needed to be afraid because it meant survival. Nowadays, the most afraid will be punished the most.

So where do you put the fear?

“The genius part is getting the lizard brain to shut up long enough to overcome the resistance.”

Watch this video on shipping, the lizard brain and the resistance.

Seth ended his speech by giving some interesting advice for parents and the 2 thing they need to teach their children.

  1. Teach them to solve interesting problems (he suggested asking them how they would solve the debt crisis of Greece)
  2. Teach them to lead.

Soon to be continued with ‘How my almost 4 year old son solves the debt of Greece…’

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5 Responses to Seth Godin on why we should all be artists

  1. Lance says:

    What an awesome opportunity to see Seth Godin in person!! And – wow!! Great stuff you have shared from this! I'm loving the idea of tribe, and what that can mean…

  2. Stacey says:

    Hi Mimi!

    Thanks SO much for leaving your WAYA post at my blog and writing this encouraging and inspiring blog post!

    I am also a fan of Seth Godin's and you did a fantastic job of synthesizing his message! I can't wait to hear how your almost-4-year-old son solves the debt crisis in Greece!

    Thanks again and take wonderful care, Stacey

  3. Deb Kirkeeide says:

    Great article! Thanks.
    Now to apply all this great information!

  4. Tim says:

    Hi Mimi:

    It is great that you had the opportunity to see Seth Godin speak…I really admire him for many brilliant ideas. You shared a lot of great thoughts for us to really contemplate and incorporate into our lives. Seth has also been a big inspiration to me as a blogger…I love how he can share powerful thoughts in small, quick bite-sized posts. In any case, thank you for sharing some thoughts about his talk.

  5. MindFul MiMi says:

    : Glad you liked Seth's ideas. I think that at some point all coaches and guru's basically talk about the same thing, just in their different voice. And I like getting the same message thrown at me in different colors :-)

    : Thanks for your comment here. A first I believe :-) We have solved the Greek problem and I will be writing that post soon :-) I think we should ask our kids to solve all our problems. The world becomes so much easier through their eyes. And actually, the ideas of a 4 year old are not that stupid after all, if you think them through a bit in an adult way… I know you know that :-)

    @ Deb: Hi Deb. Thanks for visiting. I am trying to apply all this for a while now. Not always easy but getting there :-)

    @Tim: Yes, I am grateful for the opportunity as well. Since it took place on April Fool's day I had my doubts about the truth of this speech. I thought Seth had set up some great prank :-) He could have!


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