If you know of Seth Godin, you know that’s he’s brilliant and will challenge you to think outside the box. His latest book, What To Do When It’s Your Turn continues withÂ this expectation. It’s formatted like a magazine so it reads quickly and easily. The biggest shock was the overwhelming amount of typos throughout the book. I secretly hoped this was intentional and that Godin was illustrating his point of being willing to “ship” a product and get over the fear of failure. However, they turned out just to be a confusing number of typos for a book of this size. That’s really my only strike against it as the rest of the material was thought-provoking and encouraging. Seth, if you’re reading this it’s not too late to use that somehow!
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book (and there were a lot):
Our need for motivation is due to our need for reassurance.
“Motivation is for amateurs.” Chuck Close
Do what you should do. Your motivation will follow.
Consider our avoidance of feeling tired. If you’re unwilling to be tired, unwilling to feel fatigue in your legs, you can’t run a marathon. Successful marathon runners haven’t figured out how to avoid being tired, they’ve figured out where to put the tired when it arrives. If you’re not willing to be tired, you can’t run. If you’re not willing to imagine failure, you’re unable to be free.
The need to be recognized as the winner destroys your ability to take your turn, because taking your turn requires you to be willing to not win. My argument is the only long-term way to make it as an artist is to do it from a position of generosity, of seeking to connect and change people for the better. But generosity, while it sometimes leads to it-feels-like-winning can never be based on winning, because winning requires other people to lose.
“A win doesn’t feel as good as a loss feels bad, and the good feeling doesn’t last as long as the bad. Not even close.” Andre Agassi
What do you care enough to fix, or disrupt, or invent? Starting right here, right now. If we are willing to suffer enough to matter, we are able to make change happen. Or at least we can try. Don’t avert your eyes. Look at the opportunity. Take it.
“Things get much better when we internalize 2 truthsâ€”
- Nobody owes you anything (no, not even a thank you)
- It is actually you who owes the world and its denizens. You take up space (physical and emotional). And you better have something good to show for it.” Rohan Rajiv
But the productive artist refuses to incur an artistic obligation. She acts as though the audience doesn’t owe her anything, and forgiving them in advance gives her the freedom to make the work she needs to make. The flipside, though, is also true. The productive artist must act as if she owes the audience, and in unlimited measure.
When you overstate the obligation of the audience, of course they’ll let you down, and when they do, you don’t have to show up again. What a great excuse to stop making your art, to hide…
‘Here, I made this,’ can be the beginning and the end of the conversation. You got to make it. That’s your compensation. You got to take your turn.
The Internet means you can learn anything you want, if you are thirsty enough to do the work to learn it.
The Internet has given anyone with something to say the freedom to say it. It has given us the freedom to connect, the freedom to be generous, and the freedom to make a difference. And we (all of us) refuse to use this freedom to the fullest, because we can’t bear to live with the internal narrative it would createâ€”the narrative of responsibility and risk and failure.
Either you’re the creator or you’re the audience. Either you’re waiting your turn or you’re taking it.