Change-Making & Writing: Seth Speaks (on The Tim Ferriss Show), 3 of 3

“There’s nothing wrong with being a wandering generality instead of a meaningful specific. But don’t expect to make the change you seek to make if that’s what you do.”—Seth Godin

How easy is it to fall into “wandering generality” mode? Say yes to something that’s not your core mission, and you’re lost. In his conversation with Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin notes that “most people play the cards they got instead of moving to a different table with different cards.” (25:00) We all have the power to move to a different table, change the game, but so few of us do.

Godin identifies two types of entrepreneurs: Those who get up in the morning and ask “whose needs am I satisfying today?” and those who focus on changing people. The businesses that change people are the ones that get remembered. (46:00). His advice to job-seekers: Ask “Is there an entity that won’t be able to live with out you?” and if the answer is no, start your own. “If you wait for someone to pick you, you will be consistently undervalued. (1:37:00)

Tim Ferriss asks about his writing process, Godin responds with the story of Stephen King’s pencil. (35:17). It’s one of those meaningless distractions we create for ourselves—thinking if I knew the equipment Stephen King used, I could write as well as he does. Godin points out that “ritual is a way to hide” and the only way to become a better writer is to “write poorly. Write until it’s not bad anymore.” (37:00) Godin calls blogging daily “one of my top five career decisions” because “it’s a practice that leaves a trail. (31:00). In fact, he thinks everyone should blog daily. (1:01:00)

The podcast wraps up with Godin’s advice in an imaginary commencement speech: “You are more powerful than you think you are. Act accordingly.” (1:54:20) I love that quotation so much, I created a poster of it for my office. Happy to share it with you, just click here.

And don’t miss part 1 on Failing and Creating and part 2 on Not Writing.

Home-Building, Pueblo-Style

A musician friend of mine gave me a few chapters from The Dance of Life by Edward T. Hall, a study of how rhythms shape our individual lives and the way we interact with other people. It’s intriguing enough that I’ll be reading the rest of the book, once I get my hands on it.

Anyway, just came across this passage that resonated with me and thought I’d share. Discussing the different rhythms of Anglo-European American culture and Native American culture, Hall points out that before Anglo-Europeans build a house, they buy the land and secure the financing. Pueblo Indians, he says, do the same things but have one more precondition:

“Before a shovel of earth can be turned, all the right thoughts must be present. The Pueblos believe that thoughts have a life of their own and that these live thoughts are an integral part of any man-made structure and will remain with that structure forever. Thoughts are as essential an ingredient as mortar and bricks.”