Feb. 21, 2020

Listener Favorites: Seth Godin: What to do When It's Your Turn

Listener Favorites: Seth Godin: What to do When It's Your Turn

In this episode of The Unmistakable Creative, Seth Godin returns to the show to discuss his new book, It’s Your Turn.
-  Leveraging books as a tool to change the people around you 
- Writing a book that begs to be shared an...


In this episode of The Unmistakable Creative, Seth Godin returns to the show to discuss his new book, It’s Your Turn.

  •  Leveraging books as a tool to change the people around you 
  • Writing a book that begs to be shared and gets under people’s skin
  • The choice between creative or cog that we’re always making 
  • Why we must be willing to be wrong to do work that matters
  • How the connection economy rewards people 
  • Our search for reassurance and how to stop it
  • Learning to take your work seriously and not personally
  • The mythical time when we think we’ll be ready
  • A look at what school is actually for 

 

Resources

 

Yourturn.link

Stop Stealing Dreams

 

Quotes

 

A book only happens when I can’t let an idea go

If you go into this saying, how do you know, you’ve already lost.

 

Courses

Unmistakable Creative Prime

Discover a Proven Process for How Jerry Seinfeld, Elizabeth Gilbert, Lin Manuel Miranda and Iconic Creators Throughout History Come up With Ideas and Turn them into Reality

Attention Mastery

Eliminate Distractions, Focus on What Matters, and Thrive in the New Economy

 


See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Visit the tribe. 

Transcript

Srini Rao: Hey there. I hope you're having a fabulous day. Whenever you're listening to this. Before we start the episode, I wanted to read something on the air that we received from one of our listeners, which I thought was really good. This comes from Bobby Martinez and Rochester, Minnesota.

And I want to just give you a shout out and say how much we really appreciated your message. You're I just gotta say Grassley has 1000 times over. I can't even articulate fully the impact your work has had on me. I found the podcast or a comment on a video of a talk by Amber Ray last year.

Clicking that link was one of the proudest moments in my online finds. I'm a full-time artist slash creative entrepreneurial living in Rochester, Minnesota, but have plans to expand and leave my own dent in the unit. And I've put being on the unmistakable creative podcast is one of my goals, but whatever it's worth, you need to know that what you do is something that is causing ripples far beyond any measure.

Thank you. Bobby, thank you for that. That makes what we do really rewarding. And I love hearing from, people who are listening to the show and the impact that it's having on them. Let's get into what today's episode is about in this episode. One of my all-time favorite guests returns to the show.

Seth Goden comes back to talk about his new book. It's your turn. He discusses what school is really for how we overcome our failure, fear of failure, and a bunch of other really interesting things. I think you guys are going to really get a kick out of this interview and without further ado, let's get to the show.

I'm serine route. And this is the unmistakable creative podcast where you get a window into the stories and insights of the most innovative and creative minds who started movements, built thriving businesses, written best-selling books, and created insanely interesting art for more check out our 500 episode archive@unmistakablecreative.com.

Instead of spending your day and back to back meetings, try a new kind of FaceTime with loom. You can use Lim to get a quick recording of your screen and webcam explaining what the team needs to know it uploads while you record. So it's ready to share. As soon as you're done, just copy the link and paste it in slack teams or an email and get back to work.

A three minute video just might replace your next 30 minute meeting. Visit loom.com to try LUME for free that's loom.com to try LUME for free. Ma'am you at work innovation, resilience, agility. It's how Michigan businesses continue to work together to make a difference now and shape the future. Join us and make your mark where it matters.

Visit Michigan business.org/radio.

Seth welcome to the unmistakable. Creative. Thanks so much for taking the time

Seth Godin: to join us. It's a privilege. Thank you for the work you do and have been doing. I I don't think enough people stand up and say, thank you for it. So here I am.

Srini Rao: Coming from you. I really appreciate that. It's interesting because we have you hear back a second time.

After our show has gone undergone a pretty significant transition and been rebranded as unmistakable creative. We had you here when. The XRS deception came out and this new book really intrigued me pretty much like all of your books. So the first question I really want to start with is, last time I made the observation that you have made an entire career out of flying closer to the sun.

And it seems like you've done the same with taking your turn when it's your turn. So I'm really interested in what the journey and the through-line was that led to writing this book. What compelled you to put this book out into the.

Seth Godin: I don't wake up in the morning thinking I have to write another book.

I stopped being in the making book business a very long time ago. And instead, a book only happens when the idea w let me go. The truth is that your podcast will reach more people than your book will that a blog post will reach more people than a podcast will. And then if you're trying to change the culture, change the way people think.

It's not always appropriate to go through the year long gestation period and all the pain and suffering to make a book. And so I'd been resigned to walk away from something I have been doing quite happily for more than 25 years. And. Then I did a seminar in my office invited 15 people to come for free for a week.

And it was a really powerful group of people. We felt great about each other. And I found myself talking about things more specifically than I had before. A little while after that someone handed me a magazine that came from a new kind of print, a new kind of printer, actually. Device and indigo printer that looks and feels different, much higher quality, different kinds of binding, et cetera, than any magazine I had ever touched.

And I realized that if I took images and short sentences and things that felt like blog posts and put them together in a format for people who didn't read books, maybe I'd have a tool that I could use that my fans could use to change the people around. And so I wanted to be consistent. So I ended up writing a book that I published myself, that I designed myself, that I distributed myself so that I would have the freedom to refuse to sell anyone a copy.

You have to buy multiple copies. And the thinking goes, the only books, most people read her books that other people give them. And so I tried to write a book that begged to be shared and that once someone touched it would get under their skin and Think differently. So it's at your turn.link and the name of the book is what to do when it's your turn.

And my argument is that in the economy we live in now and economy where you are either a creative or a cog, most of us are choosing to be creatives. If you choose to be a creative, you have to acknowledge that you cannot wait to be picked because. The internet is an amplifier that lets anyone pick themselves.

So it's your turn? What are you gonna do about it?

Srini Rao: So it's interesting, you said a book that begged to be shared, but what's interesting to me really is how you recognize a moment to create something that you want to see exist in the world. And the first question that comes from me is it is learning to recognize when those moments occur in our lives and then what to do about them.

Seth Godin: Yeah. Built into that question. I think. Is the unspoken question of how to avoid being wrong about it. How do, how to correctly pick the moment. And I'm not buying that for a minute that no one knows how to correctly do it. Half of Bob Dylan's 50 albums are below average for by. That he writes lay lady lay, or he comes out with a an album that changes the culture and then 10 years go by when it's not resonating with people.

Does that mean, he says I'm going to make no albums because he doesn't know. He just doesn't. And there's. Page after page document, after document of evidence, almost every bestseller as a surprise bestseller, almost every movie that breaks back off box office records was declined by a studio before it came out.

Almost every critic has been wrong repeatedly about the books and the ideas that changed our lives. So if you go into the saying, how do you know that you've already lost? You don't know.

Srini Rao: Interesting. So let's talk about this idea of making things that get under people's skin and what makes us what actually prevents us from even attempting to do things that get under people's skin in the first place.

Because I don't know that everybody has an inherent, like desire or ability to do that. I think there's something internally that keeps people from doing that.

Seth Godin: Yeah, everyone has the ability. Very few people have the desire and the reasons are pretty obvious. They go all the way back in cultural and perhaps physical evolution to living in caves and hanging around the fire with the chief.

You don't look the chief in the eye, you don't speak. Around the fire after the hunt, because if you are wrong, you could be ostracized. You could be thrown out. And so the people who are wrong, don't have grandchildren. And that's the end of that. So in the industrial economy, that one, our parents lived their whole lives in, and the one that we are leaving, we have been rewarded for fitting in for doing well for meeting.

And part of that is lower. Your eyes, avert your gaze, do what you were told. Wait, your turn, don't get into anyone's skin by the sea opposite of what it is to be a creative. It's the opposite of what it is to be an impresario, to be someone who makes a ruckus to change things. And in a book I give a thought experiment.

It's actually quite fascinating. It was it's in there to teach people about money and about rejection. But it's also really useful as an answer to your question about why people don't want to do it. So what I challenge people to do is get a $5 bill and go to the bus station in their town and walk up to someone and say, would you like to buy this $5 bill for a dollar?

What you will discover is that almost every single person will say no. And they won't say no to you because of the value that you're offering. Clearly a $5 bill is worth five times more than a dollar bill. They will say no, because no one goes to the bus station seeking to engage in a weird financial transaction.

They will say no, because they don't trust you. They will say no, because anyone who would offer $5 for $1 has got some skeet scheme going on and you want nothing to do with it. Here's some interesting things about that. One. If you get rejected in life, one reason you're getting rejected. Isn't that you're creating value.

It's probably that the story, the person who rejected you is telling themselves, does it match what you thought it was? And so we can talk about that for hours, but the other thing that's going on about this bus station example is even as I said, it, the people who are listening to me right now are saying I would never.

And I want you to take a second to think about why would you never do that? There's it's not mood, it's not hurting anybody. What would it mean to make this offer to somebody? What is, what does it mean to say to person that person at the Avis counter who spends the extra 30 seconds on you when she doesn't have to, what does it mean to stop?

Pause, put down your cell phone, look her in the eye and think. That's hard to do. She'll remember it for days. It's hard to do, and it's hard to do cause it makes you responsible for the way you touched someone else. And in the industrial economy, we have been pushed to seek non-responsibility at every turn.

Wow.

Srini Rao: Interestingly enough so many of the ideas in this book are about stepping up and doing something and taking your turn. And to me, one of the things that really stood out as this idea that you talk about of reassurance, right? Which I think ties perfectly into what you're talking about.

Why do we search for reassurance and how do we stop searching for reassurance?

Seth Godin: Two reasons we search for reassurance. One is it makes us feel good in the short run pity sympathy re being reminded that everything is going to be okay. And the second thing is because it actually gets us off the hook.

It actually means that we are not the person who is responsible because we've been reassured that everything is fine. What I say in the book. Made me nervous when I wrote it, but I believe it now a hundred times more than when I wrote it in August. Reassurance is futile. There is never enough reassurance to reassure you about the things you truly can.

And if we're going to get all Buddhist here, it's because we're all going to die and no one can reassure you that you're not going to die because it's not true. And the forms of failure we imagine in our head, we are reserving an emotion, similar to the emotion we have for death to go with those things.

No amount of reassurance is going to make you the artist you want to be. It's not gonna make you the parent you're capable of being. It's not going to make you. The contributor, the linchpin, the impresario, the employee, you could be reassurance is futile. We need to stop looking for it and accept the fact that what we do for a living is deal with that feeling.

That's our job.

Srini Rao: So you said something there that actually intrigues me. You said that when you wrote it, it made you nervous and I'm really interested in hearing about moments and ideas that you've shared that either made you nervous or that you may have even regretted sharing later on, because I think that was one of the questions that came in from one of our listeners when we mentioned that we were having you as a guest on the show, or like to Seth ever said anything and regrets.

Seth Godin: Oh, I say things I regret often. For a couple of reasons. One of them is that I didn't say it as clearly as I meant to. So I knew the change I wanted to make, but it caused a different change to happen. The second kind is when events proved me wrong, that doesn't mean I shouldn't have said it, if we're gonna be sportscasters in our own lives, it would be nice to remove the striking.

And then the third reason, which is the most common reason is because in order to capture the interest and attention of people, sometimes you have to be hyperbolic. And there are times when I have been more hyperbolic than I needed to be, but the cool thing. Is, I can't tell you any of these off the top of my head.

Cause I don't nurse them. I don't carry them around in a little box and remind myself, oh yeah, I remember that time. There are other things I nurse, but I don't nurse those. And I think letting them go is really important if you're going to do what we do for them.

Srini Rao: Hey, it's your knee. I hope you're liking this episode of the unmistakable creative.

Did you know that every Sunday, our community manager Molina sends up 10 key takeaways from

Seth Godin: episodes like this one. All you have to do to receive it is sign up for our newsletter. Just visit unmistakable creative.com/newsletter, and you'll get them delivered right

Srini Rao: to your inbox. Again. That's unmistakable creative.com/.

That's actually a sort of a fitting transition to what I want to talk about, but let's talk about that idea of letting go of the things that bother us, the internal narratives that trouble has. How do we cultivate a capacity to let go so that we can keep doing our work?

Seth Godin: I guess it comes down to, which is more important, keeping track of all the injustices and the people who owe you or going forward and teaching the people who are waiting for you to teach them because you can't do both.

Srini Rao: I love the simplicity of that. Let's talk about fear and specifically fear of failure.

We're doing work interestingly enough, that is in so many ways, such an extension of who we are, because it comes from us. And I know you make this distinction between taking it seriously and not taking it personally. And then wondering how you do that when the work is such an extension of who we are.

Seth Godin: I don't think it is an extension of who we are as people. I think there's one way to look at it, to say everything we do is who we are define me by my external actions. And in that case you were absolutely correct, but in that case, we better be making external actions that we're proud of.

The other way to think of it is that there's this truth of who we are. The real us, this is what we really want to do. This is who we truly are. And I don't think there's such a thing.

Srini Rao: So on that note, you knew, you said something in the book and I have certain passage underline. He said, when success doesn't occur, the easiest thing is to walk away and not make the mistake of speaking up again.

The most important thing to do though, is to do it again, to care again, and then seek to make change again. And. I get the feeling that there are people who, when success doesn't occur, actually don't take their turn again,

Seth Godin: almost everybody.

Srini Rao: Is that something that we

Seth Godin: can overcome? Oh, for sure. Most of the people who are listening to this learned how to walk sometime between the time they were six months old and three.

The only way you learn how to walk is by not walking, falling, not walking, falling, walking a little falling, walking a lot, falling walking. And if we had given up, we never would have learned how to walk. There's a long history of every successful person. Who's changed anything beginning with them learning how to walk, where they didn't give up.

So it's not in our DNA. This is not a thing that you are born to do or not do. It's a cultural thing. It's a S it's a thing. Something you've been taught. It's most of all, a monologue that you've got about promises, you are making commitments, you are making and reassurance, you are seeking. And, the bar keeps rising.

When I started as a book packager, there were 50,000 books that came out a year, which means that every year, 50,000 people. Went through the effort and took the risk to make a book happen and bring it to the world. Now, there are 50,000 books that come out in the United States every two weeks. So we've increased by a factor of 25, the number of people who care enough to write something down.

What's it going to take for it to happen? 25 more times, right? Is it something, is it the floor dated water supply? That's doing this? Actually what's happening is. It's becoming more common, which is making it more common. It's not just the technological insight that allows it to occur.

It's the fact that you are, it is more socially acceptable to do it. And because it's socially acceptable, people think it's more possible. And since they think it's more possible and more likely to work, they do it. And that raises the bar for everyone, including people like me, because you're not one in a million anymore.

You're one into some smaller number, right? Yeah. That means we got to dig even deeper and find something else, even more worth caring about and then bring that to the world.

Srini Rao: Interestingly enough one of the other things that you talk about is this idea that we've invented monologues around taking things seriously and personally, and I am really interested in and how we start to alter that monologue so that it serves us rather than sabotage.

Seth Godin: Okay. The first, most difficult part is saying I would like to have the monologue be something that serves us, not sabotages us. That's the hardest part

Srini Rao: I'm going to try to understand.

Seth Godin: Okay. Most people deny that there's a model. Most people who don't deny there's a monologue think that the monologue is a given and that they can't alter it in any way. And most people who have this unalterable monologue indulge it all the time by seeking reassurance.

You just did something really unusual. You said I would like to change the monologue into something that helps me do better work. Most people don't do that.

Srini Rao: Because they're seeking

Seth Godin: reassurance. Because it's, goldfish doesn't really even notice the water in the tank. Fair enough.

Now, among people who do notice the monologue who do believe it is changeable and want to do better work, there are countless ways that people way smarter than I have outlined about how. First help the monologue be quiet. That's the essence of Buddhism is to live with the feeling, but get rid of the story.

And then you could then on top of that, develop a practice, a series of habits, a process that remind you of what you are capable of. Insulate you from the things that amplify the monologue. So there are a lot of good reasons. I don't have comments on my blog. A lot of good reasons. I don't use Facebook.

The biggest one is hearing negative feedback from anonymous people with whom I have no relationship will do nothing, but push me to hide. So they're not there because if they're not there, I can't look at them.

Srini Rao: That's really interesting considering, one of the questions that came up was what your thoughts are around all these platforms.

And yet, the interesting thing is this is how so many people are connecting to their audiences. So I'd be curious to hear what you'd say about that. And that's how so many of their audiences ended up, having their message spread.

Seth Godin: There's a long history going back long before Jim Morrison of crowds of people showing up to wash their hero self.

And being super vulnerable, incredibly open, willing to let anyone who shows up, take a swing at you is a good way to get a crowd. It is not clear to me. It is a good way to do good work. And I think that there is a difference between the scalable connection that is possible in certain asymmetrical relationships.

Meaning that, for example, you can't engage with a Bob Dylan or Stephen King, anytime you want to. And it's impossible because for every one of them, there are 5 million of us can't work. But that doesn't mean you can't figure out how. Join a fan club become a member of a tribe, organize a book group, figure out how to subscribe to a concert alert.

When he's coming to town, they're all sorts of ways. These forms of media help with asymmetrical relationships. But that doesn't mean that these people, despite the poor nomenclature of Facebook are your friends. They're not your friends and Dunbar's number of 150. We've stretched it, but it is no way it's more than 500.

It's even Gary V doesn't have more than 500 real friends. And what that means is if you're going to spend all your time, pretending these people are your friends, you're going to exhaust yourself. And if you really want to Be of service to your friends, get intimate and spend a lot of time servicing those 1000 true fans, those 500 people or accept the fact that a creative has an asymmetrical relationship with her audience and realize that those people can't possibly be your friends.

Srini Rao: Wow. That's profound. I've never thought of it that way before. Yeah. Earlier in our conversation, you mentioned that we have the opportunity to choose between creative and cog. And I'm wondering why there are people who would still choose cog.

Seth Godin: Okay. Let's think about this a you're off the hook completely off the hook.

If Delta airlines messes up someone's flight, the flight attendant can look you in the eye and say, Hey, I just work here and mean it. That's a tremendous source of. You are not responsible at some level. If that's the choice you've made, you're responsible in the long run because you chose to work for them.

But in this 15 minute window, not your fault, clearly not your fault. And the person at the other end of the counter knows it's not your fault. Number two is. The industrialist made a promise 150 years ago. And generally until recently they kept it, which is do what I say, and I will pay you and I will pay you on a regular basis and I will keep paying you for 45 years and then you will have.

That was a pretty seductive offer to someone who grew up in a culture where that was about as far as you can go there, there are countries on this planet that I have been to where the highest aspiration is to work in an air conditioned office at the post office because you're indoors, it's steady, it's safe.

And it's. And to say to that person. No. You should start establishing futures in rice and trading these things and bringing the, and it's going to be quite a rollercoaster. Let's go. That person looks at you. Like you're crazy because his parents or grandparents were peasants and working in the post office is a pretty good deal.

Srini Rao: So that actually takes me to the next question. There's a section of the book that really stood out to me where I know you basically went to talk to kids at an investment bank. And one of them talked about waiting until their debts are paid off to go and actually do something that's important, or that makes a difference.

And I can't help, but think that is a conversation that is going on in the heads of almost anybody listening. It's a conversation that I have with myself every day, because I have student loan debt. And yet there's two conversations. I have. One is okay if I get to the end of my life and I've paid off that debt, that's all how I'll have accomplished.

If I don't pay off the debt and I've done this, at least I'll have contributed something of significance to the world. And I'm really interested in your perspective on that entire near.

Seth Godin: I used the example from the New York investment bank, because it was just so profound in the contrast between blue suited, privileged kids who look like you think they look like whose parents are masters of the universe who got this job because someone knew someone and their narrative.

Clearly belies their position in the world of, I need to wait if they need to wait, then everyone needs to wait. And so the point was they don't need to wait. They want to wait there. And once they wait longer, They're going to keep waiting because then they're going to have kids and they're going to have a mortgage and they're going to have a Tesla and it'll never be the right time.

I went to business school with people who 35 years ago told me that they were going to be an entrepreneur. They're just waiting for the right idea. And at the reunion just a little while ago, I was told many of those people said they're still waiting for the right idea, but just silly right now, if your goal is.

Make enough money to get out of debt. The best way to do that in 2015 is not to go to work for someone who tells you what to do all day. The best way to make money is to be an impresario, to establish things that need to be established, to make a ruckus that people are willing to pay for. But the other thing that's going on in.

There are student loan programs in place. Now that if you are doing work, that doesn't make a lot of money we'll temporarily or permanently forgive your debt. If you go to work at do something that org, they just announced the other day, that over time they will pay off your student loans while you are working for the largest teen charity.

The point is seducing yourself into thinking that you need to be miserable day in and day out for five years, 10 years or 15 years, because you went to school for four years, ostensibly to change the world. It seems like such a ridiculous paradox to me. If you went to school because you wanted to do more binge drinking and joining a fraternity, at least admit that, and it was the most expensive party of your life.

But if you really went because you wanted to open doors, so you could mean something the time to do it is right now, not when this mythical date in the future, when somehow you've saved all this money, because guess what? You probably.

Srini Rao: One of my favorite ways to spread the message of our mission here at the unmistakable.

Creative is through speaking in the last few years, I've delivered keynotes and workshops to professional associations, large companies like Citibank and Meredith Corp and even small ones on how creativity can lead to better working environments, fuel innovation and increase the bottom line. So if you think I'd be a fit for your upcoming event and want to learn more, visit speaking about unmistakable creative.com and get in touch again.

That's speaking dot unmistakable creative. Wow. It's funny because when you said the binge drinking and party thing, I think about my Pepperdine MBA and I think, yeah, that was a really expensive surf lesson.

Seth Godin: Sorry to hear that.

Srini Rao: Let's do this. I think this makes a perfect setup to talk about something that has been a real hot button here on the show.

And with a lot of people who knew you were coming, as well as with many parents who actually use the content from their show, amazingly enough to homeschool their kids. It's a way that I never imagined that this work would be utilized. And one of the things I think that has been coming up over and over.

What do we do with education? How do we change it? It's clear that it is broken. People like mark Cuban are saying, it's the next bubble that's gonna burst. I keep calling when I call the student loan vendor, I keep thinking, how long can you guys continue this before the roof caves in? And the whole thing just collapses.

So I'm really interested in hearing what your thoughts are on the future of education and what it means for really young kids and parents

Seth Godin: to let's make sure we divide this into the appropriate categories. College. Is different college is a bubble. There is no way as the return on investment declines and the price of debt goes up that it can be sustained forever.

I don't know when it will end, but it will. That doesn't mean colleges will disappear, but it means the idea that college is an extension of high school with more tests, more compliance, and a focus on exactly what I'm not sure. It's hard to keep that up in the face of free, massive online courses, that if someone is thirsty enough to learn, they can learn more from faster.

So college though, we have this opportunity as parents and students, which is. If you're paying a quarter of a million dollars, you're the customer. And what we see at places like Northeastern, which has 94% of its people graduating with a job is that the customer has spoken and said, we want to come to an institution that is going to push us and train us to do work while we're here.

And after we leave. And we also see institutions. And there's a whole bunch of them in a book called 40 colleges that change lives that are focused on the opposite of that, a true liberal arts education that pushes students not to get good grades, but to actually learn to think the goal of that education is to make you thirsty.

Because if you leave thirsty, you will always be able to drink at the fountain of knowledge that the internet has given. But too many people get home from work and turn on Netflix as opposed to turning on Coursera. And as a result, we are sacrificing our future as adults, by refusing to be thirsty enough to learn.

So I think that there isn't a top-down solution to this. There's a solution that says I, the student and I, the parent refused to write you this check. Cause the degree you're selling me, isn't worth what you're charging. We need it to be something else. Significantly more interested in public school K through 12, because I think public school is what makes our country what it is and Canada what it is.

I think public school is an extraordinary opportunity to universally set both the culture and the level of thirst that people have. And I think it has. Abducted by people who wanted to be a finishing school for folks who are going to get a factory job to teach people to be compliant. I wrote about this in linchpin and a little bit, but I spoke about it.

A great deal in a Ted talk TEDx talk. I did call it stop stealing dreams, go to stop stealing dreams.com. It's free to get the ebook. My goal, the books been downloaded 3 million times. My goal is for everyone who gets ebook to email it to every person in the PTA, every school board member and every parent they know because we are not asking the key question, which is what is school?

I think if we start asking that question, we're going to discover that the people who are in charge don't have the same answer we want them to have. And we ought to dig in really deep right away and say, let's make a school that does what we want it to do. It's totally possible to do that. If you look at the lab school in Manhattan my cousin, Brooke, is the principal there.

She's doing extraordinary work in redefine. What a high or high school can do. She doesn't have a big budget. She has an extraordinarily diverse student body she's changing lives because that's one of the things school is for when I think it's clear that school is not for is to teach kids, to sit still and take standardized tests.

Yeah,

Srini Rao: I would say so do you think. People don't ask the question. What is school for, especially at those administrative levels and higher levels, the people who actually have the power to change, because they're scared of what the answer might be.

Seth Godin: The have the power to change. Are the parents? Yeah.

Everyone is afraid of the parents. Everyone works for their parents. If enough parents show up just for a week. Asking the same question over and over again, the school will start to change. There's no question about it. People don't ask the question because they're afraid of sounding stupid. They're afraid of their neighbors.

We added some skirmishes at my public school. Should we spend money on a new football field? And at the same time, there was a question that says, should we spend money on teaching kids a foreign language in first grade? And they got juxtaposed with each other, even though they should not have been.

This or this, it quickly becomes that. And if you're one of those people who stands up and says, if you don't believe in football, you're being elitist, someone else was stands up and says, school is not to train the brain damaged NFL players of tomorrow. Suddenly it becomes a really personal neighbor to neighbor conversation.

So instead we don't have the conversation. And instead, we ended up with a status quo, AstroTurf, everywhere you look, people who are anti intellectual saying, no, you should learn that at home two AP courses is enough, whatever, any way you want to look at it. That for me, we need the kind of spirit that we have in kindergarten to extend all the way to.

You can't say you can't play, this is what it's like to create. This is what it's like to ask hard questions. This is what it's like to learn, how to play. And then from sixth grade to 12th grade, we need a sprint where we teach kids to be thirsty. We teach them to lead and we teach them to solve interesting problems.

And if we can do those things, then I have plenty of time and money for football, but I think that's what school is for. And if someone thinks school is for something else, I hope that they will speak up and make a case for it.

Srini Rao: Let's do this. Let's shift gears a little bit and let's talk as ridiculous as it sounds about this idea of learning, how to think we just had Alvin and Pauli here last week.

And one of the things that he said to me about working with you was that Seth teaches you how to think. Okay. What's interesting to me about your work is anytime I pick up one of your books, I know I'm not going to get a tactic or a roadmap at all. In fact, I think of every one of your books as a compass, that points us in a direction and the rest of it is up to us to figure

Seth Godin: out that means a lot to me.

Thank you.

Srini Rao: And I'm really interested in, how you would describe your model of the world. And of course, you know what we can take away from that to cultivate this capacity, to learn, to think. And then I want to talk about thirst because there's one really interesting story from the Euro hurtin challenge that caught my attention.

Okay. I realized that three questions

Seth Godin: in one, how to learn, how to think. I know. Addressed that topic directly. So if outfields that way, I am thrilled, but that's not what I try to do. I started the six month program. I ran with him in it by teaching people how to make decisions. And I think making decisions is not the same as learning how to think, but it goes a long way to get used to.

And I don't think many people spend any time whatsoever thinking about how to make decisions. And I wish they did making decisions involves economics and it involves science and it involves rational thought and involves gathering evidence. But not too much. There are a lot of things that go with the topic of making decisions.

And often we see people who are seduced by the tribe that they belong to. And they give up the privilege of making decisions and let the person in charge of the tribe, make decisions instead. And this idea of saying ditto all the time makes the tribe more powerful, but it doesn't make our world better.

And if you can start with something that's not emotional, like making decisions, learning how to ignore sunk costs, learning how to figure out what it is you want learning how to. I understand that in a limited resource world, which we have to be in, because there's an, because there's limited time figure out what your goals are and how the decisions you make help with those goals.

I think opens the door to learning how to think.

Srini Rao: I love that's so fascinating. Cause it makes me think through our entire process of how we got it. A brand that by all accounts was working and people told us don't change the name of blood cast FM. That makes absolutely no sense. And yet when we did the response was astounding because we wanted it to be much more creative.

We wanted artwork. We wanted our about page to be a cartoon and there's no best practice anywhere that would tell you to do any of the things that.

Seth Godin: Even if it hadn't worked, I'm glad you did it. And the fact that it did work, I hope opens the door for you to do the next thing. That's scary as you to death.

Srini Rao: so let's talk briefly about this idea of thirst, because I know you have to get going. There was a story in the, your turn challenge that somebody had put up somebody who had attended one of your weekend programs and had been accepted to the whole thing. And then they said that they hadn't done it yet.

Since the program, whatever idea that they had come to work on whatever project they wanted to put out into the world, they had done absolutely nothing with it. And in my mind, I thought, okay, something happened to the thirst there, and I'm really interested in, one where does thirst go? How do we get it back?

And how do we keep it up so that we can keep drinking?

Seth Godin: The enemy of creativity is fear. That seems pretty clear. The enemy of. It's creativity. That doesn't seem that obvious that when you find yourself getting stuck, it will express itself by you not feeling like it. And you will associate not feeling like it would losing your thirst.

And that's the thirst for new knowledge. We'd rather revisit old knowledge. It's the thirst for putting yourself in situations that might not work in exchange for doing things that do work. These are all ways that we express our fear, but the fear is hiding out. The lizard brain is quite clever. The resistance as Pressfield would call it is omnipresent.

And so we just say, I don't feel like it. And we say what's in my email box. I'll check that instead. And the way. It gets dealt with that in my experience is you create a habit, which is every single time the thirst starts to go away. You call it out, you label it and then you do something creative.

Srini Rao: Is that why you've made a daily habit of writing?

Seth Godin: Oh, I think everyone should write a blog every day. Even if no one. And interesting, countless reasons why it's a good idea. I can't think of one reason why it's a bad idea.

Srini Rao: So let's talk about the reasons why it's a good idea. Just so people have a case for doing cause I started doing it and I fell off the radar a little bit recently, but it makes me think I should get back to it.

And I honestly, it's a new blog that nobody reads. And I did it honestly for myself because I figured there would be something to learn. If nothing else, they would open up other insights that I didn't currently have.

Seth Godin: If you have to write a blog post. Something in writing something that will be around six months from now about something in the world, you will start looking for something in the world to write about, and you will seek to notice something interesting and to say something creative about it.

Isn't that all we're looking for, that best practice of generously sharing. What you notice about the world is exactly the antidote.

Srini Rao: Wow. That's amazing. Seth I want to wrap with one final question, which is how we close all our interviews here at the unmistakable creative, and I'm really interested to hear your perspective on this.

What do you think it is that makes somebody or something on mistake?

Seth Godin: we didn't practice this, so I don't have a glove answer. Let me think.

Srini Rao: Which is exactly why I asked the

Seth Godin: question. I think the problem is if you ask it every time people are going know and there'll be ready next time. I would say the following the path to become unmistakable is the willingness.

To be wrong, to be criticized and most of all to matter. And if you're willing to do something that matters, you are likely to be in the minority. It probably means you're doing something that's unmistakable.

Srini Rao: Seth it has been my absolute pleasure to bring you back to our show for a second time.

For everybody listening, we will link up all of the books and all the resources that Seth has mentioned. Again, always a pleasure to have you here as a guest, and really appreciate the generosity of all of your work. Thank you, sir. We'll talk to

Seth Godin: you soon. All right. Bye-bye.

Srini Rao: Thank you for listening to this episode of the unmistakable creative podcast while you're listening.

Were there any moments you found fascinating, inspiring, instructive, maybe even heartwarming. Can you think of anyone, a friend or a family member who would appreciate this moment? If so, take a second and share today's episode with that one person because good ideas and messages are meant to be shared.

Instead of spending your day and back to back meetings, try a new kind of FaceTime with loom. You can use Lim to get a quick recording of your screen and webcam explaining what the team needs to know it uploads while you record. So it's ready to share. As soon as you're done, just copy the link and paste it in slack teams or an email and get back to work.

A three minute video just might replace your next 30 minute meeting. Was it loom.com to try LUME for free that's loom.com to try LUME for free today. Loom see you at work.

Seth Godin

Seth Godin is the author of nineteen international bestsellers that have been translated into over 35 languages, and have changed the way people think about marketing and work. For a long time, Unleashing the Ideavirus was the most popular ebook ever published, and Purple Cow is the bestselling marketing book of the decade.