Seth Godin’s publishers bailed and forgot the index in his latest book (Linchpin). And he .. didn’t … notice. Which brings me to the question: who cares about indexes, and who uses them anyway…?
I never REALLY did until today — when I downloaded a searchable pdf Linchpin index online. Will I ever use this again? I may, or I may not. But I’m happy to have some fodder to riff on, and something to share — and so was Seth apparently, as he wrote a post about the index today. I’m also happy to report, I’m using the index to write this post and an impromptu review of the book apparently…
I wrote about Linchpin here the day it came out. I haven’t written about it again, except to post a picture of me and my Linchpin (which inexplicably has 1700+ views on my Posterous blog), and then to explain how the “resistance” stopped me from actually buying it until the day AFTER it came out — for 28 bucks at borders — and somehow to tie that into “changing the world,” but that’s another story.
Some of my favorite insights are when Seth reveals his own struggle:
“When you feel the resistance, the stall, the fear, and the pull, you known you’re on to something. Whichever way the wind of resistance is coming from, that’s the way to head — directly into the resistance. And the closer you get to achieving the breakthrough your genius has in mind, the stronger the wind will blow and the harder the resistance will fight to stop you.
I stopped writing this book a dozen times, Each time, the force that got me to pick it up again was the resistance. I realized that my lizard brain was afraid of this book, which is the best reason I can think of to write it.” – Seth Godin
One of the “reasons” I hadn’t yet written an official “review” is because: I felt it was just TOO big to write about (hint: resistance). I really had no idea where to start! In my mind, though, Seth has really become a sort of Yoda of marketing (“There is no try — ‘dere is only DO”).
Perhaps that’s the best starting point. Now that I have an index to refer to, it makes this a little easier too, since about every other page in my copy of the book is dog-eared and marked up…
The direction Seth Godin is going now is huge. Here’s Why:
He’s leveraging his massive influence to ignite a fire of revolutionary proportions. He’s stoking the flames of generosity, creativity and passion in the hearts and minds of our greatest thinkers and doers (and in my spirit too). He’s really on the crest of something big, the transformation that’s sweeping our culture for the past decade or so and shifting the old ways of selfish greed-based “commerce” into passionate gift-based “service.”
The voice in this book may appear to be talking to someone else, as opposed to you, at times. But be sure, the message is loud and clear, and yours to do with what you will:
“Everyone, every single person, has been a genius at least once. Everyone has winged it, invented, and created their way out of a jam at least once.
If you can do it once, you can do it again.
Art, at least art as I define it, is the intentional act of using your humanity to create a change in another person. How and where you do that art is a cultural choice in the moment. No one wrote novels a thousand years ago. No one made videos thirty years ago. No one Twittered poetry three years ago.”
The takeaway is: we humans are all artists. What we choose to do with our gifts, and how we choose to do it is ours to decide. That’s the greatest gift, the freedom of choice and possibility that we are able to access.
The wake-up message for me in this book was: stop thinking about building your business, providing good service, creating great “Value”; start focusing on expanding your heart into your business, being the best damn possible consultant you can be, and providing the best damn service you can, just BECAUSE you can. Even when that means fielding calls on a Sunday evening to fix an emergency shopping-cart glitch on a client’s recent site-launch (yes that was me two nights ago). Or offering a free consulting session to a client that really needs it, just because you can, and you see how easily you can make a huge impact on their business.
You do it, because you’re in some way hearing that part of yourself, that’s calling for you you to share your gift of humanity with the world:
“Art can’t be bought and sold. It must contain an element that’s a gift, something that brings the artist closer to the viewer, not something that insulates one from the other. So, we need to remember how to be artists.”
You just need to have the clarity and insight to create your own map.
Clarity of vision and purpose is perhaps the most important element, and one that is just barely touched on with the subject of “Prajna” in Linchpin. To be fair, listening to Seth talk about Buddhist concepts as they apply to work and art was surprisingly enjoyable, and he does devote a fair bit of time to the subject. But it is the subject for an entire book (and one that I’d enjoy reading). This one element may just be the most significant and powerful enabler of a purpose-driven, successful life.
Like so many insights in this book, there is no real step-by-step framework provided to have perfect Prajna, to vault into greatness, or to be “indispensable.” The point is, there IS no map, no “7-Steps to Linchpin Status,” no path to follow. You have to create it yourself — out of your own vision, and your own insight. That’s the great challenge (and that’s a good thing).
As my teacher used to say: “there is no path in the jungle, you have to make your own.”
“Artists, at least the great ones, see the world more clearly than the rest of us. They have Prajna, a sense of what actually is, not simply the artist’s take on it. That honest sight allows them to see the future over the cloudy horizon. As our world changes faster and faster, it is these honest artists who will describe our future, and lead us there.”
This is the sort of vision and clarity that allows the greatest inventions, the greatest art, and the greatest beauty to shine forth, persist in the face of challenge, and truly make lasting transformation.
Shining forth from a place of clarity and vision, even the smallest act, or seemingly insignificant contribution, becomes part of something bigger and brighter than you. Something with the power to change the world. Something as small as a single Tweet.
Can a single Tweet change the world?
The life-changing power of Twitter is it’s ability to connect people, and incite change. When I recently started posting short 120-characters or less Linchpin quotes from myTwitter account, I didn’t think much of it. But then I started to notice thousands of other people doing the same, and using the #Linchpin hash-tag, which connected us all together and made our quotes findable by others doing the same. Suddenly, a connection was formed between all of us. Something that wasn’t there before, but now instantly possible.
That only happened, because each of those people took the initiative and the opportunity to share their inspiration with the world. Inspiration with the power to incite transformation.
It also supports one of the key take-away’s of all this for me:
“Your personality and attitude are more important than the actual work you create, because indispensable work is work that is connected to others.”
When my approach, and my attitude, and the way I “feel” inside is flowing, and clear and in alignment with my perceived purpose, then my business grows, my work flows, and my experience is quite beautiful. That is something truly worth sharing, and that’s when true magic happens.
Will you allow your art and clarity, and sharing bring magic to life? What will that look like, I wonder…?
If you’d care to join me on the journey, I have a fun and free newsletter you can sign up for here. Join me on the social networks, and please share with your friends with the links below. I appreciate your support! :)
Here’s the index from Scribe: (may be easier to find online vs on your computer, the next time you need it, but the searchable pdf is a little more functional)