The Genius of Seth: Making Sense of Our Creative Freedom

"Don't wait. The time will never be just right." Napoleon Hill


As a blogger and every day mom/sister/creative, I look forward to receiving Seth Godin's blog posts via email. Whether long or short, each post from Seth gives me something to mull over; another way to look at myself and the world around me. Recently, I was reading some blog posts on Seth's site that got me thinking not only about the genius of finding original solutions for everyday problems, but also about the courage it takes to make the leap into the creative process and pursue your dreams.

Seth is one of my favorite authors and his most recent book is Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? What makes Linchpin an important book is that it highlights traits that Seth encourages all of us to embrace; to rise above mediocrity, do the necessary emotional work, and carve a path that distinguishes us from the dispensable masses or pay the price of becoming just another cog in the workplace wheel.

Seth's book tackles the lizard brain that constantly interferes with our inner desire to change. It is that petulant, whiny voice in our heads that dismisses everything and prefers to settle for less. We must push past the lizard and take the leap to find our creative genius even in the face of fear.

Unless we do work that matters; work that uplifts, redirects, reinvents, creates change in our world, we are simply biding our time and that is not a comforting thought. In Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?, Seth encourages us to meet the artist within and make her shine. This is definitely a book everyone should buy and read. Now where was I before I digressed? Seth's writings always trigger an avalanche of thoughts and ideas for me. Does this happen to you too? Let's get back to Seth's blog posts that got me thinking and writing...

First of all, what got me thinking was Seth's piece on how genius is misunderstood and comes from many failed attempts at "using human insight and initiative to find original solutions that matter." The writing process demands the same level of persistence and what we eventually read as great writing often comes from many days/months/years of rewrites and painstaking edits.

The genius of blogging comes from staying committed to writing regularly in a public arena, often without supervision or compensation, developing your craft and a body of work you can call your own. Later in life, you can look back at your public journaling, vis a vis your blog posts, knowing you did contribute to the conversation.

When I started blogging in late 2008, I took baby steps and posted only a few thoughts on my WordPress blog Mirth and Motivation. I was quite self conscious of my effort because I grew up reading great authors and great writing and I had reservations about my skills. What I needed to remember is that writing is a labor of persistent love; it comes with peaks and valleys, lots of re-writes, and the key is to start.

I did start and have no regrets. I encourage others to do same, for the genius of writing that first blog post and the next is that it opens the door to other creative outlets and helps you let go of the limited expectations you placed on yourself. Write your blog, share it, ship it and trust that the universe will let the rest follow. Seth's blog post helped drive this point home.

This brings me to the second post I was reading on Seth's site that got me thinking about the genius of creating work that entertains and adds value even if it is free or, in the case of Apple, a few products that fit on a table but bring in huge rewards. Seth offered two quotes for a snowy day (we were recovering from a snowstorm here on the east coast); one from Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post and the other from Tim Cook of Apple.

Arianna: "Self expression is the new entertainment; we never used to question why people sit on the couch for seven hours a day watching bad TV. Nobody ever asked, 'Why are they doing that for free?' We need to celebrate [this desire to contribute for free] rather than question it."
Tim Cook: "This is the most focused company I know of, am aware of, or have any knowledge of... We say no to good ideas every day ... And we had revenue last year of $40 billion."
As I understand it, whether we give our ideas freely or say no to some good ideas, what matters is that we continue to contribute to the conversation again and again with focus - that is where genius resides.

The point is that we must pursue our goal of creative freedom vigorously. It demands commitment, vigilance and a willingness to share it freely if necessary. Our lizard brain might say "I need this and I need that," but the perfect time to start is now.

What have I learned from Seth Godin? Above many other life lessons, I have learned generosity of spirit and the importance of self-validation. Start your blog today and write; for the more you create, the more you will learn, and the more you will bloom. Now go meet your creative muse... HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY SETH!

Until Next Time...
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank

 

The indispensable employee brings humanity and connection and art to her organization. She is the key player, the one who's difficult to live without, the person you can build something around.