I was at the Mermaid Theatre in London a couple of days ago to hear Seth Godin speak about his latest book The Icarus Deception.
I’ve been reading his blog for years. I’ll be honest – I’ve had moments of doubt in between when I wasn’t quite sure why I continued to read what he had to say (some of it is proper marketing spiel), but his talk this week yet again put those doubts to rest (I saw him speak a few years ago when he was in London last). He’s sort of like Oprah Winfrey for the creative masses – I scribbled that phrase down as I was listening to him. He’s also very honest, which is why it’s easy to believe him.
I have no map, all I have is a compass.
As he said, he wasn’t telling us anything new, but he was gently guiding us towards what we feel we ought to be doing, just never really say out loud. He says we all have art in us, we’re just conditioned not to act to bring it to live – we’re conditioned to be in a 9-to-5 job right from when we were young. He did a quick experiment to bring this to life – he asked us to raise our hands and all of us did so without really asking why, or at least the majority of us did. And that’s because we’re taught to do that from school whenever we want to say something. We ask for permission to do things when we really ought to just go out there and do it.
One of the excuses we often make about not doing something is that we’re waiting for our ducks to be in a row. Make enough money, buy a house, finish a course, whatever. He challenged us by saying:
What will you do with your ducks when they are all in a row?
Penguin are a really smart publishing company that really gets new media – this was the first Penguin Live event. They gave each of us 2 copies of the book, with a request by Godin to give the extra copy to ‘anyone who would be uncomfortable by it.’ Penguin also built an app which enabled anyone at the event (we each had a unique code at the bottom of the bag we were given the books in), to gift a copy via Twitter to anyone who inspires them. I gave mine to Collyn, who I think is doing very inspiring stuff with Rapha, and who I just heard has been invited to speak at the next Do Lectures. Go C! Penguin should be in touch with you via Twitter to get your address so they can send the book to you.
There was also a letter-pressed bookmark, which Seth Godin asked us to secretly insert in a copy of the book in any bookstore. People who find a bookmark were asked to email a picture of it him – he’s collecting them all here.
To close, we saw 5 people stand up and speak about things they’re doing in their lives that took some courage to get going. Amongst these were Anne McCrossan who spoke about starting Visceral Business and Matthew Stafford who spoke about starting 9others.com. I also learnt of the Positive Deviance Network.
Right, now to to dust those cobwebs off those ideas of mine…