Failing On Our Way To Mastery | Seth Godin on The Knowledge Project

Check out The Knowledge Project Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  •  Your company shouldn’t be for everyone, it should be for someone
    • “Nobody has everyone as their customer” – Seth Godin
  • The internet is not a mass medium, it is a micro medium. It’s the best medium at reaching specific groups of people and the worst medium at reaching everyone.
  •  “Learning is the act of failing on our way to mastery” – Seth Godin
  • Living in your own reality can be fun in the short term, but it’s dangerous in the long term
    • “It is really dangerous to deny science and accurate reporting of the world around us” Seth Godin
  • Amateurs show up when they want to and make what they want to make. Professional show up when they’re supposed to and do what they need to do.
    • “If you’re going to be a pro, it means you need to understand the state of the art, it means you need to raise the bar, you need to understand who it’s for and what it’s for and what change do you seek to make.” – Seth Godin
  • Defend your time and realize it’s okay to say NO to a request
    • Most people would rather hear a quick no from you than hear a yes but then you never follow up with them
  • Live talks aren’t necessarily about informing the audience, it’s about entertaining them
    • “Your goal is not to deliver information but to deliver emotion to cause a change in the people who are hearing you” – Seth Godin

Intro

Books Mentioned

Have A Process

  • Seth starts his new book with a quote from sculptor Elizabeth King: “Process saves us from the poverty of our intentions”
    • When you have a process or practice, you can get through any emotions or intentions that distract you from completing the work that matters most
      •  E.g: Seth has a process around publishing a blog post every day no matter how he’s feeling
  • Shortcuts or hacks will only get you so far in life
    • “Building a business to last a 1,000 years, you’re not going to be able to do that with shortcuts or hacks” – Seth Godin

Being For Someone > Being For Everyone

  • Your company shouldn’t be for everyone, it should be for someone
    • “Nobody has everyone as their customer” – Seth Godin
      • E.g: One of the most successful book series of all-time, like Harry Potter, has made the author over $1 billion but still isn’t for everyone
  • The internet is not a mass medium, it is a micro medium. It’s the best medium at reaching specific groups of people and the worst medium at reaching everyone.
  • When you create a product or company to satisfy the needs of a specific group of people, your customers will find you and will tell other people in their group about your work

The 3 Pillars of Change

  • 1) What change do you seek to make?
    • Are you here to do as you’re told or are you here to question and make things different?
  • 2) What possibility do you see?
    • What possibilities do you see in the change you seek to make? 
  • 3) How much emotional labor are you able and willing to expend to accomplish the thing you set out to do?
    • Emotional labor is showing up and doing things you may not feel like doing. The more you care about accomplishing something, the more emotional labor you’ll be willing to put into it.

How We Learn 

  • Learning about a topic < Doing that topic
    • “The only way to learn is by doing things” Seth Godin
      • You can read books about swimming, but it isn’t until you get into the water that you’ll actually learn how to swim
  • Reading books and listening to advice is a great way to prepare, but true learning occurs through action
    • “Learning is the act of failing on our way to mastery” – Seth Godin
  • Seth isn’t a fan of traditional education because schools teach students how to memorize information, not how to actually learn and use that information

Become An Observer of Reality

  • Living in your own reality can be fun in the short term, but it’s dangerous in the long term
    • “It is really dangerous to deny science and accurate reporting of the world around us” Seth Godin
      • E.g: You can’t deny the laws of thermodynamics or facts of epidemiology
  • Test your reality to see if it’s legitimate. Hold it up to examination. If it passes, then we’re seeing reality for what it really is.

Advice On Giving Talks

  • Live talks aren’t necessarily about informing the audience, it’s about entertaining them
    • “Your goal is not to deliver information but to deliver emotion to cause a change in the people who are hearing you” – Seth Godin
      • Even if you’re doing a live talk virtually, the goal is still to change the energy in the room and to sell people on your idea

Good Books vs Bad Books

  • Seth writes books because the idea won’t go away unless he does
  • Good books are books that couldn’t be a blog post and needed to be a full-length book
    • “You should write it at the length you need it to be to make it singular and idiosyncratic and peculiar because we don’t have an information shortage and we don’t have a book shortage.” – Seth Godin
  • Bad books are when the authors focus on gaming the bestseller list, focusing on every review they get, or worry about what their friends think of the book even though their friends don’t read books

Professionals vs Amateurs

  • Doing what you love is for amateurs, loving what you do is for professionals
  • Amateurs show up when they want to and make what they want to make. Professional show up when they’re supposed to and do what they need to do.
  • You don’t have to go pro in your hobbies. But if you want to, it will require a different perspective:
    • “If you’re going to be a pro, it means you need to understand the state of the art, it means you need to raise the bar, you need to understand who it’s for and what it’s for and what change do you seek to make.” – Seth Godin

Creative Advice

  • Don’t hide behind perfection. If your work has met your specifications, ship it. You can always upgrade it later.
  • The mistake that many people building something make is they get hung up on the feedback of people who it’s not for as opposed to being obsessed with the people who it is for
  • If the voice in your head is shaming you for not being good enough,you need to figure out how to undo that internatl narrative
    • When you start to hear negative thoughts and voices in your head, become aware of it and stop it
  • Learn the separate the feedback of your idea is bad from you are a bad person–those are two completely different things

Hard Earned Life Lessons

  • People are fueled by completely different things. A CEO may be fueled by equity whereas an employee may not care about it.
  • Living your life through the mindset of “It’s just business” is a horrible way to go. Don’t cross or cheat people for money, status, or anything else.
  • Embrace the fact that having 1,000 true fans in more than enough to make a living. Often seeking more fans is just you wanting to play status games.

Additional Notes

  • A sunk cost is a gift from your former self to your present self. You can choose whether or not to accept that gift.
    • E.g: If you have a pair of shoes that no longer fit you, you have the choice of either wearing them and being uncomfortable or throwing them out
  • To make better decisions, Seth has created a frame around what he can and can’t do
    • E.g: He made the decision to not eat meat years ago and has stuck to that decision
  • Defend your time and realize it’s okay to say NO to a request
    • Most people would rather hear a quick no from you than hear a yes but then you never follow up with them
  • Coaching is when a domain expert provides feedback that makes you become better. Criticism is when a domain expert provides feedback that makes you feel worse and makes them feel better about themselves. 
  • The biggest mistakes in Seth’s life come from omission, such as not starting more things, not helping more people, not saying the right thing  

Knowledge Project : , , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

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