Seth Godin (@thisissethsblog) is an entrepreneur, a teacher, a Marketing Hall of Fame inductee, a daily blogger, the host of the Akimbo podcast, and the author of 20 (or so) international bestsellers. His latest is The Practice: Shipping Creative Work.
What We Discuss with Seth Godin:
- Why trust is really the heartbeat of the creative process.
- Why writer’s block is a myth.
- What’s a success trap, and why do creators fall into them?
- What can we do when what we do is never enough to make us happy?
- How regularly asking yourself the question “What would I do if I knew I could not fail?” might just help you divorce yourself from outcome dependence.
- And much more…
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Seth Godin is a living tsunami of productivity. He blogs every single day. He hosts a podcast. He’s an entrepreneur who’s been inducted into both the Marketing Hall of Fame and the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame. He’s a teacher who’s trying to change the way we learn. Oh, and he’s also found the time to write 20 (or so) international bestsellers — his latest is The Practice: Shipping Creative Work.
He’s also found the time to return to this show (if you missed his last appearance, make sure to catch it here), for which we’re grateful. In this episode, we talk about what it takes to make a living from creating — not only by finding people who want to buy our creations, but by trusting ourselves to have a steady hand with the process and execution of creating. This goes way deeper than the hollow call to “find your passion” that lazy gurus will peddle ad nauseam, and it comes from someone who’s probably written another two life-changing bestsellers in the time it took you to read this paragraph. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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Miss the show we did with Jonathan Haidt — the social psychologist who studies the American culture wars and is widely considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of morality? Catch up with episode 90: Jonathan Haidt | The Danger of Good Intentions and Safe Spaces!
THANKS, SETH GODIN!
If you enjoyed this session with Seth Godin, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- The Practice: Shipping Creative Work by Seth Godin
- Seth Godin | Shining in the Light of One-Star Reviews | The Jordan Harbinger Show
- Akimbo: A Podcast
- The Akimbo Workshops
- Other Books by Seth Godin
- Seth Godin | Website
- Seth Godin | Blog
- Seth Godin | Twitter
- Seth Godin | Instagram
- Seth Godin | Facebook
- Seth Godin’s altMBA
Transcript for Seth Godin | Shipping Creative Work (Episode 445)
Jordan Harbinger: Coming up on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:02] Seth Godin: If you do enough bad writing, if you make enough bad podcasts, whatever it is, if you develop a practice, sooner or later, some good ones are going to slip through. And that is the only secret. Because perfectionism isn't about being perfect. Perfectionism isn't even about being good. It's about hiding.
[00:00:25] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. If you're new to the show, we have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, astronauts and entrepreneurs, spies and psychologists, even the occasional former cult member. And each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better critical thinker.
[00:00:51] Today, a free-flowing conversation with the amazing Seth Godin. He continues to be one of the most requested guests here on the podcast for the last few years. He's been on several times before if you'll recall. And if you've been listening for a while, you've heard those episodes. This is especially pertinent in conversation for creators, artists, and those who want to make a living from their creative work. We'll examine the concept of trust, which is at the heart of the creative process. We have to trust ourselves because no one's in charge of that process. There's no path. There's no clear-cut method to the top. Also, how do we find passion in our work? Do we follow our passion? And long-time show fans will know that I barfed a little in my mouth every time I hear the phrase, "Follow your passion." Last but not least, success traps — what are these? Why do creators like us fall into them? And what can we do when what we do is never enough to make us happy?
[00:01:40] If you're wondering how I managed to book all of these great thinkers, authors, and celebrities every single week, it's because of my network. And I'm teaching you how to build your network for free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. And by the way, most of the guests on the show, they subscribe or contribute to the course or both. So come join us, you'll be in smart company. Now here's Seth Godin.
[00:02:04] So it makes you nervous when your work resonates. That sounds unusual. You know, usually, people get really excited. Or is that what you mean by nervous?
[00:02:11] Seth Godin: I think if people aren't walking out of the theater, at least a few, then you're probably not as ahead of the curve as you'd like to be. So the challenge is how do you dance between that's obvious and, "Wow. I never thought of it that way before and now I see things differently," versus, "That makes absolutely no sense. I'm running away." If you go too far ahead, that's what happens. And I've written books and blog posts like that. But like when I wrote permission marketing people said I was delusional and they said that email marketing wasn't a thing. And that we would never happen.
[00:02:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:02:48] Seth Godin: That was horrible to hear, but I was right. And in the case of practice, I think I might be able to thread the needle here between, "That's really useful," and, "I never thought about that before." And that's sort of what I'm hearing. But a few people who would say I'm delusional would be helpful.
[00:03:07] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Okay. Well, I read it and I don't think you're delusional. Sorry to be unhelpful. I think it was spot on. Sorry to disappoint you. With email marketing, you know? Yeah. You are right. People are email marketing, even now I still see big companies kind of struggled to do it. You get your Nike newsletter or whatever if you've ever bought a pair of shoes and they have your email. But I always wonder, I go, "How come all of these places that come out with new stuff, they put a little like eight and a half by 11 flyer on the door that you don't even see when you walk in because there's 58 stickers on there and they go, "Have you heard about our new whatever?" And I go, "No. Tell me more about it." And they're like, "Well, there's a sign here and there's a sign over there." And I'm like, "This is game stop. There's signs everywhere and they're all lighting up. Why don't you just send it to me? Tell me."
[00:03:52] Seth Godin: You know what? I didn't say people were doing email marketing properly.
[00:03:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:03:56] Seth Godin: I just said that it's a $20 billion a year industry.
[00:03:59] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:03:59] Seth Godin: It was zero billion when I started. So it's a form of Dante's Inferno for me every day to open my inbox and watch how poorly people are doing 20 years after I told them how to do it right.
[00:04:13] Jordan Harbinger: So when you put out the book, a lot of people said you were wrong, you're delusional. It's never going to be a thing. And then you turned out to be right. Yes, that's gratifying. But how much control should that approval have over our work? Probably none, but that's easier said than done. Right?
[00:04:29] Seth Godin: Okay. So let's talk about criticism because that's a great place to dive in.
[00:04:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:04:34] Seth Godin: All criticism is not the same. And we should tattoo that on our foreheads probably backwards. So when you look in the mirror, you can see.
[00:04:41] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, you can read it yourself.
[00:04:42] Seth Godin: What does that mean? It means that if someone gives you a one-star review, all they're saying is, "This wasn't for me, not that I'm an erudite, insightful critic of the human condition. And I've read this carefully. I understand what you were trying to do and it deserves one star." They're saying, "This isn't for me." And if a vegetarian gives a steakhouse one star that doesn't tell you anything other than it's a steakhouse, right? So over time, I have gotten better, but I'm still terrible at ignoring criticism that isn't helpful to make them work better for the people the work is supposed to be.
[00:05:17] But then there's this other kind of criticism that's priceless. This is from someone who gets the joke, someone who's on the journey, someone who respects you, someone who's involved and they see that you missed the beat. They see that something wasn't quite right. So it was interesting. I don't know if you saw Hamilton on the Disney Channel.
[00:05:34] Jordan Harbinger: No, I haven't yet. Not yet.
[00:05:36] Seth Godin: Totally worth it, particularly if you turn on the subtitles, so you don't miss a word.
[00:05:39] Jordan Harbinger: Is it fast or something? Why would you miss a word?
[00:05:42] Seth Godin: Oh, the number of words per minute is very high.
[00:05:44] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, great. Okay. I can dig that.
[00:05:45] Seth Godin: And if you listen to Lin-Manuel Miranda, talk about his inspiration, every single sentence reflects back to three things that came before in the world. It's so rich, but you have a problem, a challenge, which is movies look like movies and plays when you see them in the theater look like plays. So one of the things about a play is that you get to decide what on the stage you're going to be looking at and in a movie you don't. So what should Hamilton be when you put it on the Disney Channel? Should it be a lockdown camera recording, one person's point of view, or should it be a movie? And he sort of did half and half.
[00:06:28] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, so everyone hated it. Who'd wanted one and got the other?
[00:06:31] Seth Godin: I don't think most people understood because it's such a powerful thing. It works, but I don't think most people understood why it made them feel just a little off. But if you've studied McLuhan and you've been looking at this kind of stuff for a long time, you could have been helpful in that editing room to say, "You know, maybe we need fewer cuts. Maybe we need more cuts because we're trying to — what is this thing?" And so if I'm making a book or a new form of media or workshop, I relished that sort of feedback because it's priceless. And what I was saying when we got started is — what you want to do with a book that's going to be around for a while is touch a button for people that helps them understand that they need this, but also turn on lights to places where there weren't any light.
[00:07:22] And often people, when that happens, will respond by saying you're delusional. And there are certain elements of this where they're doing that. When I talk about writer's block, isn't real. It's a myth. When I talk about reassurance being futile, these are things that are unsettling to people, and that's why I put them in because we need to consider them if we're going to do this work. All of us do this work of being creative.
[00:07:46] Jordan Harbinger: You mentioned that writer's block isn't real. I think there's probably a lot of people who are procrastinating writing, whatever it is, they're going to write by listening to this podcast or watching this video depending on where you're consuming it. And they're going, "Tell me more about how writer's block isn't real. I've been awake for three days. I've had six quarts of coffee and I'm staring at a blank page with a blinking cursor."
[00:08:05] Seth Godin: Yeah. Well, first of all, when I say writing, I don't just mean typing. I mean, making a podcast.
[00:08:11] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:08:11] Seth Godin: Or starting a consulting business or whatever it is you do. So I've been busy, laser forging these things on my Glowforge, they're maple blocks. I called them the writer's blocks and every one of them has on it, almost every one of them has on it. It says right here, "Writer's block is a myth," because — no such thing. There's no such thing as writer's block and it's real at the same time. We feel it, but plumbers don't get plumber's block and crossing guards don't get crossing guard blocks. So why do writers get this a special thing? And I think the mistake people make is they called it the wrong thing. You don't have any problem writing. What you have is fear of bad writing. Your fear of bad writing is making you feel blocked. And if you just showed me all your bad writing, I think we could agree you don't have writer's block. We just got over the hump. You showed me your bad writing. And if you do enough bad writing, if you make enough bad podcasts, whatever it is, if you develop a practice, sooner or later, some good ones are going to slip through. And that is the only secret.
[00:09:14] Isaac Asimov published 400 books. We worked together on a project years ago. And he told me that the secret of publishing — that one was hard to publish a book, 400 books — the secret is he got up every morning at 6:30 and he typed. And he typed until noon every day. And what happens is if you're committing five hours of typing a day, your subconscious says, "Well, if I'm going to type, I might as well type something good." Whereas if you don't have that commitment, if you don't have that practice, then you wait for perfect. And then you stop and then you negotiate and then you bargain. And the next thing you know, you're drinking a lot of coffee and two years have gone by.
[00:09:53] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I think I'm still working on making bad podcasts, but it's true. I suppose, with any project you do some shows and you go — or some books and you go, "Man, this just came right out. This chapter just came right out," and other times you go, "That was brutal." That was like one of those workouts where you go halfway through the thing in the bathroom and you're just catching your breath or you're like, you know, puking in the sink or whatever. And then you come back out and you go, "Maybe I just shouldn't come to this gym anymore. Maybe I shouldn't do this anymore." And then you take a nap or you come back to it or you have another one the next day and you go, "No, no, no, no, this is better. This one feels better." But you never get to this "feels better," if you never do the one that makes you puke in the sink. Right?
[00:10:34] Seth Godin: Exactly. And I think there are several short versions of this. One of them is we shouldn't do the work because we feel like it. We feel like it because we're doing the work.
[00:10:42] Jordan Harbinger: So is the trick or the tactic, the practical application, let's say it is with writing, just get up and start writing even if we don't know what the hell we're doing, just start writing even the most ridiculously mundane version of what we intended.
[00:10:56] Seth Godin: Especially if you don't know what you're doing because writing when you know what you're doing isn't particularly worthwhile. Because we already know that stuff. That it's an exploration. The subtitle of the book is ship creative work. And those three words all matter. And the first word, ship means that if it doesn't ship, it doesn't count. That our job is to show up and make things better, to improve things, to change things for a group of people. But if you're just waiting for perfect, you're not shipping and it's called work because it's not our hobby. It's the thing we signed up to do, even when we didn't feel like it. And so I'm arguing that if you have a decent job, and if you have a job you like, it's probably because you're not doing exactly what you did yesterday. You're probably not a compliant cog in a brutal system. You probably have some agency, some ownership, some ability to lead. That's the work to be creative. And you can claim you're blocked but really you're just afraid. And the way through it is to do it.
[00:12:01] Jordan Harbinger: You mentioned in the book — which by the way, I got that super rough cut, which I like. There's some tea sips in there and stuff. I think you should leave those in. That's what I think. I think it makes it even more real. Like, you're really sitting there talking to me because you go, "Oh wait, hold on," [slurp sound] right? And then, "All right, let me start that sentence over." It's so much more realistic. That would be an interesting experiment, right? Just the unedited audio of a book released on Audible with a cough or a sneeze may be edited out just for volume.
[00:12:27] Seth Godin: I will let them know.
[00:12:28] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah, I'm sure they're keen to try that with your latest work. You did mention in the book, this industrial system that we have has brainwashed us into believing that the outcome matters and that this is a bad bargain. Can you speak to that a little bit? Because I think a lot of people are outcome dependent. I know I certainly started that way. I find myself falling back to that all the time. It's hard. Maybe it's the United States thing, Western thing, but it's really hard not to have an outcome in mind when you start a project that's going to take you years or weeks or days.
[00:13:00] Seth Godin: The outcome matters but reminding ourselves that the outcome matters in everything we do is toxic. But saying I'm only doing this because of the outcome is toxic. So there's this hackneyed old expression, "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?" Which I think is bogus because you should just wish for invisibility and three more wishes. But what about this? What would you do if you knew you would fail? What would be worth doing even if you knew the outcome wasn't going to arise, then we are free to do the work, and the irony that the single best way to get the outcome you seek is to not obsess about the outcome.
[00:13:42] So one of the greatest jazz albums ever recorded, certainly one of the three best-selling jazz albums of all time is Kind of Blue from Miles Davis and how long did it take from the first nope until they were done. And the answer is three days. Three days that's all it took from the beginning to the end. If you're in the studio in a high-pressure situation, there's a lot of writing on it. Well, then, you know what you're spending all your time doing reverse engineering for radio airplay. Wondering about this edit, or that edit, adding a little bit more reverb over here. You're becoming a perfectionist. Why? Because perfectionism isn't about being perfect. Perfectionism isn't even about being good. It's about hiding. You're so obsessed about the outcome. You forgot about the practice. You forgot to simply do the work. To merely do it without a lot of commentary and obsession about what's on the other side and that will come through.
[00:14:43] And so, yeah, every once in a while there's a Steely Dan, that takes a year to make a record. But what we know is, as you enjoyed in listening to my slurping tea, that what we really want is someone who's going to show up as a human and say, "Here, I made this." And that's the magic of magic. That magic is not calculated. Magic is simply the result of seeking to serve, but not getting obsessed at controlling your reaction to what I made.
[00:15:13] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Seth Godin. We'll be right back.
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[00:17:28] Jordan Harbinger: And now back to Seth Godin on The Jordan Harbinger Show,
[00:17:33] I feel like you can see these people, especially online creators that are really visible, falling into this trap because you find people — it's really clear, they're struggling to make something relevant. So they're kind of rehashing someone else's stuff. And they don't take — this is maybe a flag that I'm inventing here, but it seems like those people take criticism really poorly because since the outcome matters so much — like if you write in to me and you say, "Hey, you know, with Seth Godin, you really missed an opportunity over here." I go, "You know what I wonder if this person's right. They said they'd been listening for eight years. I should listen to this person." You know, they're not cussing me out or something on Twitter.
[00:18:08] Seth Godin: Right.
[00:18:08] Jordan Harbinger: They're actually, they took the time to write it. But I see a lot of online creators, especially like these influencers on social media, they often do not take criticism well at all. And they have like a meltdown, very visibly. And part of that I think is because everything for them has to be so curated because that's the thing that they're selling. It's that their life is perfect and that their work is perfect. It seems like a really dangerous sort of to get trapped in because you can't really — well, I guess you can swim out, but it seems like it's really challenging because your life revolves around that outcome.
[00:18:39] Seth Godin: Yeah, the online thing has many layers to it. Part of it is about this mistaken belief in authenticity. As if authenticity is what anybody wants from you. No one wants authenticity from you. They want consistency. They want you to be the best version of yourself. Even if you're in a bad mood today, they don't want to hear that they wanted the best version. Now maybe if your brand is that you are someone who isn't in bad moods a lot, then you should be in a bad mood, even when you're in a good mood because that's what we expect from you. Authenticity is an excuse we use for when we do something that people don't get the joke, they don't like — "Oh, I was just being authentic." Yeah, we don't care. We want a better version of you.
[00:19:19] And so if someone is living that authentic thing and someone criticizes them, it feels really personal. Adam Driver, the actor from Star Wars. I quote him in the book and he's going on and on about how it's hard to be an actor because when you're up there doing the thing, it's you? Well, no, it's not. You're an actor. When you're up there doing your thing, you're acting. And if people don't like it, it's not that they don't like you, they don't know you. They just don't like your acting. And so we have this ability to be able to say, "I made this. This isn't me. I made this for you. And if it's not something that you like, well, then either I made it for the wrong person or I could have made it better next time, but I'm not a bad person. Because I made something here, let's work together on the same side of the table to figure out how to make it better."
[00:20:13] And then the last part is this whole need online — because there's all these false metrics like likes from people who don't like you and friends from people who aren't your friends to want to be the next blank. Right? How can I be the next Jordan? Well, there already is a Jordan. That slot is taken. The only next we need is the next you. And yet there's this pressure to fit in and do it the way you're supposed to do. So I can't tell you how many times people send me notes — this has faded over time but, "Your blog isn't a real blog because you don't have comments. Your blog is in a real blog because you don't have listicles and numbered things, and your blog isn't real, dah, dah, dah," because that's what you were supposed to do. But all those people who had those kinds of blogs, they're gone now. And I figured out the thing I wanted to do, the thing that was going to be my practice and I'm still doing it. And if it's not for you, please don't come and if it is for you, here it is.
[00:21:07] Jordan Harbinger: I think it's interesting that people decided to gatekeep whether or not your blog was a real blog, like talk about an irrelevant technicality — like a wrong hill to die on for literally anyone to make that argument. I also think it's funny that Adam Driver who plays a character in Star Wars, where he has — like a guy with supernatural magical powers, where he's an evil Jedi or whatever it's called, Sith Lord or whatever it is, is like, "That's me up there." No, it's literally a science fiction character that is debatably, not human or whatever—
[00:21:39] Seth Godin: Right.
[00:21:40] Jordan Harbinger: —and has magical telekinetic powers or whatever the hell it is. Like how could you take that personally? That's really tough. You really have to like, get in front of it and try so hard to take that personally.
[00:21:51] Seth Godin: Yeah.
[00:21:52] Jordan Harbinger: It sounds like more like deep insecurity than actually—
[00:21:54] Seth Godin: Well, don't we all have that though. I mean—
[00:21:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, of course. I'm not trying to point—
[00:21:57] Seth Godin: —at least everyone I know does
[00:21:58] Jordan Harbinger: I definitely do. It just seems like to mistake that with, people shouldn't criticize your work, it just seems like — what am I missing? I don't know, what am I missing on that one? I don't know.
[00:22:07] Seth Godin: And so that leads to the other side of the block, which is that reassurance — like these blocks are different. That's great. They're all different. Reassurance is futile. People hate this because reassurance feels really good. That when someone says, "Oh, it's going to be okay." The thing is if you got that call — if Ellen DeGeneres was on the phone and she said, "I love listening to your thing. Keep going. It's great." You'd be riding high for, I don't know, at least three hours and then you'd need it again—
[00:22:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:22:36] Seth Godin: —because it doesn't last. And the reason it doesn't last is because everything isn't going to be okay. Every plan does not come out. Every outcome is not realized. And someone who reassures you and says it will be, they're predicting a future that's not going to happen. So if we could just strip away our need for reassurance and start with, "Well, it might not work, but I'm going to try my best." It might not work, but I'm willing to show up with generosity to try to contribute. Then whatever happens is what happens. But I can't control that. All I can control is what's right here in front of me.
[00:23:10] Jordan Harbinger: Obviously making art and making money doing that art is better than making art and not making any money and having to work at a place that you don't find fulfilling. We all know that it's possible to do both because you and I are both doing it. It's fulfilling much of the time. I won't say all the time. I'm sure there are bad days for anybody, but how do you balance this equation in your mind? A lot of these so-called gurus online, they say things like, "Follow your passion, just do what you love. The money will come later." Both you and I know that that is not necessarily true. Right? I mean, we all want the fish, as you say, in the book with fly fishing. Everybody just wants the fish.
[00:23:44] Seth Godin: Yeah. All right. So let's start with the easy one, "Follow your passion." It's so much more reliable to decide, to be passionate about what you do than to insist that you do what you're passionate about. And many of us have jobs that did not exist 20 years ago, but people were passionate then. So did something like — how did this happen? Well, it happened because people like you and I found new things to do and decided to be passionate about it. So that's the first piece of it. But the bigger issue that you're bringing up is only recently, like really, really, really recently, because you get paid to do something that feels like a hobby. That digging latrines or cleaning the inside of somebody's mouth like a dentist, these are not — no one does those things as a hobby. But plenty of people have a podcast as a hobby. Plenty of people have a blog as a hobby. All of a sudden hobbies are monetized. And the first thing I want to say to people is to think twice before you try to monetize your hobby because it will stop being your hobby.
[00:24:47] Jordan Harbinger: The best way to ruin a hobby is to try to monetize it. I'll tell you that.
[00:24:50] Seth Godin: Yeah. So there's a lot to be said. If you've got a decent job that's safe and secure where you're paid fairly, I wouldn't quit it so fast because you should just keep doing your hobby, which is you got, you know, 40 hours a week off the clock, go do your hobby. The minute you try to sell the work of your hobby. Like my hobby is making canoe paddles out of cherry wood. If I sold a paddle, it wouldn't be all downhill from there. Because then I say, "Well, I wonder if I could sell two paddles, and dah, dah, dah. What does the market want?" You get all hung up on this instead of the craft.
[00:25:21] So leaving that aside, can you make money from your art? Well, there are several things you can do. One thing you can do, which is another thing that has woken people up from my book and from the workshop is you could be a hack. And I think there's nothing wrong with being a hack. So let's be really clear what a hack is. A hack is somebody who knows what the market wants and gives it to them. That's it. So James Patterson, best-selling author in America, is a hack. Because book after book after book, he is not writing eye-opening literature. He is giving the market what it wants. And if you buy an Alex Cross novel, you're going to get an Alex Cross novel. Good for him. I got no shade to cast on the best-selling author in America, but he's also not asking people to look at him as a tortured soul who's right on the cutting edge and who's doing things that might not work because he's made it really clear. This is what you want, here it is. And that's important work that makes our economy function.
[00:26:22] The first Alex Cross novel, that was art because that might not have worked because that was leaving a job at a fancy ad agency and leaning into the great unknown. That feels different. And you can sign up for one or the other but you shouldn't get confused about which one is which. So let's think about what's your favorite rock group of the '70s or '80s. Someone like The Doobie Brothers.
[00:26:46] Jordan Harbinger: Oh God, can we say like Van Halen? They're top of mind right now.
[00:26:50] Seth Godin: Van Halen, Right? Rest in peace.
[00:26:52] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[00:26:53] Seth Godin: When Van Halen was touring recently, they were playing covers of Van Halen songs because they weren't Van Halen anymore. They were a cover band who used to be Van Halen because in that moment they were hacks. The crowd knew what they wanted to hear. The band knew they were there to give the crowd what they wanted. That's a fair deal. Right? That's different than being on a cutting edge and saying, "I'm exploring a frontier here. A frontier that has a lot of pieces in it that are unknown." To make a living at that requires a whole bunch of other things to happen. First, you have to understand the genre. You have to understand what your work rhymes with. You can't copy it exactly. It's not generic, but it has to be in a category. And second, this is huge. You have to seek the smallest viable audience, not the biggest possible one, but the smallest one that can sustain you. Right? So Talking Heads or Lou Reed playing at CBGBs, there's only like 120 people in the audience, but those 120 people are the right people there for the right reason. And then maybe they'll tell their friends and maybe it will grow. But if you start by saying, "If we don't play at Madison Square Garden, we're a failure." Then you're going to have to try to reverse engineer anything, everything is not going to get there.
[00:28:10] And so one of the curses that could hit your band, if you're getting started is that you could be an opening act post-COVID for a big group. The opening act life is terrible because the people in the room aren't there for you. They're waiting for you to go away. So that they can listen to who they want to listen to. So you're getting all this feedback from the wrong people. And if you can seek the smallest viable audience and delight them, that puts you on the hook. That lets you refine your craft and then maybe you can get paid for your work.
[00:28:41] Jordan Harbinger: What about people who feel completely drained in whatever they're doing? It doesn't matter if they are cleaning teeth or maybe they're doing creative work, they just still feel totally burned out or drained, or just completely lacking enthusiasm. How can we cultivate passion around our work or discover an occupation through which we can cultivate passion or enthusiasm? Or is that the wrong question?
[00:29:02] Seth Godin: No. It's great. No one's asked me that recently. That's a great question. So I'm going to divide it into two pieces. First of all, what is stress? Stress is wanting to do two things at the same time. Stay and go, be quiet, and be seen, whatever two things there are. And so people are stressed at work because they don't want to be at work, but they want to get paid. That causes stress. If all day long, you are stressed, it's really easy to lose any enthusiasm you have for anything. And then the second piece of it is what amplifies that. The reason you want to go is because you're afraid of something. You're afraid of being insufficient. You're afraid of doing a bad job. You feel like an impostor. So when we add all of that up, modern Western industrial work is filled with stress. It's enervating and it kills passion because we want to do two things. We want to stay and we want to go. We want to get rewarded and we want to leave. And we're filled with fear and we feel like an imposter.
[00:30:03] So it's no wonder that there's so much dissatisfaction. And on we, in the way we approach our work, which is why people who can't find a better path, go home and self-medicate with Netflix or alcohol or whatever it is. And people who can go home and find a hobby or literature or something else that elevates them. It feels to me like the opportunity is to figure out how to turn your work into something that's more of a choice, less stressful, and fills you with energy and joy. And we know that there are people who work in a steel mill who are happy doing it. And we know that there are people who turn in their books on time without being punished by an internal debate about writer's block and everything else. What is the difference? And I think the difference is we begin with a choice, which is a possibility. We are here and we can do something with our day — not "but", but "and", and that's from Ros Zander.
[00:31:03] The idea of saying I'm on vacation and it's raining means not that my vacation is ruined but that I can catch up on my reading or I can take a cooking class, all these things I've been hoping to do. Whereas if I say I'm on vacation, but it's raining. I'm trapped. And so shifting our mindset toward possibility, who can I touch, even if it's just the person in the next cubicle, how can I bring humanity to today as opposed to sitting in the tension and the stress, it opens the door for a better life.
[00:31:34] Jordan Harbinger: How do we weigh success and stay out of certain success traps? So for example, I do, my show gets a lot of downloads. I'm very proud of that. Of course, I always want more downloads. And if I'm not growing in size as a show, I admit I feel like I'm doing something wrong. And I know a lot of creators have this problem. If their new paintings aren't worth more or selling more than their last ones, they feel like they're not moving in the right direction. If you're an actor you work at the community playhouse, there's some people that are just not satisfied—
[00:32:05] Seth Godin: Yeah.
[00:32:05] Jordan Harbinger: —or not as satisfied as they would be if they had a larger audience. They want to see that crowd every year, and move back a couple of more dozen rows. How do we avoid getting sucked into that? Or is that inevitable when it comes to people who are driven? What am I doing wrong that I want that? Or is that normal?
[00:32:20] Seth Godin: Not only do you want it, but you got brainwashed into wanting it—
[00:32:23] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:32:24] Seth Godin: —because the people who keep score win when you get obsessed with it. Tim Cook does not need any more money but—
[00:32:31] Jordan Harbinger: No
[00:32:31] Seth Godin: —the stock price helps all of the investors. So the investors want Tim Cook to be obsessed with the stock price. And Facebook wants you to be obsessed with how many friends you have. The people who advertise on your podcast and et cetera, et cetera, want you to figure out how to get more. The problem with more is that it is an infinite hole that can never be filled. Now, if you get sustenance and joy out of engaging with an infinite hole that can never be filled, I got no problems. And we find this with world-class athletes. That's what they do. World-class athletes fade away the minute the hole isn't infinite anymore. Right? The worst thing that ever happened to Michael Jordan was he had nobody left to beat and so we had to switch to another sport. That was a bigger hole, right? Most of the people I know don't fit into that category. Most of the people I know find peace of mind when they're not staring at an infinite hole, but we have trouble turning away.
[00:33:31] So the practice involves among other things deciding what your inputs are and what you're going to keep track of and what you're going to keep score of. So I'm not on Twitter. I'm not on Facebook. I'm not on LinkedIn. I did those things for a reason. And the reason is if I was there, I'd be day trading all day long. Who have I pleased today? What are my numbers like? I have a podcast. I don't know how many people listen to my podcast. I organized my life so I would not know how many people because I am good at making numbers go up and that would turn me into a hack — because again, nothing wrong with being a hack. But if you want to make your numbers go up, you know what to do.
[00:34:10] The story of Joni Mitchell really sits with me.
[00:34:13] Jordan Harbinger: Joni Mitchell.
[00:34:13] Seth Godin: Joni Mitchell. So Joni Mitchell for people who are younger than me was the most important singer/ songwriter of her generation. In the early '70s, everything she touched, turned to a hit. You know, every college dorm everyone had every Joni Mitchell record. And Joni realized, A, she had enough money. B, she could do this for the next 40 years. For 40 years, she could keep playing songs in the Joni Mitchell genre. They're not that hard. She didn't want to do that. She didn't want to play covers of herself. She liked the feeling of art instead. So she released a record called Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, intentionally, designed to make most of her fans walk away. And they stuck with her and she had to do it two more times before they gave up on her. But those records let Joni Mitchell go back to being the person she wanted to be and not keep score. They certainly annoyed her record label, but Joni's problem is not a record label's problem and vice versa. She's not them and they're not her. She gets to do what she wants. And so she said, "If you want to listen to the music I want to make, this is the music I want to make. And if that means I can't sell out Madison Square Garden, that's okay." And I would argue that she ended up living a happier life than a musician who kept chasing that big platinum sale that they had the first time.
[00:35:37] And on the Internet, we're all versions of Joni Mitchell. We all got fans and followers who want us to play starry, starry night one more time, do it again. And you don't have to choose that if you don't want to. There's a price for it, but you only have to pay the price once. And then you can go back to doing the work you want to do for the people you want to do it for.
[00:35:58] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Seth Godin. We'll be right back.
[00:36:03] This episode is sponsored in part by Ember. Now, this is a mug that keeps your drink warm. As soon as I saw this, I wanted it. I'm a slow drinker and I can't describe how nice it is to drink an entire mug at the perfect temperature. My attention gets pulled to something else for half an hour while I'm drinking happens all the time. No worries. It's still at the perfect temperature. It is a game-changer. After scalding my mouth from heating tea one too many times. You know how the roof of your mouth starts to like peel from the burn? Just get that visual. I actually used a thermometer while drinking tea to figure out the exact temperature. I like my drinks. It turns out I prefer my drink at exactly 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Ember is a temperature control smart mug that keeps your coffee or tea hot until the very last sip. And yes, it's smart. It connects to your phone. App is customizable, really easy to use. You can save target temperatures for different beverages. It's got a long-lasting built-in battery, so you can sip your coffee in any room in the house without it getting cold. Keep that mug near you. You can sip on it for hours, and then you can even use a charging coaster. To keep it going for the whole day if you really want to. And yes, I have tried that this is a great gift by the way, and don't pay full retail. Jen, tell them where they can get an extra deal on this.
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[00:38:33] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored in part by Skillshare. This holiday season, give a gift that means more, get creative, and learn how to make the perfect handmade gift with Skillshares online classes. It's an online learning community, Skillshare is. A lot of inspiring classes for creative and curious people. You can explore new skills, you can deepen existing passions, you can get lost in your creativity. They have a lot of cool stuff in here. One of the classes that came across my desk recently was creativity and beer, a brewmaster's guide to flavor emulation. That sounds really kind of fascinating. I don't brew my own beer. I've definitely thought about it in the past. And then my belly decided to veto that suggestion, but I'm not against learning how to do it. I think that would be fun. Also, the perfect grilled cheese, a mini class to master the sandwich and they have these culinary experts showing us how to do it. And it shows you how many people are watching that class at the same time, which makes me feel like I'm learning with friends. Skillshare is also incredibly affordable, especially when compared to pricey in-person classes and workshops and an annual subscription is less than $10.
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[00:39:42] Jordan Harbinger: Thank you for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers, that's what keeps the lights on around here. To learn more and get links to all the discounts so you can check them out for yourself, go to jordanharbinger.com/deals. Please consider supporting those who support us. Speaking of support, we do have worksheets for today's episode. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. Now, for the conclusion of our episode here with Seth Godin.
[00:40:10] Have you ever heard of — I don't expect that you would — her name is Michelle Phan. She was a makeup tutorial person on YouTube—
[00:40:16] Seth Godin: Yeah.
[00:40:17] Jordan Harbinger: That does ring a bell? Okay. I wondered if you might know who she was. It's kind of weird that you and I both know who that is, I guess, but it's the industry.
[00:40:23] Seth Godin: Yeah.
[00:40:23] Jordan Harbinger: So for people who don't know, she was, I guess, a Vietnamese gal who was probably like, I don't know, 19 or something like that, or younger doing makeup tutorials on YouTube a decade ago or whenever YouTube first started and nobody — I mean, I remember like, this is how you make your nose look thinner or something with like shading things and stuff I didn't pay that much attention to as a 19-year-old or 25-year-old guy. And she gave up her YouTube channel. One day, she just made a video that said, "Hey guys, I'm going away for a little while," or something along those lines and she never came back. She was making like $7 million a year or whatever it was, you know? Other YouTubers who were professionals were probably lucky to break 80K. She was making millions of dollars doing makeup stuff. And I heard an interview with her on some podcast recently — I can't even remember what it was. I'll find it and throw it in the show notes. And they basically said, "Hey, where did you go? Why?" And she said, "I just realized I was doing the same thing. I stopped enjoying what I was doing. I was talking about makeup over and over and over again." Her original excuse was, "I wanted to go start a family and got married, but then she was like, that's not really it."
[00:41:29] Seth Godin: Yeah.
[00:41:29] Jordan Harbinger: You can have a family and get married and still do makeup tutorials in your room.
[00:41:32] Seth Godin: Yeah.
[00:41:33] Jordan Harbinger: "I just didn't want to anymore," because she tried to articulate this— and I think it's what you're saying. It just started to feel bad because every time she did a video — that "How do you make your nose look thinner?" She got criticism. And then every time she did, people said, "Oh, is this all you got. By the way, you're old and fat now." And she was like, "I'm over this crap." And she left at the peak, the top of the game. Lisa Lampanelli is very similar. She was at the top of the comedy game and she said, "I'm miserable and I hate this." And she went and lost a hundred pounds and everyone said, "What's your problem? Oh, you're too good to be fat now or whatever." And she was like, "These are toxic, horrible people. I'm done." And she just retired. That was it. It's hard to do, but I think you kind of hit that. You have to realize when you're at that fork in the road, do I become a hack and do what everyone wants me to do and maybe be miserable. Do I go this way and do whatever it is that I want artistically? Or do I maybe even just step back and go, "You know what? I'm just going to be a parent and that's what's going to make me happy. I'll take my $70 million and leave."
[00:42:30] Seth Godin: That's exactly right. I am not arguing that you have to retire. What I'm saying is that it turns out that the smallest viable audience isn't that big. I don't know if you know my friend, Amanda Palmer, but Amanda used to be half of the Dresden Dolls, which was a sort of punk band in Boston. They got finally a record deal and after two records, the label calls them in and they say, "Guys, your last record, stiffed, you sold 20,000 units. You're off the label. You're fired."
[00:43:00] Jordan Harbinger: That's a lot of records.
[00:43:02] Seth Godin: Well, not for a big label, it's not.
[00:43:04] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:43:04] Seth Godin: 20,000, you're off the label. So she went indie on her own and then she made the most successful music Kickstarter in history. She raised $1.2 million in 30 days. And people were like, "That's incredible. Amanda Palmer, what a rock star." And she told me she counted up how many people backed it. You want to guess the number?
[00:43:23] Jordan Harbinger: 7,000 something. I don't know.
[00:43:25] Seth Godin: Same number 20,000,
[00:43:26] Jordan Harbinger: Same number 20,000.
[00:43:27] Seth Godin: So that means that—
[00:43:29] Jordan Harbinger: She didn't need the label at all.
[00:43:30] Seth Godin: The number that gets you kicked off a label is also the number that makes you the most successful Kickstarter in history. When you think about who are you seeking to serve and how are you choosing to serve them? One model is I'm going to touch 10 million people a little and maybe they'll pay me a nickel. Or the other thing is I could be someone that a thousand people would really miss if I were gone. And as Kevin Kelly has pointed out a thousand true fans, let you do your work. We need to make the world better. The world is really upside down right now. How are we going to do that? I'm not sure. We're going to do it by chasing a metric that some social media person thinks is important. I think we're going to do it by finding a group of people, connecting them, leading them, and making things better for them because that pays it forward and it cycles up. And it also lets us be human again and not be cogs in this weird media machine.
[00:44:22] Jordan Harbinger: It also sounds like the label doesn't do anything. If you sell the exact same amount of records on Kickstarter at least it does the same as you would have done if you marketed it yourself on a website that doesn't put your record in every store or whatever labels do now.
[00:44:36] Seth Godin: What the label wants is Pharrell, right? That when Pharrell shows up with a song, he doesn't reach 20,000 people, the label with streaming and everything else reaching 10 million people or 40 million people. That's how they are organized. They're organized for the smallest viable audience of millions and millions of people. So YouTube says, "We've got a long tail here. We got, you know, more than half our videos have only been seen five times. We don't care which videos get seen a billion times as long as it's some of them." And so YouTube problem is different than your problem. YouTube is busy saying, "Put up whatever you want. We'll profit from the winners," but you don't have a million videos. You just got eight or so who are they for?
[00:45:21] And, you know, I saw a video a couple of days ago, woodworking guy who was teaching in detail on how to use a certain kind of router to do a certain kind of data, to put together a certain kind of bench. He's making an excellent living, doing that for a very specific group of people. And if you don't get the joke, it's not for you.
[00:45:41] Jordan Harbinger: YouTube and what makes money on YouTube will never cease to amaze. I'll go, who listens to this — I'll get a pitch and I'll go, "Nobody listens to this dumb — this is the dumbest thing I've ever seen." And I'll google the result and it's like, "Oh, they have 8 million subscribers. Oh, that last video got 9 million views. Well, what must be a couple of years? Wow. It came out last month, huh."
[00:45:59] Seth Godin: Yeah.
[00:45:59] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. I don't know what I'm talking about.
[00:46:02] Seth Godin: No one does.
[00:46:03] Jordan Harbinger: No one does. Yeah. Look, it all, of course, it makes sense for us to do good work. Let me tell you where a lot of people get discouraged, where I sometimes get discouraged. There are podcasts out there that talk about what the host had for breakfast. It's a recap of 90-day Fiance or some reality TV show on Bravo. And that show is twice the size of this one or more, right? And you're never going to have better ratings than like Jersey Shore or the show where people punch each other in the face — the Jerry Springer effect kind of thing, this to me can sometimes be discouraging. What am I missing here? Like how do we stay motivated?
[00:46:43] Seth Godin: You're not missing anything? These people are hacks and they're giving the audience exactly what it wants. It is way easier to sell cotton candy and cigarettes than it is to sell tofu and tempeh. It just is, right? You have to decide. Are you going to say, "It's not my fault. It's what the audience wants"? Pander to them, race to the bottom because someone's going to do it. Or you can decide, "I made this." What irks me is not that the masses want what the masses want. What irks me is that people who are pandering to the masses insist that they're not pandering to the masses. Of course, they are. And you should own it because that's what you're doing on purpose. And where I draw the line is when you manipulate people or sell them cigarettes to addict them until they die. That's not okay for anybody to do that. Then that level of being a hack of pandering to people is immoral. But if it turns out that people really want to listen to a certain kind of music, that you don't like, but you can make that music. I'm not going to complain about it. Go ahead.
[00:47:48] Jordan Harbinger: What I feel like as a trap lately, and I've heard some people talking about this — I don't want to name-check anybody, but a lot of these popular online influencers and creators, they'll say something or there'll be, I guess, complaining, but maybe that's strong of work. I get it sometimes. It's like, they're owed gratitude and it's this gross feeling that — let's say I get it sometimes when I'm tired, I'm annoyed about something else. Or a show fan says something annoying in an email that gets under my skin. It's rare. But when it happens, my wife always says, "You know, you're being ridiculous, right?" And the answer is, "Yes, I do know that I'm being ridiculous." This is a trap that we have to have seen before, right? Is this something you've heard about when we're owed gratitude? That's really what it is. It's almost like this temporary sense of entitlement where I'm like, "How dare you have anything, but kind things to say about my hard work."
[00:48:38] Seth Godin: So before COVID I gave a thousand speeches over 30 years. And it's a big deal for me to get on an airplane, give up part of my life, fly somewhere. And there are certain places that are easier than others. Convention centers are a disaster. They're not organized for anything. It's particularly giving a speech. Foreign audiences are trouble because they're wearing those headphones and everything is seven seconds delayed. So if you say something funny, people don't really laugh and you hear late. So I'm in a convention center in Mexico City with the simultaneous translation. I've come all this way to do my best work. I am making a mistake in this moment. I think they owe me something. I think this audience owes me something. And in the third row, there's a woman on her cell phone, but she's not listening to the conversation. She's having the conversation. She's talking as loud as I am talking to you in the third row while I'm giving my presentation. And there are 4,000 people there. And I started giving my presentation to her. I mean, my presentation is different every time I give it, but I'm talking about how we get hooked on our devices. And I'm talking about trying to do two things. I'm talking directly to her and is having no impact whatsoever.
[00:50:02] And after about 30 seconds, I catch myself and I say, wait a second. There are 2,900 people here who are here for me. And this woman's here for her. How dare I steal from those people? When I can give those people a gift? Nobody here owes me anything. No one because if I believe they owe me something, I have signed up for the outcome. I've signed up for the toxic cycle of betting on the outcome. I have never gone to be able to give this speech on this day in Mexico City ever again. So what can I do about that? And I picked someone 10 rows behind her and I gave the presentation to them instead. And the punchline might be, they gave me a standing ovation. I don't remember because that was paying attention to whether or not they would express gravity. I knew that I had gratitude for those people who were giving me a chance to do my work. And that lesson really has sat with me.
[00:51:00] Because as soon as you understand that nobody owes you anything and that you don't have this right to be heard, to be seen, to be appreciated, it makes it so much easier to let go of all of that, which frees up all of your brain to do the work you said you wanted to do in the first place. Because he didn't tell me you wanted to get applauded, you told me you wanted to do work that made a difference. So go make a difference.
[00:51:23] Jordan Harbinger: I think that's a great place to wrap it, Seth. I've read the book — oh, you know what? I got to get this one line from you because this was my favorite line in the whole book. "If a reason doesn't stop everyone from doing something, it's not a reason, it's an excuse." It's my favorite line, maybe the catchphrase of the whole episode. I want to repeat it because everyone's like looking for their rewind button on their podcast app right now because they were jogging. "If a reason doesn't stop everyone from doing something, it's not a reason, it's an excuse." That is such brilliant insight. Can you speak to that a little bit? I don't know how much more there even is to say about it, but I thought it was genius.
[00:51:55] Seth Godin: Well, so let's talk about the laws of physics because the laws of physics seem to apply to everybody. No one can jump 30 feet in the air. You don't get to say I can't jump 30 feet in the air because I'm a bad person. Or I don't feel like it. No Newton says you can't jump 30 feet in the air. So it's a reason. But if some people can put out a podcast with the regular pace you do and the generosity you bring to it, we know it can be done. And we also know that all you need to do to make a podcast is have a computer and you do. So now, all you got left is an excuse because there are no reasons.
[00:52:31] Jordan Harbinger: I love that. And I think that that should go right at the top of the show notes. And for those of you who are wondering if, what you have is a reason or an excuse, ask yourself if the laws of physics dictate that it's possible or not. And I think that's pretty much — that's all we need, right? Just a little coin to flip mentally that says, "Has anyone ever done this before ever?" And even then, it might not be a reason because people break that five-minute mile or whatever it is it's happened before. Right?
[00:52:56] Seth Godin: Well said.
[00:52:57] Jordan Harbinger: Seth Godin, the book is called The Practice. We'll link to it in the show notes. Thank you very much for sitting down with us from your — well, is it technically — I mean, you sold your business, or is that not public?
[00:53:07] Seth Godin: No, no. So Akimbo, which is the institution that I started five years ago to do online learning is now a B Corp. And that means it's legally obligated to work in the public interest and to serve all of its constituents. And it is run and owned by two of the senior people there, Alex and Marie. I couldn't be more proud. They know how to build an institution better than me. So I'm still doing workshops, but it's their company and they run it. I am coming to you from what used to be our office. We call it a studio on the only person here. I've been the only person here since March and I live about a mile away.
[00:53:40] Jordan Harbinger: Nice. You still got a room full of rubber duckies over there?
[00:53:44] Seth Godin: I'm trying to trim the number of rubber duckies because there's always new stuff that I'm building like this, that takes the place of rubber duckies. But yes —
[00:53:52] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:53:52] Seth Godin: —there's still a lot of rubber duckies here.
[00:53:54] Jordan Harbinger: If you're not watching it on YouTube, he held up the writer's block that he's lasering — everybody's being productive during COVID in some more ways than others. Thank you for your block that you sent me as well. And thank you for your time. I really appreciate it. The Practice will be linked in the show notes. Thanks, Seth.
[00:54:08] Seth Godin: Thanks, Jordan. Be well,
[00:54:10] Jordan Harbinger: I've got some thoughts on this episode, but before I get into that, we've got a preview trailer of our interview with Professor Jonathan Haidt discussing the dangers of free speech limitations here in America, especially on college campuses.
[00:54:24] Jonathan Haidt: There is a new economy of prestige and in the new economy of prestige enabled by social media on college campuses, the more you call someone out for racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia, you get a point.
[00:54:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:54:39] Jonathan Haidt: Every time you do it, you get a point. So every time you accuse some — it doesn't matter if it's true, it doesn't matter if you destroy that, it doesn't matter. If you call someone out, you get a point. And so you have subcommunities in some universities that are playing this game with horrible, external results for everyone else. But if the leadership stands up against it, they will be accused of all kinds of bigotry and insensitivity. So they almost never do. In a victimhood culture, you get prestige either, by being a victim, so you emphasize how much you've been victimized or by standing up for victims and attacking their oppressors.
[00:55:12] So when you get people in those movements who are, especially there are a lot of white people in those movements, they tend to be doing that vindictive protectiveness thing. You're on camera all the time. And even if you're not literally on camera, the current generation, because they were raised in an age of social media, they self-censor as though they were on camera. And so why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye but you do not notice the log in your own? I mean, come on, you know, the ancients, and here's Buddhist saying the same thing. It's easy to see the faults of others but difficult to see one's own faults. And on campus, we're telling kids to forget thousands of years of wisdom, look at life through the lens of oppression and domination and violence. Everything is against you.
[00:55:53] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Do the opposite. But you can't teach that book. It might trigger someone.
[00:55:56] Jonathan Haidt: What kind of world would you rather live in? One in which everyone is polite because they're afraid of offending or one in which people will sometimes say things that they think are true, even if they're offensive?
[00:56:09] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Professor Haidt, including how the concepts of safe spaces and trigger warnings are making our society less safe and less prepared for the real world and what we should be doing instead to prepare ourselves and our kids for reality, check out episode 90 right here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:56:27] Always a great conversation with my friend, Seth Godin here. The man is quite a thinker. He's got some tea sips. It's funny. He sent me this rough cut of his book. You know, I read audio — I listen to audiobooks and sometimes authors will say, "It's not done yet, but here's like the rough, rough, rough cut of me reading and re-reading and taking things over and getting phone calls." And it's fun. I actually enjoy listening to those. And he's got all these breaks where he's sipping tea and I think it's something, it was just so natural. I suggested he leave him in. Obviously, that won't happen, but it does feel like you're hanging out with somebody who's explaining something to you when they are sipping tea or swallowing — all these things that people hate on podcasts. I don't know. Maybe I'm weird.
[00:57:08] Anyway, he left me with a great quote — this is in the book as well. We didn't make this. This is sort of after the show, but in the Bhagavad Gita, it says, "It's better to follow your own path imperfectly than to follow someone else's path perfectly." I thought that was quite deep and quite insightful, especially for us creators here. And of course, the takeaway from the whole episode that I think, if you're going to remember one thing, this is it. "If a reason doesn't stop everyone from doing something, it's not a reason, it's an excuse." I thought that was so good. You know, normally I don't love little piffy bumper sticker kind of things, but this one — well, it probably just hit home for me because I probably have a lot of excuses, like a lot of us do in fact.
[00:57:49] So big, thank you to Seth Godin. His book is called The Practice. It'll be linked in the show notes. Links to all his stuff will be in the website on the show notes. Please use our website links if you buy the book. It does help support the show. Worksheets for every episode, we have these for every episode of the show, every guest anyway, for all the major takeaways, little drills, little exercises. Those are in the show notes. Transcripts of these episodes are in the show notes. And there's a video of this interview going up at some point on our YouTube channel. All of those videos are at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram or just hit me on LinkedIn.
[00:58:25] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships, using systems and tiny habits over at our Six-Minute Networking course. That's free. It always will be free. Well, I got to be careful saying that, but I think it'll always be free. Anyway, it's over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig that well before you get thirsty, build those relationships before you think you're going to need them. Most of the guests on the show, they subscribed to the course and the newsletter. Come join us, you'll be in smart company where you obviously belong.
[00:58:52] This show is created in association with PodcastOne and my amazing team. That's Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and Gabe Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know a creator, somebody who's struggling to get ahead in their creative practice or new to creative practice, or just somebody who loves Seth Godin, there's plenty of those people out there, share this with them, please. Hopefully, you find something great in every episode of this show. Please share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on this show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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