400: Seth Godin on Discovering Your Creative Practice
Joining me on the podcast today is entrepreneur, best-selling author, and speaker Seth Godin.
We have a GREAT conversation together that you won’t want to miss! You’ll discover some crazy-practical insight as Seth and I discuss:
- the cost of creativity
- the value of good work
- and finding happiness in life
Part of the toxic myth is this thing about authenticity, which is, “Be who you are, do what you want, and things will follow.” And that makes a really fine aphorism. But it doesn’t actually hold up, if you examine it. In fact, the most reliable way to have a happy life is to make the commitment to like what you do.
You’ll find our conversation inspiring, as well as thought-provoking, as Seth unpacks some of important life-learnings like: how he compares creativity to learning to ride a bike!
I know today’s episode will shine a ray of light and inspiration onto the road ahead of you!
400: Seth Godin on Discovering Your Creative Practice
Mon, 1/4 1:16PM • 47:44
people, book, person, wrote, life, happy, talk, affiliation, work, post, chris, sell, day, years, seth godin, folks, 400th, world, practice, concrete
Seth Godin, Chris LoCurto
Seth Godin 00:00
The part of the toxic myth is this thing of authenticity, which is, "Be who you are, do what you want, and things will follow." And that makes a really fine aphorism. But it doesn't actually hold up. If you examine it. That, in fact, the most reliable way to have a happy life is to make the commitment to like what you do.
Chris LoCurto 00:37
Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show, where we discuss leadership and life, and discover that business is what you do, not who you are. Welcome to the show, folks, we hope that you are having a fantastic day, wherever you are. We are having a great day here, because this is the celebration of the 400th episode of The Chris LoCurto Show. So, I feel like we should have some sort of balloons and things going off right here. We're excited because on our 400th episode, Seth Godin is going to be joining us. And Seth is an absolutely amazing marketer, a great speaker, and from our standards, a phenomenal human being because his life's work is to help you, it's to help people grow, it's to help people change their lives, it's to have an impact on the audience. And we're excited that he's joining us today on the show. Now, if any of you have not heard of Seth Godin, well, let me just kind of tell you, he's somebody who has started a ton of businesses, he has a bunch of best selling books, internationally best selling books, he has written over 7,500 blog posts, and he's done that over a 20 year period. And his information, his message has impacted so many of us. And so we're super excited to have him on the show, we are going to have his information on his new book, which is, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work, we're gonna be talking about that through the whole show. And we're gonna have that information in the notes as well. And let me tell you, this is a great book. So as you listen to this, and some of you are going to be thinking, "Well, Chris, what I do isn't creative." Yes, it is. If you are trying to make an impact on somebody's life, if you're trying to get information out, if you're trying to sell your product, your service, your widget, then guess what? This book is going to help you to do so. It's a powerful book, and I want to make sure that you get this in your hands. So we're gonna put that information in the notes as well. So, thank you for joining us on our 400th episode. Let's jump right in with Seth Godin. Seth Godin is an entrepreneur, a best-selling author, and a speaker. In addition to launching one of the most popular blogs in the world, he has also written 20, yes, 20 best-selling books, including The Dip, Linchpin, Purple Cow, Tribes and What to Do when It's Your Turn. (and It's Always Your Turn.) His most recent book, This is Marketing, was an instant bestseller in countries around the world. Today we're talking about his latest book, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work, though renowned for his writing and speaking, Seth also founded two companies, Skidoo and Yoyodyne, which was acquired by Yahoo. By focusing on everything from effective marketing and leadership, to the spread of ideas and changing everything, Seth has been able to motivate and inspire countless people around the world. In 2013, Seth was just one of three professionals inducted into the direct marketing Hall of Fame. In an astonishing turn of events in May 2018, he was inducted into the marketing Hall of Fame as well, and he may be the only person who is in both. So folks, please welcome to the show, Seth Godin. Well, folks, it is our 400th episode of The Chris LoCurto Show. And we are glad that Seth Godin is joining us, Seth, thanks for being on the show.
Seth Godin 04:09
Well, the thanks go to you. People don't realize what it means to do 400 episodes of a podcast, showing up, every podcast starts with no listeners, and you show up, and you show up, and you show up. So I wanted to pop in for number 400. And thank you.
Chris LoCurto 04:25
Well, I appreciate that. And you're absolutely right. You of all people know what it's like, you've done so much. You've started several companies. You've done over 7,500 blog posts, which I cannot even come close in the ballpark on that. That's super impressive. And you've had 19, I believe it's 19 International best selling books.
Seth Godin 04:50
More like 20, but who's counting?
Chris LoCurto 04:52
Twenty! So "The Practice" that we're talking about today is a phenomenal book. It's a great book. This one you say is personal, and so I love that because of how much information you put in there speaks to, I guess what we would say his humble beginnings for you. I mean, you started out just like the rest of us, you know, trying to put something out there trying to get something out into the world, into people's lives and help them and all that kind of fun stuff. And it has been crazy impactful. So normally, I would say tell us why you wrote this book, but I'm gonna take a cue from The Practice and ask, what is this book for, and who is it for?
Chris LoCurto 05:34
It's not for most people. I think most people have been sufficiently indoctrinated and brainwashed by the industrial system, that what they want to do is put in their time and get their prize. That the mindset of, "Will this be on the test?" has gotten straight to their soul, and compliance plus coercion, has pushed them to just get through the day, and then watch TV. It's not for those people. It's for people who wonder if this is all there is. It's for people who want to make things better. It's for people who believe that they can solve an interesting problem. And I think we can agree there are more interesting problems around us, then most of us can ever recall. And those problems are not going to be solved by the United Nations, they're not going to be solved by an alien from another planet. They're going to be solved by people in community who open doors and make things better. And that's who I wrote it for.
Chris LoCurto 06:29
So you've been writing blogs for 20 years, correct? Right around 20 years?
Chris LoCurto 06:37
Yeah, give or take.
Chris LoCurto 06:38
And 7,500 later, here's something that I think, you know, as you're talking about this isn't going to be for everybody, but it's for the person who wants to make a change. What do you say to the person who goes and looks at creativity and says, "This thing is just supposed to show up, right? If I start, if I just do something, it's gonna be like osmosis, I'm gonna have this. And if I don't have it, that must mean that I'm not creative, or I don't have that ability."
Seth Godin 07:06
Well, I guess I would ask them if they know how to ride a bicycle. And most people do. And no one was born knowing how to ride a bicycle. So what happened? And the first time you got on a bike, what happened? The art of learning to ride a bicycle is simply about sticking out long enough that you get over the falling part. And the cost of publishing your work is now zero. And you can publish your songs, your videos, your writing, you can organize a community, you can host a zoom call. I mean, one guy I know, works with disabled communities, and based on some of my work, started a series of zoom calls for people in that community, and added up, and a year later, he has made a significant difference to the 1000 people he serves. He didn't need a permit. He didn't need an investor, he just began.
Chris LoCurto 08:08
So looking at, you know, that as a misconception around creativity, or publishing your work, getting your work out into the world, what are some of the misconceptions that you see that people have when it comes to creativity?
Chris LoCurto 08:24
Well, the first one is that it's a talent that you're born with, it's not. The second is that if you work really hard, you deserve to have it succeed, you don't. And the third is that it's for everyone. And it's not. That our best work is for someone. And the more specific that someone is, the more likely it is that you'll be proud of the work.
Chris LoCurto 08:49
When I started writing, let's see, I started writing blog posts somewhere around 15 years ago, and wasn't getting much traction at all. And I reached out to Mike Hiat, a buddy and said, "Hey, dude, this isn't working. I need my time to be important. You know, I want to change lives. And this isn't." And Mike was doing a phenomenal-has continued to do a phenomenal job in that world. And he said, "Chris, don't stop right now." He said, "Keep going, keep doing the work, keep getting it out there." He said so many people that I see, they stop before it actually makes an impact. And so I kept going it was like literally a month later, all of a sudden, it took off and it became a big piece of what we do in helping people. And then it's graduated to other things as well. But for you what you say is it's you got to show up and do the work. And I think what we're seeing nowadays, and I know we deal with a lot of our followers about 40% are business owners, about 40% are leaders, and then 40% makeup either people who want to be in leadership or they just love the personal side of what we do. There's so many messages out there that you can shortcut stuff nowadays. That you can you know, if you just do three things, then you don't have to worry about doing the work. And then you can sit on a beach and suck down pina coladas. What is the practice say to that?
Seth Godin 10:20
Well, there have been people who are shortcutting and hustling since you started your blog and I started mine. And they will tell people like you and I, we're doing it wrong, that it's not a blog, because it doesn't have comments, and how come I'm not on Twitter, and you can go down the list. And what I've discovered, now speaking as an old guy, is those people disappear. Where are they now? Where are the people who were showing me how if I just used Facebook a certain way, everything would change? Or that I was falling behind because I wasn't on MySpace, right? The people who write books saying we you should tweet at two o'clock on Thursday afternoon, because that's when you get them. Or big companies like Oreo, proud of the fact that they did a tweet during the Superbowl that went viral. It didn't sell one more cookie. Now one, right? So I like the buzz as much as the next person. I am been a student and creator of new media for 30 years, I was in CD-ROMs, I was in online service, I love that stuff. But it doesn't change the fact, and the fact is doing the work is the best way forward.
Chris LoCurto 11:34
Yeah. I love it when I see folks, especially when we're coaching leaders, or we're coaching business owners, that they're not afraid of the work. And I think that's the key is that this younger generation is getting sold this lie that you don't need the work, you just need the luck. You just need you know, if you trip and fall on it, then everything's gonna make your world better. And instead, what we see is, like you said, the ones that are selling that quick idea, they're not still around, they're not making it, or they're trying to find their next best idea in the process. In the book, you say "Do what you love is for amateurs, love what you do is the mantra for professionals." Please speak to that.
Seth Godin 12:20
Well, first, I would just want to speak up for younger, whatever younger means, because I think we've been brainwashing generations for about 2,000 years. And it's not about how old you are. There are plenty of my peers who also took the shortcut. I remember being in Silicon Valley in 1998, after I sold my company to Yahoo. And I was surrounded by people who are now 60 years old, who were busy hustling for a shortcut. So it doesn't belong to one generation. The part of the toxic myth is this thing of authenticity, which is, be who you are, do what you want, and things will follow. And that makes a really fine aphorism. But it doesn't actually hold up if you examine it, that in fact, the most reliable way to have a happy life is to make the commitment to like what you do. And there are people who do things like dig ditches, who are happy with their work. And there are people like opera singers who view it as a grind. And so there isn't anything particular about any job that makes it unlovable. It's just the story that we tell ourselves, that makes us feel like we're in the right place at the right time. I want to quote, the great philosopher, Dolly Parton. And what she said, is, "Find out who you are, and do it on purpose." And that doesn't work for me. Because I don't think Dolly Parton was born to be a songwriter or a singer. And I know I was not born to be a blogger or an organizer or teacher. I think what we should say is do it on purpose, and you will find out who you are. Pick your audience, pick your future, the choice of the audience is a big one. When you pick your audience, you will determine how you will spend your day. But if you find the right audience, you can then commit to spending your day in service of them, and you can commit to making that your passion, your authentic journey.
Chris LoCurto 14:36
A buddy of mine, Rabbi Daniel Lapin says the same thing he says, you know, "This concept of trying to go and do what you love, if nobody wants what you love, it doesn't matter. Right? Nobody wants to actually give you money for the thing that you love to do, it doesn't matter. Find the thing that you're really good at." And his way of saying is "Find the thing you're really good at, and then learn to love it." What do you see when you see folks that are buying into this idea of you've got to, you know, do the thing that you love. What do you find as the result? So I know we have a lot of folks that are listening to the show that are going, "Chris, I have this passion for this thing. And, you know, I enjoy it. I love it. But nothing's coming of it." You know, what do you tell them?
Seth Godin 15:22
Okay so it's a two part thing. The first part is they have a hobby. I love hobbies, everyone should have hobbies, we should have more hobbies, don't sell your hobby. As soon as you sell your hobby, it will make you unhappy. Because the reason you were doing it doesn't match what the audience was buying from you. Right? And the second part, which is, the bigger part of your question is, if something starts to appeal to people, if they feel like they want to do it, but it's a trap, look for the fear. And the pitch around authenticity is actually playing on people's fears. Because if you authentically do what you love, what you're really doing is saying, "I don't want anyone to tell me this isn't for me, I don't want anyone to tell me it isn't good, because it's who I am." And so now you can hide there, you can hide there and say, I don't want to show this to the market, or you're being cruel to me by not liking it. Here's the thing, I am not my book, I am not my blog. It's simply something I made for you. And if you don't like it, well I can learn from what you didn't like. Or I can simply say it's not for you. But if you don't like it, it doesn't mean you don't like me, because you don't know me. And professionals show up and they say this isn't my hobby, I'd like you to put me on the hook, give me your time, or give me your money. And in exchange, I will show up consistently and keep my promise. That is what we want from the people who serve us, whether they are musicians, or spiritual leaders or running a company. When we go to Starbucks, we don't want an authentic cup of coffee, we want a consistent cup of coffee.
Chris LoCurto 17:18
I don't want your new version that you're enjoying that does not align with me. It's funny, I would love to know I'm sure you've experienced this. The blog posts that I write, the lesson that I create, the video that I do. It's amazing how many times I'm like, "This is it. I have put so much work into this piece. This is going to change lives, people are going to change their lives." And like crickets. And then I will bust something out and I will go "Team, I think this is gonna suck." And it's like the greatest piece! How often or have you experienced that? What's that like for you?
Seth Godin 18:04
Same thing for me, I don't have any stats. So I don't know which of my blog posts are, quote, "popular" or not, but I do hear from people. You know, I think the most popular post I ever wrote is the shortest one, which is, "You Don't Need More Time, You Just Need to Decide." And that post took 40 seconds. Right? And what WordPress does tell me is how many times I edit a post. And I can tell you that once I hit double digits, it's probably not gonna work.
Chris LoCurto 18:36
Oh, wow, that's a, that's an interesting way of looking at it, you spend so much time trying to make it perfect. The way that you think it needs to be, then it's probably going to be the thing that doesn't resonate as well with somebody. So it's crazy. Before we get started, we talked a little bit about what it's like up there in New York, what you guys are experiencing up there, what we're experiencing down here. It's been a crazy year. 2020 has been, you know, full of ups and downs. People trying to create new ways of doing work or whatever. What do you tell those folks who show up to work now, but life looks a little bit different? You know, playing off of what the experience of what we've we've had over the last year, what do you tell them about moving forward?
Seth Godin 19:26
Well, I guess the first thing I would say is, what's our alternative? It feels to me like moving forward is exactly what we need to do. So much racial injustice, so many people feeling trauma, so much illness, economic dislocation. Why wouldn't we want to move forward? We need to. And one of the things we learned from the pandemic is that much office work is a farce, about compliance about butts in seats, about showing who the boss is, and then they cram that into a zoom room where they take attendance, where there's no purpose in the zoom meeting other than the boss parading that that person is in charge. All of a sudden, people are going to take a deep breath and say, we're not gonna pay for this office anymore. And we're going to change how we measure what people contribute. And if you have a job, where I can write down what you do all day, I'm not going to pay you to do it anymore. I'm going to find someone cheaper than you to do it, maybe you. But you do not want a job where someone knows exactly what you should do all day. Those jobs are going away really, really fast. You know? So the hotel is the future, there's almost nobody at the front desk, why do we need someone at the front desk? Because we push that person not to be a human for years and years, now we can make them a computer. Right? One of the last times I was at a hotel a year ago, I get up at 4:30 in the morning, because that's what happens when I travel and I call down to the front desk. This is a big hotel-600 rooms. And it's a part of a chain. And the person, I want to know what time the gym opens, because the gym should always be open. But that's a separate conversation. But it almost never is at 4:30 in the morning. So I call zero and I say "What time does the gym open?" And I realize the person I'm talking to is not in the hotel, or even in the same state I am. Because they figured out we don't need a hotel operator will just go off to a call center. And then they figured out the next step will be get Siri to answer the phone. Because we don't need a person to tell me what time the gym opens, they'll just understand. So if you're one of those hard working people, you got troubles, because you got a job where they hired you to be a cog, not a job where you got hired to be a person. And so I think I wrote about this 10 years ago, in Linchpin, there's an urgent rush right now, to figure out how to go find a job where they want you to be a person. And to find the guts to do work that would be missed if you didn't do it. And that's not what they taught you in school. But that's what we've got to do.
Chris LoCurto 22:16
Yeah. So taking a little right turn here. What do you see in the world of like, public speaking nowadays? And getting that, like you and I were supposed to speak years ago, and thank you for helping me to see that that was a jacked up event. What do you see in the direction of getting your message out nowadays, like you've got this book out, obviously, you're trying to reach as many people as you possibly can. But do you see this as more being that, you know, zoom type of deal that that we're creating crowds out of zoom calls? Or what are you seeing?
Seth Godin 22:59
So just a tiny question, I'm not even close to trying to reach as many people as I possibly can. I have no interest in reaching as many people as I possibly can. Because what I would have to do to get on the Today Show, what I would have to do to get on Rogen, would mean, that I would have to fit in more. And I would have to serve the largest possible audience. Not interested. I do work for the smallest viable audience, the smallest group of people that can sustain the work I tried to do. And then the second half of it is, what will they tell the others? And that's why you bother making a book, you bother making a book because a book is a self-contained year long process that someone can hand to someone else and say this, we're going to talk about this. So the home run for me is not to get on Chris's podcast, which is fun, the home run for me is if 20 people who read my book, each start a book group with 10 other people. That is the future. And this is the whole idea of tribes. But the idea is that we know that ideas travel horizontally, not vertically. And we know that getting the word out is overrated. And the alternative is to write something idiosyncratic, peculiar, particular, that a small group of people will benefit from sharing. People don't talk about my work because it helps me. They talk about my work because it helped them.
Chris LoCurto 24:27
I love it. I also love the analogy that you use of waiting for an outcome when comparing confidence versus trusting the process. Share how we hold ourselves back by focusing on confidence.
Seth Godin 24:43
Yes, is part of the sports industrial complex. We like it when a sports star says "I'm confident we're going to do well today." Though if we are honest, half of all traditional sports involve one team losing. Right? Like not half of the sports but half of the battles, someone's going to lose the Super Bowl. And what that means is that confidence, while it may be a feeling, isn't really what you need. What you need is a practice you can rely on, whether you win or lose. That the honest hockey player going into the Stanley Cup Finals says, "Do the math, there's a 50% chance we're going to lose. I'm not going to tell you otherwise. But what I will tell you, is that the method that we use to prepare for this, the way we talk to each other, the things we do, if we lose we'll know we did our best." That's the honest answer. Don't look for confidence. Look for a practice that you can rely on. Because if you have a reliable practice, sooner or later, you will do better than if you don't have reliable practice.
Chris LoCurto 25:55
Yeah. I think that the hubris of "We've got this, this is gonna happen, we've been making it happen." And one of the things we talked about a lot with, especially business owners, a lot of times with leaders, but especially business owners is this, "We've been doing this thing so well we're gonna start this over here, move our energy to this thing, because oh, we've been doing this so well for so long." And then they are blown away, that A, this doesn't happen the way that they think it is going to and then they've removed their energy from the thing that's been making the money. And now it's "We got to go back and fix everything." And so we see that all the time of, it doesn't matter. It's great that you've been successful. Not saying that, you know, what you've done to get you to where you are now is, it's incredibly vital. It's what's gotten you here. But like you say, you still have to put the same effort-maybe it's not the same exact effort when you're starting something new, but man, if you're not putting that work in to make that thing happen, especially in the area of creativity, especially in the area of getting something to go impact somebody's life, then chances are that thing's gonna fall flat on its face.
Seth Godin 27:04
Yes. Well said.
Chris LoCurto 27:06
One of the things we talk about here is lifting people up, I believe you call it "leveling up in life." I think that's a phrase that you say. Can you speak to the difference of delivering on our creativity for us, versus helping somebody level up?
Seth Godin 27:26
Okay, some of that is if you walk to school or take your lunch. They're not really related, in the sense that creativity is the act of being a human, and solving an interesting problem in a way that helps somebody else. So hobbies are great, you should have a hobby. But if you're a professional, going into the blank space where no one's gone before to do something new, to make things better; that's a creative act. And I'll put next to that, but not the same thing, our moral and community obligation to exert emotional labor to open doors for other people. Because it turns out that a culture where doors are open for other people, outperforms for all participants, a selfish Ayn Randian culture where everyone's out for themselves. And, you know, if you think about authors, authors blurb each other's books. Why would we do that? Because if you're buying Chris's book, you're not buying my book, right? And yet, we do it all the time. Tim Cook doesn't blurb a Samsung phone, because Tim Cook wants all the phones. Authors aren't like that, authors like "Yeah, read a lot of books. And if you read one of mine, that's fine. But more books, more readers, is a good thing." That books sell best in bookstores, where they're right next to their competition. And so here we are, in this moment, where your customers are all smarter than you. You cannot prevent them from looking something up in Google, they will know that you have competition. So instead of hoarding, we can do the opposite; which is we can say, "You know what? Our competition is better than us for these five things. Here are their links, go buy from them instead. If that's what you want, I'll save you the trouble. But if you want this, and you're that kind of person, that's what we do." And that honesty opens the door for trust, which is the core to how we're able to serve. And so when I'm talking about leveling up, I think that it's really important as humans, that if someone's down and out, we offer them a hand and bring them up. But I also know in developed communities, if you're not enrolled in the journey, and you don't want to move up, all the helping hands in the world aren't going to help you. And so part of my riff about leveling up, is simply choosing to believe that you can make a difference. Choosing to enroll on this journey. And the alt MBA is all about that we have 97% completion rate over the last five years. But that's because everyone who signs up wants to go on the journey. Learning and education are different. And learning is voluntary.
Chris LoCurto 30:26
Yeah, absolutely. So you've been doing this a while, at least a year or two, or more. I love everything that you're saying is speaking to this concept of this, "Yes, it's coming from you but it's not about you." That the thing that you're creating is not about making-Seth Godin isn't looking to make Seth Godin more popular, more famous. Like you talk about the 10 people in a book club. Because that matters, because that's 10 lives that are going to get changed and going to be impacted. You've been on both sides. I think we may have even been in the-I was at Etrade in west Palo Alto, I think at the same time you were at Stanford, I believe. When you look at that time frame in my life, in that mid 90s timeframe, it was all about man, go bust everything, you know, I'm a young guy, go make as much as you possibly can, make as much money as you possibly can, this is what's going to bring you happiness. And at 50 years old, I mean, for the love, I mean, I've 25 years I've known that that's the incorrect answer. And yet, it is still a message that is being preached like crazy. If you just make enough money, if you just do enough stuff, then man that's gonna make you happy. You're kind of speaking against that. I'm not saying that you're speaking against it, but your focus isn't on that, your focus is on, "Listen, I'm going to create stuff that changes a life, changes lives." What do you say to the person who's wanting to do something, and you know, maybe their reason for doing it is incredibly selfish, or just believing that it's all about them, what do you what do you tell them about that from years of experience?
Seth Godin 32:18
So he talked to freshmen at Yale University, which is, you know, a super exclusive place, that's the capstone of years and years of kicking butt in school. The freshmen show up saying, what you just said, I want to make things better. I'm really interested in community. And if you go back four years later, to the placement office, more graduates of Yale go to investment banking than any other area of profession. What happened, right? Well, we care about two things as humans, we care about affiliation, and we care about status. And I wrote about this in my book, This is Marketing. And it will help you understand politics, it will help you understand your office, it will help you understand so many things in our life, which is, if you are focused on affiliation in the moment, the question is, who is like me, who is standing next to me? Am I fitting into this community? Am I supporting it? And if you care about status, it's, who am I better than? Who's up? Who's down? Who's beating the people I don't like? Right? And it turns out senior year at Yale, a perfect storm occurs, because your affiliation goes up if you go to work for Goldman Sachs, and so does your status. And so we put aside the things we thought we believed in, because we want to believe in a new thing, which is the industrial age, selling us on both those things put together. "The American dream" in quotation marks. But, all the data shows that it doesn't lead to happiness. And it doesn't lead to doing work that makes things better. And so if we think about, you know, Etrade, and I'm a little older than you, so I wasn't at Stanford by a longshot. But Etrade made it cheaper to trade stock, they definitely advanced that technology. But they didn't change the lives of people in the way that you were doing it now. And you have found a place that is now your calling, because you decided that you wanted that affiliation more than you wanted that status. And the thing that really undermined my time at Yahoo, because when I got there, it was the peak of the Renaissance, I really thought I was finally going to be in a room with smart people who were motivated to carve something together that they could be proud of. And instead, I found hundreds of people checking the stock price 50 to 100 times a day. Because it was all about status. And once you are surrounded by people who are measuring status, that becomes the affiliation you care about. So who we surround ourselves with, is so important. Who is on that weekly zoom call? Who is in your Mastermind group? Who are you leading and following and talking about? Who are you reading together? Get that part right. And then the affiliation will drive you toward the work you're proud of.
Chris LoCurto 35:18
I think yeah, I'm assuming you've experienced this. For us, our greatest sales come from the walking billboards, right? The folks that have had their lives changed. And people will show up, and it's like, "How did you hear about us?" "Well, my friend, so-and-so went through your event, or did this thing, and they said, you just got to do it." I can't tell you how many businesses show up, or they show up on a on a call. And they're like, you know, "Troy told me I just got to do this." "Oh, well, what did he tell you about the event?" "He said, Just do it." "So do you know about the event?" "Nope. But I know it's gonna be deep and tough and painful. But it's going to be good." That, I can't get enough of that, that response from people that are like, "This impacted this person over here so much, that now I'm choosing to go through this thing, and I still don't even have enough information, you know, I just want to be a part of this process." So let's take a little bit of a right turn and just ask, you know, obviously, a lot of the stuff that we're talking about today makes you happy. But when you look at you, what makes you happy? Like you just random, what makes Seth Godin happy?
Seth Godin 36:35
Well, semantics matter here a whole bunch. Happiness is a short term feeling that we were evolutionarily wired to want to achieve. So if I make a particularly good batch of chocolate, banana, peanut butter, frozen vegan spins, sweetened with dates. It makes me really happy to have that first spoonful of it.
Chris LoCurto 37:05
I'm now wanting that.
Seth Godin 37:06
But that is not my life's work. Right? That is not satisfying, it is merely happy-making. It makes me happy to hear, you know, a 1964 jazz record coming through my stereo, that's finally just sounding the way that I want it to. Because in that moment, my genes for whatever reason, feel like I'm in the right place at the right time. So I have no shortage of happiness in my life, I figured out how to not play games that make me unhappy. And, but if I spend my whole day doing that, I'm not going to be satisfied, I'm not going to be able to point to an arc and a body of work, where I can say this was a contribution. And, so I think it's important that we be honest with ourselves about which one we're after. So here's a really trivial example. I used to play Words with Friends, because I don't watch TV. So if I have some downtime, like at work, and I could play like 15 games at a time, because then it doesn't matter how long the other people are taking. And what I discovered is it wasn't making me happy at all. Because if the person I was playing with I was beating them, I was feeling badly for that person. And if they were beating me, I was sure they were cheating. So instead, I switched to playing against the computer only. So now I play a game called Wordmaster, which is like Scrabble only against the computer. And by depersonalizing it, it just made me happier. And so I decided, I don't read my reviews on Amazon, because the reviews on Amazon were not helping me achieve my goal, they weren't helping me be a contribution. And they weren't making me happy, either. And so doom scrolling is like this, the people who think that they need to make media companies satisfied by spending 2, 3, 4 hours a day looking at whatever's in their feed, they're not making society better, and it's not making them happy. So they should do the difficult work of turning it off. And focusing instead on either something satisfying, or something that's going to make them happy. But we have no obligation to be victims of the media industrial complex.
Chris LoCurto 39:31
And we always tell people happiness is a choice. It's it's not something you know, you have to actually choose it. Joy, a little bit different. But if you're if you're not choosing to be happy, then guess what, you're not going to be happy. But I love the comparison of the thing that makes you happy compared to the thing that satisfies you in life. You talk about, you've again, the 7,500 posts, which I believe would be more if people hadn't talked you out of doing three posts a day, back in the day, because it was just, you know, it was too much for them. But you know, I think that's still just absolutely amazing. You talk about how half of those are average compared to others, and that the practice embraces that simple truth. So I'd love to know how so, and how does that person who's trying to create something for impact or change, you know, hey, it may be half the time, it's just "meh". It's okay. How do you look at that?
Seth Godin 40:38
The first thing is it's just the math or statistics is really clear, right? Half of everything has to be below average, by definition. That's all I'm saying, right? I'm not criticizing myself, I'm just saying do the math. And the late Zig Ziglar, who is a friend and teacher tells a story about a teacher, who is toward the end of her career, and the principal gives her the toughest class in the school. And this was back at the dawn of standardized testing. And he gives her a sheet of paper with the name of each student and their IQs so that she can see just how difficult this is gonna be and can sort the kids out properly. And at the end of the year, the class has achieved everything and beyond that the kids are thriving, and learning and engaged. And they have a retirement banquet for this woman to celebrate her work. And the principal gets up and explains this year's class, and thanks her. And then she stands up and says, "Oh, my goodness, I thought those were their locker numbers." The point of the story is, it's easy to announce that a kid is below average. And if you want to compare him to everyone else, by statistical analysis they are, but there's still a person. And the post that I've done that has had the least resonance with the overall population is still a post I worked on. And in that moment, it wasn't a below average post in that moment. It was my current work. And so what the practice says is, yeah, sure, let's acknowledge, you're not going to win every game. let's acknowledge that by stats, half your stuff is going to be worse than the other half. But not this time, this particular post, this painting, this sermon, this talk, this engagement, this therapy session, for the person you're doing it with, it matters. And the practice says, not here to set a record. I'm here to do the work.
Chris LoCurto 42:51
I love the line, because anybody who's trying to impact people or change lives, I mean, you know, even people who say, "I just sell a widget, Chris, what, what is what does this even mean to me? Why does this matter to me?" And I always use the analogy of the person who pours concrete, like we will talk about, hey, you need to show your team that they're doing work that matters. And you'll have the guy said, "Well, Chris, we pour concrete." And I'm like, "Do you pour concrete in the same hole 40 hours a week?" "No." "Well, what do you do?" "We do patios, we do back patios." "What happens on the back patio?" "I don't know, Chris, people, they have barbecues with their family." "Great, then you're making an impact." And I think a lot of people don't see that they're making an impact in somebody else's life because they look at the thing as a widget. And I love the line in the book, where you say, "art is a tool that gives us the ability to make things better, and to create something new on behalf of those who will use it to create the next thing. So for all those folks who think that they're just selling a widget, run that out, kind of explain what that looks like.
Chris LoCurto 44:01
So you got me thinking about concrete. So for those of our listeners who are not into heavy construction, it turns out that that cement mixer that's going down the street, you know, that spins around. If it's not emptied, within 75 minutes, the stuff inside is wasted. And if you don't dump it out, you the truck is wasted. And this is a real problem. It was a problem after 911 because the nearest concrete factory was an hour from New York City. And so if any traffic jam showed up, they were in big trouble. So what to do, but in Mexico City where the traffic is biblically bad, the biggest cement company which I think is called sem X has this really big problem because every day there was this challenge of losing the work. Well if you say I just deliver concrete Then you're in trouble. But if you say this is an interesting problem, you could solve it. And in fact, they solved it by relying on drivers and a network of phones and computers. And they dramatically cut how many pounds of concrete they were wasting every day, thus cutting the cost of concrete. And the person who figured this out and the drivers they relied on weren't just cogs in the system. They were actually doing something that mattered. And so yeah, if you define your work as a commodity, it is a commodity. And my argument is, it doesn't have to be a commodity if you don't want it to be. Absolutely.
Chris LoCurto 45:40
I love having you on the show. And speaking to other folks about this incredible new book, a question I always ask everybody that, that I have on is if you could go back in time and speak to a young Seth Godin, what would you tell him?
Chris LoCurto 45:54
This one's pretty easy for me, because all my failures and dead ends enabled me to become who I am. And I'm glad I did. So the only thing I would say to me is, it's gonna be okay.
Chris LoCurto 46:08
Yeah, keep making mistakes, learn from the mistakes, because that's gonna make you a better version of you, Seth, so good having you on the book is a practice shipping creative work. And I really appreciate it. We need to do this again sometime. Well, there you have it, folks, what a great interview with Seth Godin and great information. Listen, the book, the practice shipping, creative work, this is something you need to get in your hands. This is a great book, we're going to have the information again, in the notes section in the in the the post, if you're if you're listening to this on iTunes, I believe you can just press my head up. And there should be the information there on how to get this book in your hands. This is a powerful book, this is something that is going to help you especially in the times that we're experiencing right now, to make sure that you're getting your workout to make sure that you're making an impact on people's lives, and helping them to continue to carry that impact into somebody else's life. So the practices book, Seth Godin is the author, what a great interview, we really appreciate that. And we want this to do the same thing we always want. We want it to help you. We hope this has helped you today. Take this information, share it with somebody you know somebody who needs to hear this, you know, somebody who's who's needing to get this book in their hands, somebody who's probably struggling with getting their information out. Make sure that they hear this podcast. As always, take this information, change your leadership, change your business, change your life, and join us on the next episode.