Seth Godin is a marketing guru, entrepreneur, and best-selling author of books such as "Purple Cow" and "Linchpin" (my personal faves) where he writes on post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, and leadership. You're probably wondering what this marketing guy could possibly teach you about being a better musician or artist. Because of Godin, I've learned how to do work that matters, create real value, and face the fear (plus a lot more than I can write in one post). He frequently gives talks to music students- here is a recent one he gave at Carnegie Hall. These are my three favorite Seth Godin quotes and lessons after the jump.
1. "Repeating easy tasks again and again gets you not very far. Attacking only steep cliffs where no progress is made isn’t particularly effective either. No, the best path is an endless series of difficult (but achievable) hills."
This is one of my favorite quotes and an excerpt from his blog (read entire post HERE). When you're learning a new piece of music or embarking on a new project, it's easy to get stuck in mindless tasks or have trouble getting started because you're so overwhelmed. I like this approach of choosing difficult but achievable hills as a way to stay focused and productive.
2. "Art is the product of emotional labor."
Seth writes a lot about doing and creating work, or art, that matters. The only way is through emotional labor- doing things when you don't feel like it, things that are mentally or emotionally difficult. To me, the best art comes from vulnerability, and it requires the emotional labor that he speaks of- trying new ideas that might suck, conquering your nerves to get on stage, being uncomfortable, putting in the hours of real practice. (Read my Soundfly interview: Eunbi Kim on the Vulnerability of Performance).
3. "Conquer the lizard." [The lizard brain is a recurring theme in "Linchpin" -- it is the primal part of the brain that operates out of fear, not out of creativity or vision.]
What we fear most gives us clues to what matters most, thus giving us a clear direction of what it is we should do. Knowing that the lizard brain actually tells us what to do in this respect is my way of conquering all the self-doubting voices in my head that say, "You're not good enough" or "This is stupid, and it sucks." I think these kinds of thoughts really paralyze a lot of people.
I leave you with this inspring TED talk from Seth Godin-
STOP STEALING DREAMS: Seth Godin at TEDxYouth@BFS