Poke the Box – Seth Godin

Poke the Box [LINK] – Seth Godin

From inside the flap: Poke the Box is a manifesto about producing something that’s scarce, and thus valuable. It demands that you stop waiting for a road map and start drawing one instead. You know how to do this, you’ve done it before, but along the way, someone talked you out of it.

Seth Godin asks, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” A simple and insightful question that is surprising difficult to answer. We are often asked what we do, seldom do we respond that we start stuff. Blindly accepting results is the loss of power. Most new ideas come from solving a problem, not optimizing a current solution – those are for the organization focused on perfection. Large-scale organizations are designed for efficiency and consistency, not joy.

As humans, we are wired to avoid risk because we fear failure more than success. Humans are loss averse, and instead of doing something for the first time, we focus on looking over the report one last time. Don’t be afraid to stand up and stand out. In Australia they call this thetall poppy syndrome. As Godin explains, “Twice as much polishing isn’t twice as good.” If you want to ship it (delivering your piece of work), you must stop procrastinating. Sure, you won’t write a 20,000 word novel by tomorrow, but how about drafting the first page today?

Ideas are cheap – shipping is expensive. Get out in the world. Experience new places, pick a new hobby, work on that idea you have. No one said it’s going to be successful, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. Catching a flaming chainsaw with one hand looks great, but how do you learn to catch if you never try to throw? Juggling is about throwing, not catching. Poke the box, maybe something new will come out.

“There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth. Not going all the way, and not starting” – Siddhartha Gautama