Friday, April 9, 2010

Seth Makes Some Fine Points

Seth Godin's post Rights and Responsibilities is like most of his posts: the bomb. Here's a quote:
...organizations and individuals that focus more on their responsibilities and less on their rights tend to outperform.

It's a journey versus the destination kind of thing, except that, in this case, the destination is for some poor saps the place to which they think they've already arrived.

Kind of insufferable, isn't it?

He also scores big points taking on PepsiCo and anybody else with a position to protect, a status quo to defend when he says:

Once people realize that excessive use of your product makes them sick and then die a long and painful death, it's probably time to stop lobbying and time to start doing something about it.

It's that protectionism that creeps into everything. Kevin Kelly in The Technium quoted Clay Shirky to much the same effect:

Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.

When people do this, try to continue to preserve the status quo no matter the cost to others, present or future, they take the easy way out. "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," goes the old saying, and boy, it hits home with a vengeance here. But it's more and less than simple practicality or economics.

It's laziness.

It's sheer laziness, because they give up on imagination and innovation, abandoning them with the sobriquet of "idealism."

It's good to be certain that you can afford your idealism, but it's also good to realize that you can't afford to leave them out or behind. Idealism, innovation, and imagination. It keeps us from being the death of something on down the road.

I'll paraphrase Seth's closing sentence to illustrate my point:

If your success depends on taking the easy way out and hurting others in the process, then you have a bad definition of success.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Giving Too Much Control to One Person

"If your happiness depends on your draft pick or a single audition, that's giving way too much power to someone else."

That's the last line of this excellent post by Seth Godin. What does he recommend instead? Realize that the skills you develop in pursuit of your dream are the important thing. They are the things that will serve you well in any of several different outcomes. Things like persistence, valuing hard work, goal setting, accounting for what you've done, learned and accomplished. He also mentions "shipping on time," "bending the market to your will," and "doing important and scary work."

Sometimes pursuing your dream is the best preparation for something different than you expected. With so many things beyond our control, you just shouldn't relinquish do or die decisions to one gatekeeper. It's the internet age, anyway. Gatekeepers are passe.