Average, Thinking like a kid, becoming an Artist

Artist: A person engaged in one or more activities relating to creating art, practicing art, or demonstrating art.

In Seth Godin’s book Linchpin, he spends time talking about these 3 things.  Being average, thinking like a kid, and becoming an artist.  I’m going to share some quotes from the book as I think they play an important role in who we become as people.

Enter Seth Godin –

Where does Average come from?

Two places: 1.  You have been brainwashed by school and by the system into believeing that your job is to do your job and follow instructions.

2.  Everyone has a little voice inside of their head that’s angry and afraid.  That voice is the resistance – your lizard brain – and it wants you to be average (and safe). 

Enter Dan –

Man how true is this?  Anyone that has been through school and is old enough to have made some decisions in their lives know about following instructions and the “lizard brain.”  I’m not saying that school is bad or that we shouldn’t be educated, but at some point we have to learn to think for ourselves.  School tells us exactly what to do, step by step.  We get scared if we don’t know the instructions for an assignment in college and email the professor because we want to get a good grade.  That is what we’ve been told to do.  Get good grades, ask for help, because that is how we get somewhere in life.  Seth Godin says that they should teach two things in school and I happen to agree with him.

1.  Solve Interesting Problems

2.  Lead

How much more could we get from college if we only studied these things for 4 years?  I’m guessing quite a bit.

And what about that lizard brain?  Are you fighting him like I am?  He says, “don’t do anything out of the ordinary or that could put you out of your comfort zone.  Stay safe.”  There is nothing wrong with average if thats who you want to be, but on some level I think we all want to be remarkable.  We want to make an impact and change the world.

Thinking Like a Kid

Enter Seth Godin –

I’m sitting next to Zeke on the plane.  Zeke isn’t sitting.  Zeke is two.  He spends the entire flight standing, walking around, poking, smiling, asking, touching, responding, reacting, testing, and exploring.  It is possible that your were like Zeke?  What happened?

Somewhere along the way, we baked it out of you.  It’s a shame, because what Zeke has (and what so many have lost) is exactly what we need.

Enter Dan –

Remember what it was like to be a kid?  I do, I was an explorer.  I wanted to find new places and roam around.  Being in a new place was like a playground for me.  What was it like for you?  Do you remember some of your interests as a kid and what you did for fun? 

What if we all thought like “big kids?”  How creative and fun would our world be?  It’s too bad that we grow up and are taught to conform.  We are in need of more “big kids” now than ever before, and the opportunity to become a “big kid” is greater now than it ever has been.

Becoming an Artist

Enter Seth Godin –

We were all hunters.  Then they invented farming, and we became farmers.  And we were all farmers.  Then they invented the factory, and we all became factory workers.  Factory workers who followed instructions, supported the system, and got paid what they were worth.

Then the factory fell apart.  And what’s left for us to work with?  ART.

Enter Dan –

Art.  This is the direction that our culture needs to move in.  Can you work for someone else and create art?  Absolutely.  What do you bring to your job that no one else can bring?  Is it your people skills?  Is it your knowledge?  Is it your dedication and passion for a particular industry?  The people that bring these things to their everyday job are the artists.  Artists have a tough time telling the difference between work and play.  They don’t know the term TGIF, because they are doing what they want to be doing in their profession.

I’ll leave you with one more section from the book Linchpin.  Think about what you are doing now to be average, what you can be doing to be more like a kid again, and become an artist.

Enter Seth Godin –

Artists think along the edges of the box, because that’s where things get done.  That’s where the audience is, that’s where the means of production are available, and that’s where you can make an impact.

Dan 3/24/11


About danholterhaus

I explore creative strategies to help others achieve success
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