Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Seth Godin

Three ways to add value

Tasks (doing), decisions (choosing), and initiation (starting something out of nothing?)

Each of the three adds value, but one is more prized than the others.

Tasks are set up for you. Incoming. You use skill and effort to knock them down one at a time and move to the next one.

Decisions often overlap with tasks. There are alternatives, and you use knowledge and judgment to pick the best one.

And initiation is what happens when you start something out of nothing, break the pattern, launch the new thing and take a leap.

When we think about humans who have made change happen, institutions who have made a difference, cultural shifts (paradigm shift) that have mattered, we must begin with initiation

Posted by Seth Godin on May 19, 2017

 

Tension vs. fear

Fear’s a dream killer. It puts people into suspended animation, holding their breath, paralyzed and unable to move forward.

Fear is present in many education settings, because fear’s a cheap way to ensure compliance. “Do this,” the teacher threatens, “or something bad is going to happen to you.”

The thing is, learning is difficult. If it was easy, you’d already know everything you need to know. And if you could do it on your own, you wouldn’t need the time or expense to do it with others. (Like visiting with a psy or alcohol anonymous?)

But when we try to learn something on our own, we often get stuck.

It’s not because of fear, it’s because of tension.

The tension we face any time we’re about to cross a threshold. The tension of this might work vs. this might not work. The tension of if I learn this, will I like who I become? (Most probably it is: Is what I learned on my own is correct and valid knowledge?)

Tension is the hallmark of a great educational experience.

The tension of not quite knowing where we are in the process, not being sure of the curriculum, not having a guarantee that it’s about to happen.

As adults, we willingly expose ourselves to the tension of a great jazz concert, or a baseball game or a thrilling movie.

But, mostly because we’ve been indoctrinated by fear, we hesitate when we have the opportunity to learn something new on our way to becoming the person we seek to be.

Effective teachers have the courage to create tension. And adult learners on their way to levelling up actively seek out this tension, because it works. It pushes us over the chasm to the other side.

I’ve been running the altMBA for nearly two years, and in that time we’ve seen tens of thousands of people consider the workshop. Some of them see the tension coming and eagerly dive in. Others mistake that tension for fear and back away, promising themselves that they’ll sign up later.

The ones who leapt are transformed. The tension pays off.

We’re proud of the tension. We built it into the workshop from the start, because education is never about access to information, it’s about the forward motion of learning.

You already know this workshop works. That’s easy to check out. The hesitation comes from this very fact… that it works. That a change occurs. That the unknown is right over there, and to get yourself there, you have to walk through a month’s worth of tension.

That’s the best way I know to learn. And so that’s the way we teach.

Writing the review in advance

Movie reviewers, food critics, the people who write about wine or stereo equipment… they write most of the review before they even encounter the final product.

Because, of course, they experience it before (you/they/we) think they do.

They’ve seen the marketing materials.

They know the reputation of the director or the vineyard.

They have a relationship with their editor, and an instinct about what the people they represent expect.

And of course, it goes double for the non-professional critics… your customers.

And even the hiring manager when you’re applying for a job.

The last click someone clicks before they buy something isn’t the moment they made up their mind.

And our expectations of how this is going to sound, feel or taste is pre-wired by all of the clues and hints we got along the way.

We lay clues.

That’s what it takes to change the culture and to cause action.

The thing we make matters a lot.

But the breadcrumbs leading up to that thing, the conversations we hear, the experiences that are shared, the shadow we cast–we start doing that days, months and years before.

Misbelief? When does it start and how can you sustain this it?

We have a holiday for it, but no good words. Belief in disbelief.

The asymmetry between incredulity and credulity. The fact that too often we believe in the wrong stuff, follow the wrong leader and take the wrong medicine.

In just a few decades, we’ve managed to wreck April Fools as a useful holiday. The stakes are just too high.

For a long time, we’ve been easily fooled by patent medicines. Snake oil was a real thing.

People used electricity in the wrong places for the wrong illnesses.

We swallow silver, see a faith healer and spend all our money for a small bag of magic beans.

At the same time, we hesitate to see the doctor, don’t talk to her when we do, and fill prescriptions but don’t take them when we get home. We’re skeptical about vaccines but eagerly line up for oxygenated water…

We believe, but in the wrong things.

When someone tells us a certain kind of person is dangerous, we’re too eager to believe our xenophobic instincts. We work ourselves into a frenzy over a small injustice, but stand by when the big scam gets done right in front of our eyes.

And we don’t like being wrong.

Hence the paradox, the corner we’ve painted ourselves into: We need to believe, we want to believe, we benefit from believing. We can’t function without news and connection and forward motion.

But, we don’t like to be proven wrong.

So it’s easy to begin by calling it all fake, by non-believing. To become cynical and short-sighted and brittle.

But non-belief doesn’t help, because we can’t make forward motion without belief. No society works without trust and optimism.

Which leads us right back where we started, which is the cost of agency and the cost of freedom: the responsibility of believing in things that work. We received leverage and the price is responsibility.

Our job is to see our misbelief and replace it with better belief, thoughtful belief, belief in things that actually work.

No fooling.

Like to come Along for the ride? And what’s on commitment and techniques?

Along for the ride

And the pilot says, “sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.”

When you’re on one of those Disneyland boats, it takes you where Disney wants you to go. That’s why you got on.

And so you are lulled, a spectator, merely a tourist.

So different, isn’t it, from driving yourself.

You got to choose your own route and have to owning what comes of it.

(Taking on your own responsibilities is the price to pay for choosing to drive your life)

How long have you been along for the ride? When is your turn to actually drive?

23 things artificially intelligent computers can do better/faster/cheaper than you can

Predict the weather
Read an X-ray
Play Go
Correct spelling
Figure out the P&L of a large company
Pick a face out of a crowd
Count calories
Fly a jet across the country
Maintain the temperature of your house
Book a flight
Give directions
Create an index for a book
Play Jeopardy
Weld a metal seam
Trade stocks
Place online ads
Figure out what book to read next
Water a plant
Monitor a premature newborn
Detect a fire
Play poker
Read documents in a lawsuit
Sort packages

If you’ve seen enough movies, you’ve probably bought into the homunculus model of AI–that it’s in the future and it represents a little mechanical man in a box, as mysterious in his motivations as we are.

The future of AI is probably a lot like the past: it nibbles.

Artificial intelligence does a job we weren’t necessarily crazy about doing anyway, it does it quietly, and well, and then we take it for granted. (Even playing poker?)

No one complained when their thermostat took over the job of building a fire, opening the grate, opening a window, rebuilding a fire.

And no one complained when the computer found 100 flights faster and better than we ever could.

But the system doesn’t get tired, it keeps nibbling. Not with benign or mal intent, but with a focus on a clearly defined task.

This can’t help but lead to unintended consequences, enormous when they happen to you, and mostly small in the universal scheme of things.

Technology destroys the perfect and then it enables the impossible.

The question each of us has to ask is simple (but difficult): What can I become quite good at that’s really difficult for a computer to do one day soon?

How can I become so resilient, so human and such a linchpin that shifts in technology won’t be able to catch up?

It was always important, but now it’s urgent.

 

Variance or deviance?

If you see things that don’t meet the norm as ‘deviant’, then you are approaching the world with a mindset of mass, of conformity, of obedience.

You are assuming that you can be most effective and efficient when the market lines up in a straight line, when one size does fit all, because one size is cheaper to make and stock and distribute.

On the other hand, if you accept differences as merely variations, each acceptable, then you realize that there are many markets, many choices, many solutions.

Packaged goods, leadership or governance–when you expect (or demand) that people don’t deviate, you’re robbing them of their dignity and setting yourself up to be disappointed.

It’s okay to say, “this thing we make, it’s not for you,” but I’m not sure it’s productive to say, “you’re not allowed to make the choices you’ve made.”


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

May 2017
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