Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Seth Godin

What makes your sirens go off…

Somewhere, someone is doing something that got your attention, inciting you into action.

Somewhere, someone is:

  • Taking your share
  • Wasting an opportunity
  • Cutting ahead in line
  • Suffering at the hands of bully
  • Invading your territory
  • Announcing a deadline
  • Sharing breaking news
  • Disrespecting your tribe
  • Going hungry
  • Whispering juicy gossip
  • Misinterpreting your words
  • Not being offered an opportunity
  • Libeling a cause you believe in
  • Living with loneliness
  • Promising a shortcut
  • The victim of cruelty
  • Being cruel
  • Giving something away
  • Picking winners
  • Asking for help

Which of these is your kind of urgent, a chance to take umbrage or perhaps, a call to action?

Which one turns our heads, gets our attention and breaks our rhythm?

We notice what we care about and work hard to ignore the rest.

You can change what you care about by changing what you notice.

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Wishing vs. doing. Line or staff?

By giving people more ways to speak up and more tools to take action, we keep decreasing the gap between what we wish for and what we can do about it.

If you’re not willing to do anything about it, best not to waste the energy wishing about it.

Line or staff?

The most urgent jobs tend to be line jobs. Profit and loss. Schedules to be drawn and honored. Projects to deliver.

The line manager initiates. The line manager delivers.

Staff jobs are important, no doubt about it.

The staff keeps the lights on, provides resources on demand and is standing by ready to help the line manager. But the staff person doesn’t get to say yes and doesn’t get to say go.

In fact, the best staff people get that way by acting like they’re on the line.

When you can, take responsibility. Say go.

The engine of our discontent

When TV first was adopted, it was a magical gift. The shows united our culture and the ads fueled a seemingly endless consumer boom.

Today, marketers have turned television into an instrument of dissatisfaction.

The shows alienate many, because they bring an idealized, expensive world into the homes of people who increasingly can’t afford it.

And the ads remind just about everyone that their lives are incomplete and unhappy–unless they buy what’s on offer. Worse, cable news is optimized to shock, frighten and divide the people who watch it.

Social media can amplify all of these downward cycles. It’s TV times 1,000.

Hence a middle class, millions of people who would be as rich as kings in any other time or place, that’s angry and disappointed and feeling left behind.

Victims of a media regime where they are both the user and the product.

Every time TV and social media become significant time sinks in a household, pleasure goes up and happiness goes down.

The solution is simple and difficult.

We can turn it off.

If it’s not getting you what you need or want, turn it off for a few hours.

 

Treating people with kindness

One theory says that if you treat people well, you’re more likely to encourage them to do what you want, making all the effort pay off. Do this, get that.

Another one, which I prefer, is that you might consider treating people with kindness merely because you can. Regardless of what they choose to do in response, this is what you choose to do. Because you can.

Facing the inner critic

Part of his power comes from the shadows.

Pema Chödrön tells the story of inviting the critic to sit for tea. To welcome him instead of running.

It’s not comfortable, but is there any other way? The sore spot is unprotectable. The critic only disappears when we cease to matter. They go together.

We can dance with him, talk with him, welcome him along for a long, boring car ride. Suddenly, he’s not so dangerous. Sort of banal, actually.

There is no battle to win, because there is no battle. The critic isn’t nearly as powerful as you are, not if you are willing to look him in the eye.

The pleasure/happiness gap

Pleasure is short-term, addictive and selfish. It’s taken, not given. It works on dopamine.

Happiness is long-term, additive and generous. It’s giving, not taking. It works on serotonin.

This is not merely simple semantics. It’s a fundamental difference in our brain wiring.

Pleasure and happiness feel like they are substitutes for each other, different ways of getting the same thing. But they’re not. Instead, they are things that are possible to get confused about in the short run, but in the long run, they couldn’t be more different.

Both are cultural constructs.

Both respond not only to direct, physical inputs (chemicals, illness) but more and more, to cultural ones, to the noise of comparisons and narratives.

Marketers usually sell pleasure.

That’s a shortcut to easy, repeated revenue. Getting someone hooked on the hit that comes from caffeine, tobacco, video or sugar is a business model.

Lately, social media is using dopamine hits around fear and anger and short-term connection to build a new sort of addiction.

On the other hand, happiness is something that’s difficult to purchase. It requires more patience, more planning and more confidence.

It’s possible to find happiness in the unhurried child’s view of the world, but we’re more likely to find it with a mature, mindful series of choices, most of which have to do with seeking out connection and generosity and avoiding the short-term dopamine hits of marketed pleasure.

More than ever before, we control our brains by controlling what we put into them.

Choosing the media, the interactions, the stories and the substances we ingest changes what we experience.

These inputs lead us to have a narrative, one that’s supported by our craving for dopamine and the stories we tell ourselves. How could it be any other way?

Scratching an itch is a route to pleasure. Learning to productively live with an itch is part of happiness.

Perhaps we can do some hard work and choose happiness.

[HT to the first few minutes of this interview.]

Dop vs ser

Start your project with a clean sheet of paper: It forces boundaries

A clean sheet of paper still has edges.

It’s tempting to believe that creativity comes from starting fresh.

But even when we start fresh, we approach projects and problems with self-created boundaries.

You can’t do real work without edges, without something to leverage, but those edges don’t have to be the same edges as everyone else uses.

Creative people often excel because they change the shape of the clean sheet.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

November 2017
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