Are you part of the solution?

If you’re not the customer, you’re the product.

~ Seth Godin, from https://seths.blog/2017/02/nextstep/

This rant from Seth is a couple years old, but it remains as important as ever.

I talk often about the problems with social networks. But what I’m particularly interested in is what, (if anything,) actually works to change people’s minds. I bet you can guess what works: Basically, nothing works.

I wasted a lot of time trying to explain the problems with social networks using facts and rational arguments. You know how far I got with that. One day, I stopped trying to educate and explain, and started trying to plant seeds. Little seeds of inquisition. Little seeds of self-awareness.

How do you feel when you are not on that social network?

And how do you feel after it ate your face for 2 hours?

Do you like the way you look, all hunched over with spine twisted and your face completely facing the ground?

Could you make progress on your dream if you could just find 10 hours of time a week? (As if you only spent 10 hours on social networks this week.)

Hold your phone facing you at arms length. Look just to one side and notice the actual amount of your immediate world which it occupies. How do you feel about only living within that small fraction of your world?

Visualize your death bed. (Go ahead. I’ll wait.) Now begin to list your imagined regrets as you lay dying. (Seriously. I’ll wait.) Which items on your list were related, in any way, to online social networks?

You have Seth’s thoughts. You now have my thoughts. Do you have any thoughts of your own?

Are you part of the problem, or part of the solution?

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Dopamine

On the other hand, if you choose to work inside this messy metaphor, you get the thrill of finding a new path instead of merely following the old one.

~ Seth Godin, from https://seths.blog/2019/06/ahead-of-the-curve/

I was reading recently about ways to add pleasure and enjoyment by simply planning ahead for the more simple things one regularly does. For example, instead of just going out randomly for dinner, plan in the morning to go out for dinner at 6:15 this evening—even if it’s just to your regular, local spot. The anticipation of even a small, normally trivial and unconsidered act, will be pleasurable all day.

Which leads me to wondering about wether one of my problems is that I too often rush ahead. If I have an idea for a project, since I’ve a tremendous amount of freedom to choose what I do on a daily basis, there’s no reason (so my thinking goes,) that I shouldn’t just start on it right now. …and of course once I’ve started, I may as well sprint all the way through, and reveal my creation fully formed.

Except, there was no anticipation between the idea and the execution.

I already, intentionally do not act on a lot of ideas. (My motto for 2019 is, “no.”) But what if I intentionally begin to not act yet on my ideas to which I’ve said yes. If an idea is so great, it will certainly be there tomorrow. (I see now that there’s also an element of impulse control involved here.) Tomorrow—or next week—when I come back to the idea and find it still very interesting, then it might be time to schedule some time to work on it. Then let that sit for a few more days, and so on.

Some interesting food for thought. I’ll think about this some more tomorrow.

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No

https://seths.blog/2014/05/no-is-essential/

I recently walked away from Facebook.

Was there some amount of value I was getting from Facebook? …certainly. Given that all things take up time, resources, and/or just space in my mind, what’s the cost-benefit analysis?

No.

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Inspiration is for suckers

https://seths.blog/2011/05/self-directed-effort/

The thing I care the most about: what do you do when no one is looking, what do you make when it’s not an immediate part of your job… how many push ups do you do, just because you can?

~ Seth Godin

Stumbled over this 8-year-old post from Seth. It’s suprisingly apropos—confirmation bias in action I suppose—of a conversation I just had.

There are two ways I can go with my thoughts on this: It turns out that I do a lot push-ups, (and other things, “Hello, Art du Déplacement,”) just because I can. But I think there’s a more interesting thread I can pull from this serendipity.

I don’t trust inspiration. I don’t trust it to show up, let alone motivate me. If something inspires me, I channel that energy to envision the path which could make the inspiring idea into some reality. I use moments of inspiration to propel me into doing the hard work of figuring out the next possible step. …and the step after that. …and after that.

The rest of the time—most of the time in fact—all I’m doing is working my systems. A bit of this, a bit of that, some of this, and some of that.

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Embarrassment

https://seths.blog/2012/03/ashamed-to-not-know/

Society changes when we change what we’re embarrassed about.

~ Seth Godin

This is an interesting way to look at societal changes. Since there is no “we”—there is no aggregate, thing which is “the society as a whole” which can feel embarrassed—the only “we” which can be embarrassed is me, the individual.

…and since this blog is about me, I should talk about what embarrasses me. But instead, I’m interested in unpacking the source of my embarrassment:

When my actions and thoughts disagree with what I know is right.

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Tools versus insight

https://seths.blog/2011/12/tools-and-insight/

Knowing about a tool is one thing. Having the guts to use it in a way that brings art to the world is another.

~ Seth Godin

I know my tools. I have the guts to use them. I’m bringing my art to the world.

…know what I cannot figure out? How to be successful—not how to make money, but rather how to feel that what I’ve done and what I’m doing are enough.

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On writing

https://seths.blog/2011/09/talkers-block/

I believe that everyone should write in public. Get a blog. Or use Squidoo or Tumblr or a microblogging site. Use an alias if you like. Turn off comments, certainly–you don’t need more criticism, you need more writing.

~ Seth Godin

Thank you. …don’t mind if I do. Coming up on 8 years on this blog, and well over 2,000 posts. :)

Writing here has been useful on two fronts: First, when I do have to write something in some random context, le voila! …every day I suck less at writing. Second, writing clarifies my thinking. (My thinking needs a lot of clarifying.)

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