Godin’s Goods

For today’s blogpost, I am gathering different thoughts and ideas inspired by an intellectual and insightful conversation between early internet entrepreneur, Seth Godin, and a journalist/interviewer, Krista Tippett. This conversation, “The Art of Noticing, and Then Creating”, genuinely opened my eyes to an entirely different perspective on how to be true artists. The conversation between Godin and Tippett reminded me of how beneficial and fascinating one conversation can be when two people are deeply invested in collaborating and sharing ideas. From the very beginning of the interview, Godin talks about how “we are invited and stretched in whatever we do to be artists—to create in ways that matter to other people”, and this idea made me question the different ways I personally choose to express my thoughts and ideas with other people.

Around the time I was in middle school, I realized and firmly decided on living a life that was filled with purpose—and I still feel that way now. I don’t want to have a profession nor do I aim to become a person that doesn’t serve, change, or impact the people/world around me; I view this as a selfish and lonely way to live. Godin’s thoughts on creating something that would essentially matter gave me a deeper insight on not just what, but how, to effectively do that. Some of Godin’s main claims and ideas are:

  • Weave a story, network, product, etc. that means something
  • Realize that you have a position/role in your community—connect with people
  • Do not flee from negative feedback
  • We are all artists
  • It is okay to colaborate and work with others
  • The people who are making an impact today are doing it despite what they learned in school
  • Strip away the things in your life that gives you space to hide
  • Do not be afraid to be wrong or ask questions

When I listened to Godin’s response to the points or questions Tippett brought up, I realized that most of his claims are what most people, including me, think. We’re just too afraid to say it. On the other hand, some of his claims are quite complex and difficult to fully comprehend since he uses deep observation and analysis in order to form these ideas. I have certain questions regarding some of Godin’s claims but for the most part, his thoughts are familiar to mine, and some of them even relate to what my english class has explored since the beginning of the semester. Some of the ideas that we have explored so far in our class revolves around the idea of looking at English literature as a form of art, and to act as artists in order to create something that matters. The idea of being true artists is essentially what Godin is trying to emphasize throughout the entire coversation. After understanding the message he was trying to convey, I started to ask myself: Are you truly growing into an artist and if not, what can you do to flourish into one?

Salt creek Beach_D3X8435_1In the beginning of, “The Art of Noticing, and Then Creating”, Godin speaks about how we are all artists and that we need to understand the role we play in our community. This reminded me of an individual vs. community topic that my english class tirelessly discussed for a couple of weeks. Our class question was: “How does an individual affect a community?” and this brings me back to Godin’s thoughts on recognizing the role you play in your community and fulfilling that position by connecting with people. Personally, I think that I can connect with people very well because I am hospitable and welcoming. Developing deep connections and relationships with people are something that I am extremely passionate about. At an early age, I realized that putting others down is not a useful way to spend my time. I knew that I wanted to use my voice in order to stand up for causes that are bigger than myself. How do I see my role in society? I am a teenager. However, I am a teenager that has the desire to help others when they are in need. I know that if a person needed my help, despite who they are or the mistakes that they have made, I would step up, become a leader in my community, and help. I find myself fulfilling my role in society by giving freely to those in need, by picking up my trash and recycling any chance I get, by showering for not as long so I can conserve water, to help people with homework when they need it. These examples may be small but when you combine them together, they help define my role in my community. I am a firm believer of making change without needing materialistic resources—all you really need is pure intenions, a small group of people that are willing to listen, and doing something that is “genuine and connects”. Standing up for a cause or creating something that is “fake for entertainment” will most likely not resonate throughout the world with longevity. Sure, it might last for a few days, a few months, or even a few years, but nothing would compare to a cause that is honest and authentic.

A crucial and valuable skill that I have developed over the sixteen years of my life is the ability to not run away when I am given criticism or negative feedback from others. Sometimes, I find myself being sensitive to the negative things people say about me or the things that I am proud of, love, cherish, etc. However, particularly in the past couple of years, I have gradually been able to accept the negative feedback and run with it, not away from it. Like everyone else, criticism will sometimes get to me, but I am proud of how much I have evolved over the past few years. In my english class, we do many peer reviews with our essays, blogposts, and projects, and I have grown into enjoying receiving the feedback from other students. Being able to gracefully receive constructive criticism is one of my biggest strengths when it comes to growing as an artist [and as a person] because it gives me an opportuity to be open-minded and accept other people’s ideas, instead of creating work based on my own knowledge.

When Godin speaks about how we need to create things that matter to people, I started to think about all of the work I have done in my english class and whether they are merely just another check off my list of things-to-do. Am I really putting my heart and soul into the things that I create? Does my work have any impact on my community or humanity as a whole? To answer these questions, it is a yes and no. I know I sometimes hold myself back because I start to doubt myself or I am simply afraid. Fear. It gets the best of us sometimes. I am certain that fear can prevent us from working to our fullest potential because my own fear of rejection and failure plays a driving force in why I sometimes choose not to openly express my thoughts and ideas. I am sure that if fear didn’t have such a huge impact on my life, I would be able to create, confidently display, and share my work with those around me. I have the right intentions/ideas when writing an essay or creating a blogpost, but it can be extremely difficult when I have this deep concern of being wrong and not succeeding. Although this fear does not cause me to necessarily give up or run away, it does sometimes hinder my abilities to create something that I can be truly proud of. After realizing and acknowledging this fear, I know I need to work on it if I want to grow and flourish as an artist.

This brings me to another point that Godin discusses in his conversation with Tippett. I recall him saying something along the lines of students being too afraid to be wrong nowadays, which correlates to my personal fears when it comes expressing my ideas and thoughts. His observations on high school/college students reassured me that I am not the only student that feels this way. Godin also noted that kids in pre-school or elementary school are able to raise their hands and immediately ask or answer questions because that fear of being wrong has not been instilled in them quite yet. I find this an awfully unfortunate situation because I feel like our current education system is inhibiting our students from being creative, which essentially prevents us from using our imagination. This is a major flaw in the way students are gradually developing in our current society.

Another idea that Godin brings up in the conversation is how most people who are making a powerful impact in their community or world are doing it despite what they have been trained in school. He expresses his thoughts on how collaborative work shouldn’t be prohibited and looked down upon—and I completely agree. Now, I am not condoning cheating in any way but speaking for myself, I would not have the desire to obtain answers from other classmates if there was not a huge emphasis on always being correct—getting that perfect answer our teachers are searching for on our homework, quizzes, tests, etc. The amount of pressure students are in to always acquire the right answer essentially impedes their ability to effectively learn. Going off on this idea, the topic of ‘collaborative work’ interests me on a whole different level. In my opinion, I find that if students are taught to share ideas and work together, this will surely benefit our society and world all together. I am constricted to work by myself and though this may work for many other people, I find it nonbeneficial. It restricts students from developing vital skills that they will eventually need to build in their future. For example, being able to effectively work well others is important for any career. Some people may be more stubborn than others, therefore it is important to teach students to open their minds and consider suggestions or ideas from other people. To me, this is what helps humanity’s knowledge progress and evolve. Although I loved listening to Godin’s thoughts on how to be successful and how the people making a change in the world have a common foundation, I was slightly confused when he talked about how these people could “find a way to understand the mindset of a person before they even meet them and then put a story into the world that resonates enough to start changing that mindset”. I didn’t quite understand this point; maybe it is because it is more complex to understand but I wanted to know how one could do these things, and why this could make such a difference in the world.

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A topic that Godin stresses a lot of emphasis on is the fact that we are all artists. He believes “you’re not going to make it as a workerbee”, but by constantly thinking of what to do next and being confident enough to showcase your work to the world. I feel like art is not limited to a specific area only involving drawing, painting, sculpting, etc.; art can be expressed in several different ways. In my english class, my teacher always talks about how english is art. Our beautiful language, smoothly-formed sentences, and the different structures of our writing contributes to the creation of art. This reminds me of the, “Essay”, written by Daniel Coffeen. One particular sentence that stuck out to me was when Coffeen described what he would do before he started writing. He would sit “down before a blank screen and then lean into language to see how my [his] thoughts will meet words and grammar”. I found this such a beautiful sentence because you can physically see the words meet the actions he is describing; it all flows together in such a graceful manner. After reading this essay and thinking about Godin’s thoughts on finding the courage to show the world your work, I made it a personal goal for me to be able to write more skillfully and eloquently while also making it seem effortless because I knew this would help me feel more confident in my writing. I knew I would be able to do this if I read more books, essays, and blogposts from other writers—this has helped me immensely. Ever since I have been reading more, my writing has slowly but surely improved. Although I am not where I want to be, I find myself being able to provide more specificity and details that allow my writing to flow effortlessly. I find beauty in the smallest things—my examples and comparisons are not as generic and cliché, which was something I had a problem with before. The idea that we are all artists is a fascinating thought and it has helped me realize that we are all capable of creating wonderful things that will impact our world in a positive way. Create something that matters.

How are we going to find the courage to show people our work? Godin’s thoughts regarding this subject is by stripping “away the things in your life that give you a space to hide”. When he first said this sentence, it immediately caught my attention. He talked about how he does not spend time on social media because it can be a waste of time. His questions—”Is technology levraging you in a way where it makes you uncomfortable? Will it put you in a spot where you need to dig deeper to do the work that you will be proud of?”—caused a powerful rainstorm to begin in my mind. I started thinking of the way my social media such as twitter, instagram, facebook, etc. has benefited me and my creative work. Thinking about the things Godin has discussed, I realized that social media is a way for me to give a snippet of my work; however, I believe that if I actively dedicate one form of social media to my work, I will be able to effectively display my work for people all around the world. The internet is such a great and useful tool for me to show my work, therefore I want to continue to dedicate more time on writing and creating, rather than simply socializing to pass by the time. Ever since I started writing more on my publishing house blog, I have been gathering more ideas from my own personal observations and experiences. With all of these new ideas and thoughts, I yearn to write more on my personal blog and I find it very exciting. I start to feel overwhelmingly inspired and motivated when I see all of my drafts saved onto my personal blog because it reminds me that I have more topics to dig deeper in. I want to write stuff that matters to me, my community, and the world.

Thanks for reading!

Emily xx

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