You begin your journey not knowing where it will take you. You have plans, dreams, but every now and then you will have to take uncharted roads, face impassable mountains, cross treacherous rivers, blocked by landslides and earthquakes. That’s how life is and how it should be. Otherwise, we will not improve and we will degradingly take things for granted before slowly lose ourselves, our humanity.
Seth Godin makes it sounds pretty easy, isn’t it? Of course, we will encounter fears at the corners of our minds that may tell us to keep our life safe and small, do not disrupt the equilibrium of the comfort zone. I have had people telling me that. People who think that I cannot do better just because they never achieve it. It happens not once, or twice. It has happened every time I made a decision to listen to my guts or decide to change the course of my direction. The big question is, are you going to let the noise distract you or say a firm and hearty YES.
Seth Godin never disappoints. The pointers in the book are not new. We have heard of them before. However, he is able to quietly build a determination inside all of us, that we cannot put the book down or deny the call to get busy, create and ship.
Taking the escalator requires guts, responsibility and sincerity as we have no idea if the step we take will bear fruits or not. However, we need to take our work seriously and get back on our feet regardless of how many times we fall while learning how to make it better.
This book reminds me of two icons in Singapore. One of which is our forefather, the late Lee Kuan Yew. He gave his life to Singapore and did what he had to do to put Singapore on the world stage. A paragraph is not enough to speak of a great man, but he is someone I thought of when I read the book. Secondly, there is a lady who starts a café with the intention of changing the lives of others. She does so by hiring troubled individuals. She motivated them to not give up on themselves and conducted the necessary classes in the café to help them. At the end of the day, it all starts with a sincere intention to make the lives of others better. We may not exactly do the same thing, but at least we can follow their ideals and find our paths.
Two of my favourite sections of the book are ‘You’ve been hacked’ and ‘Hack back’. I believe that most of us have been in the situation before. It can be in various forms, such as at work or shopping. Banks and shops take advantage of impulsive behaviours of their customers. They create an environment to put us in our comfort zone and they make profits or benefit from the situation. So what do we do? Stay firm about your decision. See the world or situation as it is and change it for the better. Be it for yourself or others. Do not let anyone take advantage of you. Decide what is best for you.
Another section that I assume to be practical will be the last section of the book, ‘My book won’t let me’. In my opinion, this section provides the most useful advice as most of us work in organisations.
- Give credit: Acknowledge the help you receive from others
- Take blame: Be responsible for your team and yourself. Take your turn more often
- Don’t listen: Discuss and develop ideas for better processes and improvements
- Perfectionism: Seek for a better way of doing things or brighter future
- Steal ideas: Recombine ideas and improve
- Ship: Plan to deliver the idea
- Change things quietly and avoid the no-people: Start small with good support
- Building bridges, not burning them
Refer to the mindmap for more details. I classify the chapters based on my understanding of the book. I hope it’s not too confusing.
I believe that Gen Y and Z are the best equipped for change as we are the ones effecting that ignition for the very reason that it is the best thing for us. So expect change and respect it as it is the only thing that is constant. Now, don’t just conform to what others expect or dictate to you. Be unique and define your own path and leadership. Manage the ambiguity and embrace all possibilities. Only then, one can do both good and make money.
Now get out there and be awesome.