What I'm Reading: Linchpin

My book club is reading Linchpin by Seth Godin this month. I took it out from the library, renewed it once, and now I'm racking up a library fine because it's overdue. Since I'm a chronic rule follower, this is saying a lot about how much I like this book. I've stuffed it with post-its here and there. Obviously, I just need to buy my own copy and mark the whole thing up in pen.

Linchpin is written by Seth Godin, a guru of entrepreneurialism (BIG word!) in the digital age. I first discovered him through his Ted Talks, but it was this book that caught my eye since its basic argument is that everyone is an artist - how business works in the current age is that everyone has to be creative, come up with ideas, and turn each day into a work of art.

Here's a slice of it, from a section called "Artists Who Can't Draw":
"What makes someone an artist? I don't think it has anything to do with a paintbrush...You can be an artist who works with oil paints or marble, sure. But there are artists who work with numbers, business models, and customer conversations. Art is about intent and communication, not substances...Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn't matter. The intent does." (Page 83)
This section really spoke to me, even though I don't have to stretch my mind to think of what I do as art. Here's why: I always have a sort of life philosophy guiding me, and these have changed periodically over time as my needs and focus have changed. Here's a timeline of my life philosophies - I thought twice about posting these, because some are kind of childish, but I think their evolution mirrors my own process of maturing over time:

High school - early college: Don't suck. (I was astonished to figure out that merely meeting expectations can make you outstanding, because so many people around me just weren't - they didn't show up on time, with the work done, ready to contribute.)

Late college: It's not my problem. (I know this sounds pretty extreme, but I had to be rather extreme with myself in trying to find balance and let go of things out of my control - I was so over-responsible and took on way too much, so I found myself repeating this under my breath to release myself and trust others.)

After college: Be here now. (After thinking about the future so long, I didn't know how to just be in the present, so I spent a lot of time getting used to that.)

Now: You are creating a work of art called your life.

See how this one ties back to Seth Godin? He's writing about how today's economy requires every worker to think of every interaction and everyday as a work of art. I've been trying to think about my life that way, too - I think that's a big reason why I keep this blog, and why it has evolved to not just be about the things I make, but the things I'm thinking about and participating in as an artist. Linchpin is giving me a lot of ideas about how I can be artful in living my life, and move past things like fear and self-doubt.

I love my current life philosophy because through it, I'm giving myself permission to be creative all the time, and to have creative control over how and where I invest my energy.

The more I think about it, the more I think that this is the time of my life.


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