Culture Changers with Allison Hare

EP78: Seth Godin: The Practice

Episode Summary

Host Allison Hare interviews a giant in the world of ideas: Seth Godin: entrepreneur, global teacher, speaker & author of 19 best-selling book

Episode Notes

Have you ever dreamed of tapping into your creative side and letting it fly?

Host Allison Hare interviews a giant in the world of ideas: Seth Godin: entrepreneur, global teacher, speaker & author of 19 best-selling books including The Dip, Purple Cow and his new book, The Practice. Through his books, blogs, altMBA & Akimbo Workshops Seth is teaching people all around the world how to see things in a new way and make an impact.

Show breakdown:

The voice of a community [3:30]

Discipline as the start point [5:10]

Teaching in parables  [10:30]

Cultural upheaval [13:50]

Seth Godin’s topics [17:40]

Perfectionism or fear? [24:32]

What is school for? [32:04]

Hardwired to fit in [37:58]

Quotes: 

“When you give people a microphone they are going to do something with it” - Seth Godin

“We do the work and then we feel the flow… we feel inspired” - Seth Godin

“Find your practice, find your discipline and put it in a place where the rest of the world isn’t trying to stop you” - Seth Godin

“Social Media is engineered to make us feel bad” - Seth Godin

“We need your bad ideas because then the good ones come out” - Allison Hare

“The way we shift attitude is by doing something, not taking a test about it” - Seth Godin

“I believe that when you start acting like the person you hope to be is the only way you become the person you hope to be” - Seth Godin

“The practice is what’s missing from people; Not lightning, not the muse, not any magical power… Just the practice” - Seth Godin

Seth Godin’s Links:

Allison Hare's Links:

Episode Transcription

Seth Godin (00:01):

Social media is a trap. It's a trap for a bunch of reasons. It's engineered to make us feel bad and it's engineered to have a save the long thing. So my argument to people is find your practice, find your discipline and put it in a place where the rest of the world isn't trying to stop.

Allison Hare (00:18):

Hi, I'm Allison Hare and welcome to culture changers. The podcast that brings you unconventional wisdom by uncommon people together, we are shattering old paradigms to reshape our world and inviting you to make your own Mark. What an honor, could you imagine getting to ask the equivalent of a human Yoda, some of the biggest questions about making an impact and getting all the right answers. I got to interview the great Seth Godin a few months back, and he, he asked me to release this episode in time for the release of his coveted new book. The practice now available, wherever books are sold, you're going to want to take notes in this episode, as Seth is such a unique and effective teacher. Now, if you've listened to me for a while, you'll know my passion is helping others use their voice to be a force for good. And I've got some exciting changes coming to this very podcast. Building a podcast is like building a business. And I believe that podcasting is the bridge to change. Please go to AlisonHare.com and subscribe to my newsletter and stay tuned. It's going to blow your mind and speaking of blowing your mind and my endless gratitude for this moment here is my conversation with the one and only seth godin

Seth Godin (01:38):

Yeah.

Allison Hare (01:41):

One of the things that I think is so interesting is that you are a giant in the world of ideas and, you know, your, your thing is really how to teach people to see things in a new way in, through your blogs, through your books, through your alt MBA, through the akimbo workshops, you have, you have been able to activate people all over the world to, to be able to make that change. So it's almost like your message is kind of coming through and broadcasting in a prism, through other people to be able to create really impactful and lasting change. And so, but however, the world is really in some pretty deep silos. So how do you move a community forward?

Seth Godin (02:28):

Yeah, well, uh, thank you for having me. And it has been 2020 has been, uh, just such a tragic year. So many people, uh, dealing with a health problem, billions of them, uh, the overdue focus on racial justice in the United States and so many others. Um, and it's easy to look at that from a very far distance and say, we need extraordinary top-down leadership. And we have too many problems that are too intractable to solve, but that has never, ever been the way the world has changed. Not once the world has always changed when small circles of people change other small circles of people and, you know, the internet brought a lot of things with it. And most of us were around at the beginning, did not expect all of the negative side effects, but mostly what it did was it amplified the voices of people who didn't have a voice.

Seth Godin (03:31):

And it dramatically increased the amount of connection that people had with one another. When you give people a microphone, they're going to do something with it. Maybe they'll just scream. Maybe they'll just fight for the status quo, but some of them will try to find a voice. And when they find a voice, they might be able to organize some other voices. And the work of my professional life has been to help people learn to trust themselves enough, to speak up in a way they're proud of. And to say here, I made this, or here, let's try this, or will you connect with me? Because I feel like if we can begin to do that more persistently and consistently it can't help, but make things better. Because if you think about it, almost everyone, you know, is a good person. And we just have to take the leverage and the noise away from the selfish people.

Allison Hare (04:27):

How do you take the noise out of the people that are not selfish, but they don't know how to move forward. So, uh, you know, I think about, um, in my construct, I think about creativity. And so one of the things that you kind of unlocked for me is, um, is there's no such thing as right or writer's block. And that to me is been a North star for my own creativity. So people that lives into the show very often are like me, where they are people that, um, feel like they have more in the tank. They feel like they have more to give. And I think we're so we can feel stuck in the constructs of what's expected of us or the cultural expectations. So where does somebody even start?

Seth Godin (05:12):

Exactly. This is great. Um, and the new book is about all of this. Here's the let's start with this. What, what, uh, how many podcasts have you done? Five 2,266, 66. Do you do a podcast only when you feel like it, or do you do a podcast? Cause it's time to do another party.

Allison Hare (05:30):

It is a professional thing for me and I, it's not that I'm making money at it, but to me it is, um, I rely on myself, um, to fulfill that expectation because for me it, uh, it feels like I'm doing a service and that I need to show up for that service.

Seth Godin (05:49):

Exactly. And it's not that different than brushing your teeth except brushing your teeth only helps you. This helps a lot of other people, but you don't wake up in the morning saying, I don't feel like brushing my teeth today. Yeah. You brush your teeth cause it's the morning. So what happens is Allison says, I need to make a podcast today. And sometime after she begins making the podcast, I'm just imagining this. You feel really good because you're making a podcast. You didn't say, I feel really good. I'm going to make a podcast. It's the other way around. We do the work. And then we feel the flow. We do the work and then we feel inspired. And I learned this from my friend, the late Isaac Asimov, Isaac wrote and published 400 books in his lifetime. He invented the robot. If you have a vision of a robot in your head, he invented that.

Seth Godin (06:35):

And I said, Isaac, how does somebody write in public 400 books? And he walked me over to this little rickety typewriter in his apartment. And he said, every morning at six 30, I sit here and I type and I type until noon. And it doesn't matter if what I type is good or not, I have to type not allowed to stop typing. And because he understood that he was going to keep typing. His brain said, well, if you're going to type, I might as well give you something to say. Whereas the people who say there's writer's block are in advance announcing they have nothing to say as opposed to typing. And you know, social media is a trap. It's a trap for a bunch of reasons. It's engineered to make us feel bad. And it's engineered to have a say the wrong thing. So my argument to people is find your practice, find your discipline and put it in a place where the rest of the world, isn't trying to stop you.

Allison Hare (07:29):

And I'm curious about your own practice because you publish a blog every single morning, um, 365 days a year. I've been a big fan of your blog for 10 years. And I think because it is so brief is helpful, you know, but, but it's so impactful as well. Is that, did that start from your conversations with Isaac Asimov or how did you get your own practice of, cause I think my guests, I'm assuming that when you wake up, like you publish, like when it comes to me, it's because you just had published, not because you layered it in for weeks in advance, is that I'm guessing.

Seth Godin (08:08):

I'm glad it feels that way. It's supposed to feel that way. Uh, once the streak felt like a streak, it felt to me like it wasn't worth risking that I was going to get the flu. And so, no, I don't wake up at four in the morning and press a button I used to. And here's the embarrassing story of when I stopped doing that, uh, longtime leaders, like you may know that one of my small obsessions as someone who used to travel too much is the poor design of bathroom showers at hotels, because it seems to me, there's no room for innovation. Every bathroom shower should be exactly the same. You're in a strange place. It's dark, it's early in the morning. You shouldn't have to need a manual to figure out how to turn on the shower. So I've written about this several times and this was a particularly egregious one and it was early in the days of the smartphone.

Seth Godin (09:01):

So I took a picture of it and I posted it on my blog and I got out of the shower and there was an email waiting for me. And somebody said, if you look at the picture just right, you can see that you're not wearing any clothes in the room and this could be the end of my career. Right. Because that's not okay. So fortunately for whatever reason, someone at Typepad was in some time zone when they got my email at five 30 in the morning and they took down the picture and my reputation was saved. And so ever since then there has been a reserve, a buffer of posts that I wrote sometimes a post takes me five hours to write. Sometimes the post takes me five minutes to write, but the discipline of writing every day, that was my commitment based on what I learned from Isaac that said, a lot of people say, I can't be a writer, but all you need to do to be a writer is to write every day.

Allison Hare (09:57):

I think that that particular concept for, from you was so freeing for me because there are times when I sit down, you know, and I, I started a blog because of just that voice, um, of you, you know, like just saying, just type, just type. It doesn't matter if it's bad, we need your bad ideas. Cause then the good ones come out and, uh, it's, it's amazing. What's happened through there. Um, one thing I think is it tickles me to no end that you teach almost entirely in parables and your ability to, to organize information in a way and tie it to a relevant stories so quickly is pretty astounding. Um, and I imagine that's a practice for you too. Where did that begin?

Seth Godin (10:44):

It is in fact they practice, uh, I began teaching, uh, in 1977 in Northern Canada, North of Toronto in a canoe. And, uh, there's something really powerful about having an 11 year old get into a vehicle that's 17 feet long for which they're the only person, the only pilot and saying to that kid who might've been coddled or might've been, uh, not treated well for the first 11 years of their life. Okay, you can do this. Let's go and watch their physical and emotional state change when they realize it's up to them. And that's why

Allison Hare (11:23):

Didn't your father leave you?

Seth Godin (11:25):

Oh, my father did not leave me.

Allison Hare (11:31):

Um,

Seth Godin (11:32):

But in that moment I realized that turning on that light was my life's work. And because I can't be up in Northern Canada right now doing that, I do this, but it's the same thing. And what I discovered is teaching the physics of, uh, hydro engineering and how paddles flow through, uh, fluids does not help anybody learn to paddle a canoe. And what you need to shift is attitudes. And the way we shift attitudes is by doing something, not, uh, taking a test about it. And so that's why I do workshops. That's why I don't just make videos. That's why my posture is, uh, you learn to ride a bike. You learn to walk by doing something that didn't work until it worked. And if I can encourage you to do that in the modern world, then you're going to get better at it.

Allison Hare (12:26):

So do you feel like action is the cure to everything? It sounds like it,

Seth Godin (12:31):

Well, I'm not, I don't know about everything. I don't want the people who are working on the vaccine that we all need to just make stuff up as they go along. I do believe that justice, for example, comes from activity, not from theorizing. I believe that when we start acting like the person we hope to be, that is the only way we will become the person we hope to be. And so through. Right action, even though the results don't always match, we get the chance to do more. Right action. And, um, I get very frustrated with people who know they're doing something wrong and then say, I'm just doing my job because we are lucky enough to live in a world where for most of us, you get to pick what your job is. And, uh, just because you got paid a lot to be on wall street, doesn't mean you should be doing credit default swaps. You had a choice and please don't tell me you were just doing your job.

Allison Hare (13:33):

You know, it's interesting that I think about 2020 and just what you said right now is that where it's such a pivotal time, where there is truly a confrontation and a dismantling of so many systems, whether it is racism and, uh, equality, um, police reform, even the elections, uh, this is an election year when this comes out, uh, we are, we are voting and, uh, and there's so much out there to me. I feel like all of this, like you said before is long overdue that some of these systems, the heart hierarchy or hierarchical systems that my parents and your parents knew from a cultural norm perspective, no longer work. I think this is an incredible reckoning. And I wonder what your thoughts are on the cultural upheaval. You know, do you look at it in a positive way? Um, and, and where do we go from here?

Seth Godin (14:34):

You know, what a lot of people don't remember is in, in the darkest days, sorry, part of my computer just crashed. What a lot of people don't remember is that in the darkest days of the Soviet union, there were lots of people in the Soviet union who liked it exactly the way it was. And the status quo is the status quo because it's really good at sticking around. If it wasn't, it would have been gone a long time ago. I think the biggest change agent of our time was the internet in that it exposed a lot of things that had been hidden. And it gave voices to a lot of people who didn't have one. So if there's only three TV networks and there's only one or two newspapers in a town, the status quo has way more power. And so what ended up happening is something that from almost any distance looks like chaos, and it could easily be cast in very painful directions that don't work.

Seth Godin (15:34):

There's no, I'm not a Pollyanna about this. There's no guarantee that on the other side, everything is the way it's supposed to be. You know, we know that people's health will be disrupted by status quo systems being replaced by other systems. We know that the allocation of resources means that some places where there was a surplus of resources, aren't going to have a surplus of resources anymore. That's a dislocation that's harmful to some people. Um, but if we believe that, uh, it bends towards justice and we believe that we have a chance to find potential from people. Then we need to find more potential for more people because that's where solutions come from. You know, we're talking about, about vaccines. Um, polio is virtually gone and it's gone because a couple of scientists working in a group of hundreds of scientists showed up and contributed something.

Seth Godin (16:33):

But a hundred years earlier, those scientists because of their background, wouldn't even have been allowed to go to school. And so the question is, who are we not giving a microphone to? Who are we not giving leverage to? And how do we Indoctrinated so many people so that the brainwashing doesn't stick around, because if you've been brainwashed into believing you can't contribute or believing that you're a victim, it's hard to contribute. And so I think the peer to peer part is how do we make it? So every neighbor, every teacher, every authority figure, looks at a human and says, this person has something to contribute.

Allison Hare (17:13):

I think it's such a powerful place to be. And it's, it's amazing too, that, um, you don't really need to go to college. You can become a YouTube star and make way more money than you and I do, you know, uh, it's it, I think it is like a level playing field. And one of the things that is interesting about you is that you've written on quitting. You've written on building tribes, you've written on, uh, marketing, uh, you've written on so many different topics and now it is, uh, on creativity. How do you choose the topics? And do you tap into what world needs now? Kind of thing. Why, why is that? Why creativity now?

Seth Godin (17:55):

Um, okay. I just want to put one pin in something. Uh, it's not a level playing field, even if everyone has a smartphone, because if you've been brainwashed into thinking you can't speak up, that's just as powerful as not having a microphone. So with that part said, uh, my books are always about the same thing. They are, uh, I call this thing marketing, but it wasn't called marketing. In the old days, they kicked me out of the direct marketing association. They banned me that the people who think they want marketing to be that other thing don't understand what I do marketing is the act of making culture better by bringing your work to the world in a way that you are proud of. And so I wrote the dip because I was dealing with some people who were stuck and I told four people in a row, the same advice, and it made a difference.

Seth Godin (18:47):

I was like, well, I could probably share that. And it's too long to be a blog post. And I'm willing to commit a year to my life, to making a book called the dip. So here you go. So what I found in the last few years, because everyone has a microphone because it does appear to be a level playing field. Why are some people shipping, creative work and some people aren't, why are some people able to look at podcasting and say, give me a mic. And other people say, I'll just listen to Joe Rogan. Like why, why, where did that happen? It happened because the brainwashing runs really deep. It was set up to touch all of our fear buttons to get us to stand back and let the experts do it. Even Nobel prize winner, Bob Dylan, he's constantly talking about the muse and ghosts and he doesn't write the songs.

Seth Godin (19:35):

They write themselves. This is nonsense. This is nonsense. This is a man who's made 50 albums and has performed in public that more times than I have blogged, which is a lot of times, right. And he shows up and he does the work. That's what he does, but that doesn't make good copy. Right. And so what I wanted to do was demystify it. And I wanted to say, you know what, if you study Woody Guthrie, as much as Bob Dylan studied Woody Guthrie, and then you show up in, uh, Greenwich village and you show up and you show up and you show up, yeah, you'll make something pretty good sooner or later, or you won't, but at least you'll be on the journey. And that's why it's called the practice. Because my argument is the practice is what is missing from people, not lightning, not the muse, not, um, any magical power, just the practice.

Allison Hare (20:24):

So I want to, I want to riff on that for a second of just if it doesn't ship, it doesn't count. So I love what you're saying about that, because I feel like there are so many times where I've written an email in my head and I'm like, it's not going to send itself. You know, like I have to push, go and send. And, but that applies to so many areas of my life, of just pushing myself outside of my comfort zone of if, if I'm going to ask for a Seth Godin to be on my podcast, he's not going to reach out to me unless I ask him, you know? So tell me more about that. Tell me more about that construct for you.

Seth Godin (21:06):

So we have to deconstruct it very carefully because I am not saying if you ship things, they will work. And I am not saying that selfish hustle is a good idea. It's not what I'm saying is if you have a hobby, if you have a thing you like to decorate, if you like to do jigsaw puzzles, if you are, uh, amused by playing jazz in your living room, please do. It's fantastic. I love that, but it doesn't count. It doesn't count as your practice because your practice exists to make things better for someone else. That's what transforms it from a hobby to a practice to make it better for someone else. And so what I'm saying to people is don't ship junk, but also don't seduce yourself into believing it has to be perfect because your definition of perfect is almost certainly not my definition.

Seth Godin (21:59):

And you are probably focusing on something simply to hide. And, you know, we, I went to see the hem of, um, Hilma AF Klint, uh, exhibit at the Guggenheim before the pandemic. And this woman was eight and extraordinary visionary. She made 10,000 paintings that would have changed the world of contemporary art. And she was so afraid of showing them to people that no one saw them until 20 years after her death and my controversial response, because this was a person who had a privilege and who like her family knew the King of Sweden. And so it's not like she was fearing for her life. Uh, my controversial point of view is that she was a painter. She didn't become an artist until after she died, because to be an artist, you have to show someone your work and you have to look at what happens when you show someone your work to see if anyone else got the joke.

Seth Godin (23:02):

If the work resonated, if you were truly advancing the ball, and I'm glad she made the painting she made, but I'm truly sad that she couldn't find it in herself to share with a circle of people. Because if she had, it would have opened the doors for them and a whole generation of artists, painters, particularly women would have shown up in the field because she was a pioneer, but looking at it 40 years later now it was more 70 years later, I look back and I'm like, wow, this reminds me of something else that was going on at the same time. But they, they w they were parallel worlds. And so what I'm saying to people is if you want to record all your podcasts and them at home, that's great, but you can't call yourself a podcast or two, you press publish.

Allison Hare (23:51):

So one thing I heard in a podcast, so I love Cathy Heller. And you did a podcast with her, and she's just fantastic. She, to me is like the female version of what you do too. Um, but, um, she said, I think she paraphrased something that you said about, um, fear and fear is, um, fear is almost like a muse. And so when you talk about perfectionism, you talk about fear. I immediately think about, okay, I want to write something, but I'm not sure I want to publish. I'm not sure I want to ship it until it's good enough. You know? And, and I think there is like a self-esteem thing in there. So I wanted to kind of unpack of what that is like, because I feel like people are so held back. And I don't know if, is it culture? Is it their own self-esteem is a cultural conditioning. How do you get them out of that mindset into one where they are just chugging away, whatever it is, makes them light up and do bad stuff, you know, do stuff that isn't very pretty until you make it good.

Seth Godin (25:02):

So I think that there's a hack that's available now that makes this so much easier. The, the branding problem is this, uh, we, as humans are obsessed with judging the future by past performance. And so we are rightfully afraid that if our early work rubs people the wrong way, or is insufficient, we will be judged going forward. And, um, I can prove that's not true. Listen to Billy Joel's demo tapes, listen to, uh, lots of artists and creators whose early stuff was totally forgettable. But leaving that part aside, just do it anonymously, post your work anonymously, because what you're going to discover is you still feel the same feeling. The feeling has nothing to do with preserving reputation. And once you can get clear about that, and you see how your anonymous work is seen by the world, then go ahead and put your name on it.

Seth Godin (25:58):

Right. But this was impossible or unlikely a long time ago. Um, and I don't want to encourage people to ship junk with their name on it, and then say, yeah, but it's going to get better and hope that everyone will forget the first versions. You don't want a surgeon doing that to you. Right? Um, but at the same time, there's two noises in our head. There's the noise of legitimate fear that says, this is endangering me and other people, but there's the other noise. And that's the noise of this might work. This might not work. This will cause a change to happen. How will I deal with that? When that noise shows up, it's a compass and what it's telling you, Pressfield calls it resistance. What it's telling you is you're out, you're onto something you're on your way forward learning to distinguish between the two voices is really important.

Allison Hare (26:57):

Yeah. And you know, one thing that I've been thinking about recently, I call it a happiness insurance that people are looking to take a step only if they can ensure that it's going to make them happy in some way. And then you had put in, in, I don't know if it was you, but in some of the notes and prior to this meeting is avoid uncertainty. And so I thought that's happiness insurance, you know, like that's the opposite of it. So tell me more about that.

Seth Godin (27:23):

So avoid uncertainty as a trap, avoid uncertainty, uh, is a, uh, watch word that says, if I am in avoiding uncertainty, I need to acknowledge the fact that I'm seeking to not be creative because the definition of creativity is something that might not work. How do we know it might not work because it hasn't been done before. So we need engineers and we need engineering. We don't want someone to build a bridge that might not work right. That what you notice, if you look at beautiful bridges is the parts that are beautiful, are not the parts that hold up the cars, the parts that are beautiful are the bonuses and that's engineering good for them. But if you are doing something that is creative and you are feeling resistance in you're feeling stuck, and you are finding yourself, avoiding uncertainty, well, then you just found a trap.

Allison Hare (28:18):

So one thing that I, um, one thing I did a long time ago, I went to a seminar on brain science. And this could kind of dovetail off of that too. And the concept was that our brain, most of the time is just repeating old patterns. And it's never really present because of it's in fight or flight mode. It's taking over if it's just repeating patterns. Um, it, it, uh, it's just repeating patterns. So why is some people find themselves in the same situation, the same relationship, the same, you know, uh, abusive relationship that they might've been, or the same bad job, you know, with a bad boss, um, in a, in a different job or whatever. And she says something that stopped me dead in my tracks. And I'd love to get your thoughts on it. She said, you know, the only time that you are ever truly present is even with your brain is when you're creating. And that to me, I was 29 years old. And I remember it changed everything for me, just that. And I wonder if you believe that.

Seth Godin (29:23):

Yeah, I'm not. Uh, I think that, you know, um, we have lots of insight, Marvin Minsky and others about what the mind is and what the brain is and all those other things. And I'm no expert on that, but I will tell you that I am completely addicted to the feeling of fresh that comes from being present in solving an interesting problem and creativity. I don't believe creativity is letting the muse out. I think creativity is defining the interesting problem and going at solving it and human beings know how to do that. And, um, we pretend that's not what we're doing because it's more romantic to do the other thing. And it lets us off the hook, but tomorrow there's gonna be a blog post from me. And that's an interesting problem. And so for free, I was able to find myself a daily addiction that, um, gives me satisfaction. And some people get a benefit from that. Uh, something I would do, even if no one read my book, because it's an interesting problem. And one way to look at a life well spent is how many interesting problems were you able to work on?

Allison Hare (30:37):

I loved your definition of solving interesting problems, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, but it was something you can't look up on Wikipedia.

Seth Godin (30:46):

Yeah. I think it's just amazing. What, what are we doing with our eighth graders? If there is any assignment where they're not allowed to use the computer, but if they did, they could look up the answer on Wikipedia. What have we taught them in that moment? We've taught them a short-term memory hack of how to memorize something for 12 hours. It's not a useful hack, right? That life is now open book. It didn't use to be libraries were really scarce and going to library took a really long time. But now if I want to look up the name of the fourth governor of Alabama, why should I remember that? No reason what we should spend the entire time doing is saying, it's an interesting problem to figure out how to tell me in four paragraphs, your point of view about something in the history of Alabama. And one element of that will be, you know, how to go look up the name of the governor. But the interesting problem is you can't look up how to write the four paragraphs. That's interesting.

Allison Hare (31:47):

It's so amazing. And just to touch on the education things. So you wrote your manifesto, stop stealing dreams on education, and it's something that you write about often. It's something I feel incredibly empowered, uh, passionate about. And I'm wondering, how do you, like you laid out a blueprint to solve the education problem and how, how do we move that forward? There's so many inequities, racially socioeconomically, and even just a broken system, especially in the U S um, that, how do we even begin to solve that problem? And this question is coming from a, uh, a school administrator too, um, that feels really passionate about it too, but how do we, how do, how do people like me as a parent or school administrators? How do we begin to turn that to chip?

Seth Godin (32:33):

Yeah. Well, so I'm not giving myself as much credit as you are. Thank you. Um, I didn't lay out exactly how to solve the problem, but I did lay out what the problem is. And the problem is parents, teachers and administrators do not show up every day saying, what is school for? Right. Like we know what drilling for oil is for, we know what a container ship is for what is school for whereabouts to spend another trillion dollars on this? Why, what are we getting? What are we measuring? Why are we doing that? And all I'm staying is I have an answer about what I think school is for. What do you think school is for? Because if we're not asking the question, it's really unlikely that school is going to change because right now what school is for is satisfying. The status quo, that is, it has a optimized bureaucracy for persistence.

Seth Godin (33:30):

And what's really interesting, you know, during the pandemic pre vaccine, people couldn't go to class. So what happened? Well, people quote, went to school from home, but they didn't data shows that the typical kid went to school for 20 minutes or 30 minutes a day. I've been working on optimizing for online learning for more than five years, not one educational institution called me up and said, how are we going to do this? And most of the ones that have substance said, we'll come up with something that's passable. And the minute this is over, we're going back to normal because they are optimized for that. And there's no real reason at all to believe that education in 2021, when almost everybody has a smartphone should be like, education was in 1921 when all of that was impossible, but it still is. And so we have this huge technical and technological advance and people aren't asking the simple question. So to answer your question, I need you and your friends and your colleagues to just keep asking the question until someone decides to answer it,

Allison Hare (34:41):

What is school for? And I wonder if some of the, like, I think the, the, there are more schools I live in Atlanta. There are more schools popping up around here that are project-based, which I think are really, really great step in the right direction. Um, but they're, you know, they're hard to find and they're expensive. And, uh, I wish, I wish there was a way to standardize that, or even operationalize it in a way that makes it more accessible. And I, you know, I wish I knew how to do that.

Seth Godin (35:10):

Yeah. Check out the act in Academy. I am not affiliated, but I know the people behind it, a C T O N, and their numbers are, and their output is hard to believe, but extraordinary. And in the typical school, they've got 40 or 50 kids and only two adults counting the custodial staff. What yeah. And amazing that if you're in first grade, there's going to be a fifth grader helping you. And every single day you get to the building and they say, what's your project. And you go do your project and you help other people with their project. And the outcomes are off the charts. And it's not based on, uh, the ethnicity or income level of people who are coming it's because kids really want to learn. Kids do not want to be educated and they're totally different things.

Allison Hare (35:57):

Right. And it seems, it seems like such a fresh and modern and obvious approach, but so hard to kind of disrupt the status quo with that. And you know, one thing I'm curious about is, um, you know, we, we are hardwired to fit in. We are hardwired to, you know, to be in the social constructs. And, you know, I think about my son, my son is seven I'm in his room. I'm surrounded by Legos right now. And, uh, he, um,

Seth Godin (36:25):

He, he

Allison Hare (36:27):

Desperately feels like he needs to feel like he belongs, but he's a different child. He's not, he doesn't like sports. He's kind of more thoughtful. Um, he's more reserved. And, uh, he, he is, he is who he is, but he's a little bit of a mess until he finds where he belongs. And right now he rejects what he doesn't really feel serves him, you know, which is good, but I'm wondering, you know, like how, how can I help molded him? And even, you know, from a podcast perspective or even, you know, thought leadership of how, how do we, we are hardwired to fit in. At what point do you veer off the path of convention and say, I think there's something better,

Seth Godin (37:11):

Right? So there is no doubt that almost every human is hardwired to fit in. That's not the question. The question is fit in with who and in an industrialized culture, uh, what you wanted to do in 1955 is fit in with the football team, the cheerleaders and the rich kids. There is a curve. The center of the curve is the place you have to be because that's how you're going to get picked for the dodgeball team. It's how you're not going to get beaten up and is how you're going to get a job at the local factory, doing what you're told for 45 years until you get to retire. And so there was significant pressure from a paternalist industrial system to fit in to the dominant narrative. But now there's a nerd table and now there's the creator's table. And now there's, you know, the lunch room has lots of places where you can fit in.

Seth Godin (38:04):

And it turns out economically that the kids who are optimizing to fit in, in the center are really struggling because there just aren't those jobs for them and those careers for them, where your primary, uh, attraction is that you fit in at the popular kids table. That what, and I wrote about this, and we were all weird that when the long tail kicks in and when people have choices, you know what they do, they make choices. And as a parent finding cause a seven year old has trouble doing this on their own, finding your kid, a circle makes all the difference in the world because now they've undone. The shame that society has put on them, which is they're never going to be at the dodgeball table. Fine. This table is where I want to be anyway. And parents who can affirm and support kids who don't fit the dominant narrative are doing really important work.

Seth Godin (39:04):

And it's really hard to do, like if you have a kid who's eight or nine who's wedding, their bed, it's really hard for the parent. And if the parent exposes how hard it is for them now, it's when it becomes hard for the kid. Right? And it turns out when the kid's 11, there's no problem, unless they've been carrying around for years of shame. And so what we've got to figure out how to do is say, if you're not hurting anybody, and if you are pushing yourself to be the version of yourself, you want to be, I've got your back and to have someone have your back is so important.

Allison Hare (39:39):

Were you raised in a home where these were, this was taught or how, how did this come for you? And if you did, how do your parents figure that out?

Seth Godin (39:49):

I won the birthday lottery. I miss my parents every day.

Allison Hare (39:54):

Oh, that's amazing. And I bet, you know, like you're obviously a living legacy for your parents and who you touch through your work as well. But, uh, but it's really hard work. You know, it's hard work to be a parent. Um, I imagine your kids are probably annoyed. Um, when they ask you a question and you answer only in parables, I wonder, I've always wanted to ask you, are they always annoyed?

Seth Godin (40:19):

Uh, I made a deal with my kids when they were five. I wouldn't talk about them and they can talk about me if they want to fair enough. I'm super proud of the humans that they have become.

Allison Hare (40:28):

Oh, that's amazing. Well, I really appreciate you taking some time with me. I have one last question for you. What is something you know, that you wish other people could know?

Seth Godin (40:44):

Um, we got to decide what okay is. And if you want to, you can say that everything's going to be okay and you can be right.

Allison Hare (40:54):

I love that. And there's such a beauty in the independence and the self-trust. And I think, um, I think that your message from all the work that I've consumed by, you has everything to do with self-trust and something that we're missing. Would you agree?

Seth Godin (41:14):

Well, the title of my book was going to be called trust yourself, and we changed it a week before we went to press. Um, yes. I think that when we see in a society of people who have free choice and who are privileged to make choices, those people not doing the thing, that's brave it's because they don't trust themselves to do it.

Allison Hare (41:39):

There's so much out there too. So I'm hoping, I'm hoping that your book and your work continues to do that. And, uh, I'm hoping to continue working with you through the workshops and spreading the word. So thank you so much. This has been an absolute joy.

Seth Godin (41:54):

Well, thank you. You're, you're a pro and you're generous and the people who are listening lucky to have him in your ear. Thank you

Allison Hare (42:01):

So much. I'm going to go and cry

Seth Godin (42:06):

And you're the best.

Allison Hare (42:09):

Well, I can't listen back to this conversation without getting choked up for a lot of reasons, not only at the opportunity to share his thought provoking and stirring ideas with my audience, but to talk to a man whose work I've not only followed, but put into practice in my own life. He's a legend. In fact, this podcast started because I participated in one of his akimbo workshops. Now, what ideas are you taking away from this episode? What stood out to you? Please take a screenshot of this episode and post on the socials and tag me and Seth Godin. I'm giving away a free copy of says the practice, his new book for a lucky winner. I've linked to everything in the show notes. And now I want to get this message out to as many people as I can. The interview is also up on YouTube. If you prefer a video, I hope you'll follow me on the socials and go to Alison hair.com for more as always. Thanks for listening. And I'll see you next week.