When I was growing up and playing the piano for at least 30 minutes every day, I had one book of classical music issued by my piano teacher — and that was what I played. Every. Single. Day.
When I was in the 6th grade, my teacher asked if I’d like a book with all the music to The Sound of Music.
Can you say joy?
For a girl largely focused on words, playing something with lyrics was like a dream come true. Of all the songs in that book, my favorite to play and sing started off with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with string. These are a few of my favorite things.
Taking my cue from Julie Andrews in a dress made of drapes, I proceeded (and continue) to live my life based on the philosophy of focusing on favorite things.
These days, if I were singing that song honestly, I’d have to add finding people or writers who challenge me and make me think — especially in new and different ways to the list of my favorite things.
Last summer I discovered a non-fiction writer to add to my ever-growing list. His name is Seth Godin, a best-selling author who Business Week called “the ultimate entrepreneur for the Information Age.” His daily blog posts are inspiring and sometimes transformative. About a month ago, I opened his blog to see that he was having a two-day workshop in New York City. Just like that, I thought, “Why not go? It’s bound to be interesting.” I knew it was a place I was supposed to be.
I went and it was.
He talked about many of the themes of his books, but he also answered a lot of specific questions from workshop participants. So, while I’ll encourage you to go if it’s something that suits you, I’ll also share the major tidbits I walked away with:
– Share as much as you’re able.
– Lots of people say, “Do what you love.” Seth recommends, “Loving what you do.” And there’s a big difference. In my opinion, the ability to love what you do is often the difference in living a happy life.
– Stop waiting for other people to pick you. Pick yourself. The Internet allows the possibility to do that in a way that’s never been available to a society before. Even though we are hardwired to want to be picked, in today’s world, there’s not an advantage to getting picked.
– For something to be great and worth of people loving it, someone’s got to hate it too. Implicit in connecting to an individual’s worldview is that you can’t talk to everyone.
– Resist the temptation to persuade the haters who don’t get it.
– Almost no one wants to admit they’re wrong, but they can allow new information to change their minds.
– Leaders change the stories people tell themselves.
– The industrialist mindset doesn’t work anymore.
– We all need to find more opportunities to say, “This might not work.”
– Ideas aren’t scarce. What’s scarce is getting difficult work done.
– Secrecy is a false promise that makes you feel secure until it doesn’t.
– Deep is way higher yielding than wide.
– Most people feel like a fraud. The alternative to feeling like a fraud is to do nothing. The real question is, “Is your story authentic?”
– The way you take something out of the pricing of commodities is to sell it to people who care. Find people who care more about what you do than they care about their money.
– It’s easier to change you than change the marketplace.
– Be vulnerable.
Another of my favorite things is jolting my system to get geared up and moving. Seth’s workshop was just the thing for that. And, as great as he was, the new people I met and exchanged ideas with were equally inspiring. Surrounded by creative, hard-working people on a mission provided me new motivation and information to get my ducks in a row.
Just what I needed.