“Here’s the truth that you have to wrestle with: the reason that art (writing, engaging, leading, all of it) is valuable is precisely why I can’t tell you how to do it. If there were a map, there’d be no art, because art is the act of navigating without a map. Don’t you hate that? I love that there’s no map.” —Seth Godin, Linchpin, pg. 188
Where’s the fun in having a map? We have too many people who live their lives in compliance—without questioning, or thinking for themselves. I’ve often said, “May God keep us from being like thinkers.” That phrase holds true in business as well.
We need more people who are willing to risk everything for the sake of making something beautiful. Why do you do what you do? Be honest with yourself. Are rebels really that bad? No. Rebels against bad systems are great leaders, fantastic CEOs—they’re Michelangelos and William Blakes.
You may want a bunch of compliant lemmings working for you—I don’t. I want people who will challenge me. I want people who think all of my ideas are bad, and all of my writing stinks. Because if they don’t, my ideas and writing will never get better. I want people who will convince me that I can be better than I am. And I want people who are convinced that they can be better than they are. I want people who want to change the world. If they don’t want that, I don’t want to work with them.
But wanting something isn’t enough. You have to be willing to hire those kind of people, and then listen when they do what you hired them for: rabble rousing. If we really want free thinking, then we need to help other people be free.
If you want to live by the book, go ahead. I won’t. I refuse to, because I know that God didn’t create us for that. God created us to be something extraordinary. God created us to give, love and think freely.
Anything can be art. Anything can be incredible. Are you willing to be incredible in your job? Are you willing to challenge the norms for the betterment of other people—for your coworkers, for your customer, for the sake of an idea?
Seth Godin is right. And far too many people are afraid to embrace his ideas.
Imagine a world full of people acting out of passion and generosity. Imagine what would happen. Everything would be different.
What do you think Jesus was up to when He overturned tables? What do you think God was up to when He sent a righteous rebel?
(The link to Linchpin is an affiliate link.)