“I feel myself a cog in somethin’ turning…”
Thanks to Joni Mitchell and CSN&Y for the title (Woodstock)
I just finished Seth Godin’s book Linchpin …let me restate that…I read it through the FIRST time…but definitely not the last!
As has often been the case in the past year, I was introduced to Godin through David duChemin’s blog post “Beyond Craft”. (Sept 5)
Linchpin expounds greatly on the theme of my last post. (Actually, if I didn’t know better, I would swear that I had read the book first!)
Godin’s premise is based on, not so much our failing/failed economy in America and the world, but more so on our failed view of the part that we each play (have been trained to play) and then more positively, the part we CAN, even MUST play in our personal economic and spiritual growth.
Since the advent of Henry Ford’s perfected (?) mass production model, it has been the norm to fall (or be shoved) into place by our schooling, our training, our mass-media inflicted view of “The American Dream”…you know, do the job, get the grade, clock in, don’t rock the boat…and you’ll be taken care of…save your creativity for home, ‘after hours’…when you’re too tired and disheartened from ‘toeing the line’ to enjoy it and cultivate it. (or worse yet, watch the TV, drink the beer, anything to deaden the dream.)
As we all have noticed, this ‘employment’…out-put…security model is lacking and in many cases, falling totally apart. (Know anybody who has been ‘downsized’ in the past couple of years?)
Linchpin latches on to the fact, often hidden from ourselves, that we each have more to offer than we have been led to believe. Godin calls it ‘art’, though he is not talking about the ability to use a paintbrush or chisel and a hunk of marble. No, he’s talking about us all!
“Art isn’t only a painting; it’s anything that changes someone for the better, any nonanonymous interaction that leads to a human (not simply a commercial) conclusion.”
He’s talking about calling SouthWest Airlines and actually enjoying the call, not because of the subject matter, but the personality, the art, that SouthWest allows….encourages their employees to impart. He’s talking about the teacher who stays after class to enjoy helping solve a specific problem for a student, the preacher who goes fishing with someone who feels uncomfortable in the church pew, the assembly line worker who finds ways to cut production time because it’s a personal challenge.
I’m afraid schools and unions have worked very hard to homogenize the student and then the subsequent worker. “Do only what is necessary….no more, and if it’s less, well, we’ll grade on the curve (tenure).
Seth Godin throws out (as in throwing it away) the idea that we have each lost our genius…our art. It’s there, but we are individually responsible for bringing it out…for sharing. But, he also stresses the fact that a portion of our ego, (as I edited I realized that I had written …”a POISON of our ego…” maybe that’s more accurate!) will fight against us in many ways…we’ve been taught that we need change…just not in ourselves,… not personal but collective. This concept is also well represented in Stephen Pressfield’s The War of Art. Pressfield says, (paraphrased) if you are thinking about leaving Mother Theresa’s mission work to go start a hedge-fund, resistance will not bother you…free pass….It’s when you do the opposite that your ego says, “WHOA!”
This is not the place for me to totally review either of these books, but these books have given me a place to review myself. Highly recommended reading!!!
The intro photo reminds me that I would rather be a rusted cog than a well-oiled piece of the machine, easily replaceable…interchangeable…disposable