This article was originally published on reverb, Drake Cooper’s reflections on advertising, creativity, and trends. Read more.

Becoming a Linchpin

Cover of "Linchpin: Are You Indispensable...Cover of Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

I sent the following note out to the agency (and Seth Godin) yesterday. If it sparks some inspiration in you, then rock on.

Love,

Jamie

PS – and yes, he did respond back with a nice note.

Hi Drake Cooper’ians,

Welcome to the new world of work.

You are a Genius.

I dislike most (all?) self-help books. Most business books are uninspiring drivel that has been said again and again. I don’t need to read this stuff, right? So, I picked up Seth Godin’s new book Linchpin with skepticism, but with an understanding that he always takes a different slice at things and is an articulate voice calling for change to the way we think about work and how we spend our time “doing work”. I liked the book a lot.

Regardless of what job you do in what company you should passionately read this for an understanding of how the workplace and the rules of work have changed. And they are not changing back. How do each of us take this opportunity to become indispensible and probably a lot happier along the way? This isn’t about the organization or about the company, it is about YOU.

There are several copies of Linchpin circulating around the office. Associate yourself with one if you want some inspiration. I have one back here on my coffee table. I am finished. It’s yours.

The following statements are directly from the book, although somewhat out of order here. Sorry Seth, but I constructed a quick synopsis based on what resonated to me in the first couple of pages of the book.

If a genius is someone with exceptional abilities and the insights to find the not so obvious solution to a problem, you don’t need to win a Nobel Prize to be one. A genius looks at something that others are stuck on and gets the world unstuck.

So the question is: Have you ever done that:

Have you ever found a shortcut that others couldn’t find?

Solved a problem that confounded your family?

Seen a way to make something work that wasn’t working before?

Made a personal connection with someone who was out of reach to everyone else?

Even once?

No one is a genius all the time. Einstein had trouble finding his house when he walked home from work every day. But all of us are geniuses sometimes.

The tragedy is that society (your school, your boss, your government, your family) keeps drumming the genius part out. The problem is that our culture has engaged in a Faustian bargain, in which we trade our genius and artistry for apparent stability.

We are surrounded by bureaucrats, note takers, literalists, manual readers, TGIF laborers, map followers and fearful employees.

This book is different. It’s about a choice and it’s about your life. This choice doesn’t require you to quit your job, though it challenges you to rethink how you do your job.

The system we grew up with is a mess. It’s falling apart at the seams and a lot of people I care about are in pain because things we thought would work don’t.

Its time to stop complying with the system and draw your own map.

For hundreds of years, the population has been seduced, scammed and brainwashed into fitting in, following instructions and exchanging a day’s work for a day’s pay. That era has come to and end and just in time.



You have brilliance in you, your contribution is valuable, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must. I’m hoping you’ll stand up and choose to make a difference.

My goal is to persuade you that there is an opportunity available to you, a chance to significantly change your life for the better. Not by doing something that’s easy or that you’ve been trained to do, but by understanding how the rules of our world have fundamentally changed and by taking advantage of this moment to become someone the world believes is indispensable.

Thanks Seth. Great book. I helped myself after all.

-jamie

PS – More on self-help below.

—— Forwarded Message

From: Seth Godin <blogmailfromseth@yahoo.com>

Reply-To: Seth Godin <blogmailfromseth@yahoo.com>

Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2010 06:19:48 -0400

To: Jamie Cooper <jcooper@drakecooper.com>

Subject: Seth’s Blog : Self-help

From Seth’s Blog this week:

If you read a book that tries to change you for the better and it fails or doesn’t resonate, then it’s a self-help book.

If you read a book that actually succeeds in changing you for the better, then the label changes from self-help book to great book.

We don’t like books that fail, because they waste our time, they offend us, they speak a different language or they make us feel out of sorts. Self-help books are a bane.

On the other hand, a book that resonates with us, whether it’s Catcher in the Rye, The War of Art or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance earns a place of trust and we revere it and tell others.

A store clerk who tries to sell you something and fails is a high-pressure salesperson.

If she succeeds in selling you something, she’s helpful.

The difference between the two categories isn’t one of intent. They’re all ultimately trying for the same thing. The difference is in success. So, go ahead and denigrate self-help books and salespeople and the rest. Just be clear with yourself that what you’re unhappy with are the ones that fail.

By the way, the only real help is self-help. Anything else is just designed to get you to the point where you can help yourself.



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