Design or Default?

Any regular reader of this blog knows how much I love Seth Godin’s ideas (and generosity thereof). Here is yet another of Seth’s brilliant posts that I am compelled to share and comment on (you can find the original post here):

Can and should

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

The end of the industrial era is opening countless doors. So many doors, in fact, that it’s easy to become paralyzed. Without a clear understanding of what you want, it’s harder than ever to get it.

Most of the time, we treat our careers like a buffet. “Show me what’s available and then I’ll decide…”

With the revolution going on all around us, there’s so much on the buffet you’re likely to just grab something convenient. Better, I think, to decide what matters first, and go do that.

What hit me so hard was the idea of treating our careers, or businesses, or lives, as a buffet. As if we (meekly) look around and see what’s available and ask ourselves (from what seems to be on offer) “What would I like to do?” or “What could I tolerate for 30 years?”

Not only is that way of working (at the factory or government job, whether blue or white collar) dead and gone, it’s no way to live your life. Quite simply such is soul-death, or at least soul-denial (as the Soul cannot be “killed” (only ignored or suppressed)).

So, what we are left with, in today’s reality, is the opportunity — and honestly, the imperative — to look deep within ourselves, embrace who we are and what we want and intelligently transform that into something of value.

There have always been times of change and uncertainty. Our moment now is no different, at its core, than any period of upheaval and transformation in history. It feels unique and un-precedented to us, but it’s really not. We are at a point in time where the old model doesn’t work and a new one is emerging. Can I, or anyone, say what exactly the “new” will look like? Of course not. But enduring principles of value creation and character still endure, and matter.

Two constants are the human condition and The Law of Value.

People want to, at a basic level, feel safe and, at a higher level, feel fulfilled and whole.

And there is no reward without value (and no value with hard work and adaptation).

There is, however, no road map for uncharted territory. Only the willingness to explore, and move into the unknown.

The only certainty I can offer you now is that if you are 1) authentic and brave and 2) intelligent and hard-working about what you want to create in the world and matching that to what’s needed, you will prosper (again) — on many levels.

Now, more than ever, the “New” requires us to be creative and live by design, not meekly muddle through by default. In a time of profound change the consequences of mediocrity are more exacting than ever.

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