I have mentioned that I rarely read a book twice. That is not entirely true. I may go back to books some years later if they had an impact on me. But this book was the rare exception to that. After finishing it, I read it all over again. It would not be a stretch to say that this book is the reason this blog exists. After reading Tribe by Seth Godin, I was less than impressed. He is considered a marketing Guru, and when I read Tribe I was left a bit wanting, but that was not the case with this book at all.
Godin’s thesis is that the story of Icarus has not been entirely told. While we are all familiar with the story of how Icarus was instructed not to fly too close to the sun, less his wings fall off, and he plummets to his death. Godin suggests that there is a part of the story that has been omitted. Icarus was also told not to fly too low, or he would not get enough lift to stay aloft.
OK, what the heck does that mean? In sort Godin describes how we have been duped into not living up to our potential, being afraid to fly too high, we have instead chosen to live flying too low, and in doing so, we have not seen the risk that that decision can cause. We have become stuck in our comfort zones, and we risk being left behind in an economy that now befits the risk takers. Godin goes on to say while this made sense for a time when our comforts zones were designed for the industrialized economy, it does not fit with the new digital age. And our comfort zones need to shift to match our new reality.
What I think I loved most about the book was his emphasis on creating “art.” Which he defines as anything that you create that is unique, shared and makes connections. He was not talking about painting on a canvas, or chiselling from stone, although if that is your thing more power to you. He was talking about the thing that is deep in you that you make, that you create, that you add to the world that no one else can do. I have always found creativity in problem-solving. I can still remember getting into a state of “flow” when I created a pseudo code to solve a technical problem at my first position working for the government. I came up with (not to be too technical) a recursive algorithm that solved a problem that baffled our programmers were baffled. I remember lifting my head after I fished, and the office was empty, and the sky outside was dark. That was my art! I was beautiful to me, it was beautiful to our programmers, and it made a difference, which made me feel connected to the higher purpose of my work.
I haven’t had that feeling for the past few years, in any sustained state. So this is why I decided to create this blog. I get that sense of flow when I’m creating business plans, solving a business problem or writing about something I’m passionate about. So here is my art!
All of that is to say; if you are feeling in a rut, if you are feeling like you are not living your best self and you are looking for a new paradigm to view your situation and the changing world around you, you may want to consider picking up the Icarus Deception. It has been a kick in my ass to start to create more Art, and it might do the same to you.
Let me know if you have read this book and what you think about it. Or even more importantly, what is your “Art”? What is it that you are creating, and sharing?