Books: Linchpin by Seth Godin

It's a shame such an amazing book has such a lousy title. From the title and description, Linchpin sounds more like How to be a Better Worker Bee.

It's anything but. This book will change how you see the world.

If you're like me, you've been told your whole life to keep your head down, blend in, and whatever you do, don't stand out. Godin kicks all of that to the curb.

He explains how the world has changed in the past 10 years. Average jobs for average people are gone. The factory system we built our society around is dying. Now, if you want to be successful, you have to stand out. You have to be an artist.

Artist in this sense means that you do what you're passionate about, lean into your work, and be yourself, whatever it is that you do.

Fear is the Mind Killer

But our brains want to hold us back. More specifically, the amygdala, the less refined portion of our brains that controls anger, fear, hunger, and sex. The chief job of the amygdala, like the brain stem, is to keep you alive. While the brain stem controls base level stuff like breathing and heart-rate, the amygdala sees things and wonders:

1. Is it a threat?
2. Can I screw it?
3. Should I eat it?

Being an ancient structure that predates humanity by a few million years, the amygdala is naturally conservative. "We need a return to old-fashioned paleolithic values! When I was a kid, mosquitoes were the size of a palm tree, and we liked it that way!"

The lizard brain hates change. Change is scary. Change is risky. Risk is danger and that's a no-no to the amygdala. Godin calls this the resistance.

The resistance is what tells you that your project is going to fail. It's what tells you that you shouldn't ask someone on a date because you'll get shot down. It's what makes you so angry when something goes wrong. The resistance is what keeps you in an bad situation because it's afraid to let you make a change.

Slaying Dragons

Fortunately, the resistance is a coward. Godin's solution is to call it out when it creeps up. Once recognized, it will usually creep back into the shadows.

Better news yet, the resistance is loudest when you're on the right track. Once it's in check, you're free to do your thing.

Recommendation

If you feel like an outcast, or deal with fear or anger, Linchpin is required reading. You might just see that you're worth more than you realize.

You can buy a used copy at Amazon for around $8, and at 256 pages, it's tiny investment in something that could change your outlook on life.

If you decide buy Linchpin, please consider buying it through one of the links in this post. I get a little back to keep the lights on, and it costs you nothing extra.