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Leap First by Seth Godin - 3 Big Ideas

God I love Seth Godin


Welcome to 3 Things You Can Use, where Maddi and I analyze the worlds of lifestyle and entrepreneurship through books, three things at a time. This week's book is Leap First: Creating Work that Matters, by Seth Godin.

This book is 2 hours and 6 minutes and is only available audibly. 

It is described on Amazon as follows,

"Recorded in an intimate gathering of aspiring entrepreneurs, writers, and leaders, Leap First teaches us 49 essential principles, practices, and life lessons that have helped Seth the most in his own work and life. More than an audiobook or keynote speech, each track here presents a carefully chosen catalyst intended to trigger our own passion and insight with each listening.

"It always feels too soon to leap. But you have to. Because that's the moment between you and remarkable. I hope this helps you return to that edge. And then, to leap."

So, what are three things we can use from this book?

3 Things You Can Use

1. Your Money Story

You're walking around in the past.

The way past.

You're trying out your new time machine and because you love the prehistory era of humanity, that's where you go first.

After a bit, you come across a hairy, burly gentleman, rubbing his fingers along a wall and then dipping them in some sort of ink. He's painting. In a cave. Cave painting.

You want to ask him loads of questions but the first one that comes to mind is,

"Who pays you to do this?"

He looks at you and after the auto-interpret is finished, and he understands your question in his language, he throws his head back and laughs like a 200lb hyena.

"I do not do this for payment," he remarks, "I do this for the next generations to see, for decoration, and for fun. No one pays me for this. Do you get paid for this where you come from."

Seth Godin points out that for most of history, people have done art for the sake of doing art. People created with non-financial motives. To send a message, to be passionate and to be themselves.

People created music and banged on drums without a tin sitting in front of them; "open for business."

Seth Godin says that money is a story and we need to change our story about money. Make your art, as a writer, a musician, an inventor, a thinker, a painter, an architect, etc... for free -- not for money. Divorce your work from the ideas of money, worth, or approval -- and just make good art for the sake of it.

2. Here, I Made This

What's going to happen if you make art?

You will be judged.

You will hold out your hands and say, "here, I made this."

This judgement may kill you. Imagine someone saying that your work is terrible. You would die.


But you would only die if you identified with it. Only if you considered the work you put out as being you. Encompassing everything that you are.

Seeing it as you putting you out there and someone rejecting you for you in totality.

But this is not what your art is.

What you make is just your work.

After the rounds of criticism and applause, you objectively scan the feedback, tinker and improve, and move on to the next work.

You may be inclined to give extra attention to the criticism -- but don't. The story that your work is telling doesn't mesh with their story. That's it. If you are really doing something meaningful, that might not work, then your art won't mesh with everybody. But don't give the critics extra attention -- that will just lead to doubt and make it harder for you to sit down and get back to work tomorrow.

3. The Comparison Trap

She has more followers than me.

He is making more money than me.

She's happier than I am.

and so on...

What is the best way to feel unworthy and incompetent? Fall into the comparison trap.

Pick a metric that you will lose at and then pit yourself against someone who is ahead of you in that metric. It works every time.

On the other hand though, who would actually think to compare down? To see that you have started your trek towards something better or that you are winning in some other compared metrics?

Comparison can go one of these two ways.

Make sure that if you are going to play the comparison game, that you are using it to your advantage and in your favor -- not giving yourself another framework that makes it harder to sit down and do your work.

Seth Godin even suggests that the most wise route, the better route, might be to avoid comparison altogether.


Change your story about money by changing your motives for working. Make art for the sake of making art.

Your work is not you. It is your work. Rejection is not total rejection. It is feedback. The story of your art won't always mesh with the stories of some other people.

Want to feel down in the dumps? Define what better is and compare yourself to those better than you. Do the opposite to feel better and don't do it at all if you are smart.

This book is really motivating. Not in the sense of bringing you up to the prospect of making art, but bringing art, as a possibility, down to you. By framing art as work. Work that you do for free. That you iterate and get better at and that you do just for the sake of doing it.

It's so empowering because it keeps you where you are and brings art to you.

I think I've actually heard it before though, free, on a podcast. It was called, Seth Godin's Startup School and was produced by EarWolf so they couldn't have stolen it. So it's totally legal to listen to it for free.

It includes more audience participation after the main segments so you can listen to that too.

On the whole, I highly recommend this book. It's short and not one word is fluff. Perfect for the artist, the aspiring artist, or for anyone who wants to do something different with their life.

Thank you for watching, subscribe so you don't miss next week's video.

And we'll see you next week!

Want to Read it?

Audible Free Trial (get this book for free!)

Leap First (Audible Version)

(disclosure: ^^^ these links give me a commission -- at no extra cost to you! They just give me a little bump if you decide to use them. Thank you!)


Punching Sounds by: Mike Koenig

Reading Photo at end of video by: Marketa

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