Every now and then, you experience a moment of sheer joy and pure inspiration inspired by something you read or watch that speaks to you and builds your spirit in a very magical way. This is what happened to me when I read Seth Godin's latest book, Linchpin. In Linchpin, Seth writes, "Every organization needs a linchpin, the one person who can bring it together and make a difference. Some organizations haven't articulated it, but we need artists. Artists are people with a genius for finding a new answer, a new connection, or a new way of getting things done. That would be you."
This book spoke to me. An enormous weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could breathe easier. It was as if I was getting permission to free one of the deepest parts of my being, my art.
For many of us, our art gets suppressed in our pursuit of the American Dream. We suppress this part of ourselves in exchange for security and stability and pursuing what some refer to as the "right" path. Times are changing. With security and stability being thrown out the window, we are becoming more conscious of our calling. Seth describes the old American Dream in the following way: keep your head down, follow instructions, show up on time, work hard, suck it up. His description of the new American dream is as follows: be remarkable, be generous, create art, make judgment calls, connect people and ideas.
How do you define your art? What is art to you? Are you living your art? Seth writes, "Art, at least as I define it, is the intentional act of using your humanity to create change in another person." I love this view of art. He elaborates further when he writes, "Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. An artist is an individual who creates art. The more people you change, the more you change them, the more effective your art is." By following your art, you find your purpose.
Seth explains that there is a genius in each one of us. What stops us from tapping into this at the deepest level? Seth uses the term "resistance." He writes, "Eating ice cream is easy. Making something that matters is hard. The resistance will help you find the thing you most need to do because it is the thing the resistance wants to stop." Clearly, if we learn to move through our resistance, we become face to face with our true possibility. We experience our art.
When I was reading the book, I remembered a video with Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, on TED that inspired me in the same way and explored some of the same philosophies, the ideas of our "genius" and "resistance." Here is the link. In her talk, Elizabeth explores the idea of genius as a separate entity and something that comes through you versus you actually being the genius. She feels that this takes the pressure off the artist and allows them to recognize that other forces come into play when there are freakish moments of success to be had.
As someone who is now following and living her art, I can tell you that it is worth the exploration. When you are doing what you love, it is as if you are awakened from a deep sleep and are now following your true path. Seth writes, "Doing what you love is as important as ever, but if you're going to make a living at it, it helps to find a niche where money flows as a regular consequence of the success of your idea. Loving what you do is almost as important as doing what you love, especially if you need to make a living at it. Go find a job you can commit to, a career or business you can fall in love with."
I encourage you to buy Linchpin and watch Elizabeth's TED video. You will see that if you can learn to push through the resistance and connect with your genius, you will learn to follow your art, and when you do this, anything is possible.