Social media is either a time-wasting, woolgathering, yak-shaving waste of effort, or perhaps, just maybe, it’s a crack in the wall between you and the rest of the world. It’s a choice that’s up to you.
If you’re keeping score of how many followers you have, how many comments you get or how big your online footprint is, then you’re measuring the wrong thing, and you’re probably distracting yourself from what matters.
2. Be generous.
The new economy often involves trading in things that don’t cost money. There’s no incremental cost in writing an essay, composing a song or making an introduction. Since it doesn’t cost money to play, we have the ability to give before we get.
The generosity economy rewards people who create and participate in circles of gifts. Not the direct I-gave-you-this- you-give-me-that, give-and-get of a traditional economy, but instead the tribal economy of individuals supporting one another.
Tribes of talented individuals who are connected, mutually trustful and supported by one another are in a position to create a movement, to deliver items of value, to move ideas forward faster than any individual ever could.
3. Make art.
Art is an original gift, a connection that changes the recipient, a human ability to make a difference. Art isn’t a painting or even a poem; it’s something that any of us can do. If you interact with others, you have the platform to create something new, something that changes everything. I call that art.
Art is the opposite of trigonometry. Art never follows instructions or a manual or a boss’s orders. Instead, art is the very human act of creating the uncreated, of connecting with another person at a human level. What we’ve seen is that more and more markets will reward art, while putting out compliant work to the lowest bidder.
4. Acknowledge the lizard.
That cringe you just felt when I wrote “laugh” is the sign of the lizard. The lizard brain, that prehistoric brain stem that all of us must contend with, doesn’t like being laughed at. It’s the part of our brain that worries about safety and dishes out anger. Being laughed at is the lizard brain’s worst nightmare. And so it shuts down our art.
Author Steven Pressfield calls this shutdown “the Resistance.” The Resistance is the little voice in your head that keeps your head down and encourages you to follow instructions. The Resistance lives in fear and doesn’t hesitate to shut us down at the first sign of possible derision or the first hint that we might be ostracized. The Resistance is the voice complicit in brainwashing, because The Resistance is easy to arouse. When your teacher threatens you with (insert social punishment here) if you don’t do your work in school, you do the work. The Resistance wins.
Scarcity creates value. People pay extra for things that are hard to get, while things that have a surplus go cheaply. That’s basic economics.
So, what’s scarce?
The ability to ship.
If you can get something out the door while your competitors cringe in fear, you win. If you’re the team member who makes things happen, you become indispensable. If you and your organization are the ones (the only ones) that can get things done, close the sale, ship the product and make a difference, you’re the linchpins, the ones society can’t live without.
And a key part of shipping is the ability to fail. The reinvention the marketplace is demanding is one that includes the ability to fail, often and with grace.
The old economy was based on factories and institutions, things that took a long time to build. No one at Buick or the Metropolitan Opera was interested in failure. It took too long to create these institutions for them to relish the idea of growth through failure.
And yes, here’s the seventh pillar, the key to the other six.
School used to exist so you could learn a trade. You apprenticed then you worked the rest of your life in the same job, in the same town, in the same factory, doing the same work.