‘V is for Vulnerable, Life Outside the Comfort Zone’, Seth Godin

Photo Credit: Penguin Group USA

This is a very powerful little book.

Seth draws his inspiration for this little gem from Dr Seuss, who taught him to read. We’re told this in the short introduction that concludes with:

“I want you to do what you’ve you’re meant to do, what we’re all meant to do, which is the hard work of creating art. 

The artist wonders, ‘How can I break this?’ and ‘Is it interesting?’

Go break something.” 

This is an “ABC book for Grown-ups”. Two pages for each letter (except LMNO) illustrated in a wacky engaging manner by Hugh MacLeod.

Each letter reflects a principle for treating work as a form of art.

One of my favourites is:

E is Effort isn’t the point, impact is. If you solve the problem in three seconds but have the guts to share it with me, it’s still art. And if you move ten thousand pounds of granite but the result doesn’t connect with me, I’m sorry for your calluses, but you haven’t made art, at least not art for me.”

BAM.

Those of us nearing middle-age, yes, yes, alright, in middle-age, tend to preach the ‘hard work mantra’: ‘no one gets anywhere in life without working hard.’ This riles my almost twenty year old son, who is a musician. He doesn’t want to be like me, slaving away at something for years and years. He wants to make an impact with his music.

Thanks Seth, I think I better understand where my son is coming from now. Slave away at something that makes an impact. Not for personal glory, but as a reflection of your heart, using your gift.

And then there is this:

V is for Vulnerable, which is the only way we can feel when we truly share the art we’ve made. When we share it, when we connect, we have shifted all the power and made ourselves naked in front of the person we’ve given the gift of our art to.”

I so needed to read that. In six weeks, my debut novel releases to the world and I’ve struggled to publically share, because of the fear of being naked.

But now I get it. That’s part of what it means to be an artist.

Funny, my son already gets this as he heads out each day to busk in front of the shopping masses.

This thin manifesto that takes all of about three minutes to read was just what I needed at this stage of my life.

Thank you Seth. And thank you Kickstarter.

Note: I received this as part of the surprise pack of goodies Seth provided those of the 4,242 people who volunteered to support his Kickstarter project to fund his latest book, The Icarus Deception.

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