We live in a world of huge businesses and corporations that are changing rapidly and growing larger, and it all doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Our modern workforce has changed over the years and we have been trained into believing that the best way to earn a living is based off Seth Godin’s belief of a simple formula laid out in his book “Linchpin”: Do your job, show up, work hard, listen to the boss, stick it out, be part of the system, and you’ll be rewarded. Factory work, assembly lines, and various other job structures force us into following this formula. Having a job and having the desire to make a living is a great thing. There is nothing wrong with working in these places, but we can do better.
According to Godin, “We’ve been culturally brainwashed to believe that accepting the hierarchy and lack of responsibility that come with a factory job is the one way, the only way, and the best way”. The fact is there are rarely any great jobs where someone else tells you exactly what to do. Where is your potential in that? Where is your talent and skills if you’re just following the rulebook?
Godin opens the book with the statement, “You are a genius.” Our immediate reflex is to disagree with this and think we aren’t. Especially us young college students who are still trying to get a grip on life and adulthood. “How can I be a genius?” we think. “I go to work, study for school, and I do some hobbies when I have time.” In this sense, the day-to-day life we live seems to be rather repetitive and sometimes boring.
Godin changed my entire outlook. He said, “A genius looks at something that others are stuck on and gets the world unstuck. So the question is: Have you ever done that? Have you ever found a shortcut that others couldn’t find? Solved a problem that confounded your family? Made a personal connection with someone who was out of reach to everyone else?… No one is genius all the time. But all of us are geniuses sometimes”.
Our society is taking the genius part out of us, without us noticing. The amount of potential we have and the impact we could have on society and the world is much greater than we think. We aren’t all the same. We have unique talents, skills, perspectives, and ideas. We have a lot more to offer our society than our employers tend to make us feel like we do.
You know the feeling you get when you make someone smile, help someone who is struggling, or solve a problem? What about the time you decided to say hi to a perfect stranger who ended up needing you a lot more than you ever could have imagined, and in turn, it changed your life too? This is the feeling of truly living and giving to society.