Systems & Tips

Seth Godin: Let Discomfort Guide You

The Lizard BrainI saw a recent interview with Seth Godin, the marketing expert, creativity thought-leader, and author of several bestsellers such as Linchpin.

In the interview, Godin shared a pretty unique way of determining the priority of his tasks. It seems to be the exact opposite of what most people do.

The Lizard Brain

One theme that is woven through many of his books is the resistance – the lizard brain. This is the part of us that would rather conform to the status quo than to risk – the part of us that fears anything difficult and important.

Godin listens to this voice of discomfort – but not to obey it. He is observant of the resistance specifically so that he can do that which makes him the most uncomfortable.

Interview from Productive Magazine
Transcript starts around 0:55

What’s your trick to make sure your lizard brain doesn’t kick in?
Godin: I’m not sure it is a trick. I think that the approach that I have is that the resistance
to lizard brain is a compass. If it tells me that something is uncomfortable,
if it tells me that something is scary then that is exactly what I’m going
to do. I look for it as a clue that I’m on the right track.

So it’s suggesting to you actually what to do next?
Godin: That’s right. You know you have this built–in thing that shows you what the
world is afraid of. And if you do that you’re probably going to do OK.

It’s an interesting idea – and after hearing the interview, I’ve seen it ring true in my own life.

The very thing that feels uncomfortable is probably the thing I should be doing at that moment. The activity that puts me on edge and tempts me to resort to procrastination – that subtle fear is indicating the task is important.

Take a moment today to listen to that inner resistance. Figure out what it’s afraid of. And then do exactly that.

Photo Credit: TCL 1961 (Creative Commons)

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