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  • Writer's pictureRich Haglund

"Go make a ruckus."

"You have everything you need to make magic," Seth Godin writes in The Practice. "You always have. Go make a ruckus."

We each have the potential to make a difference in the world, to change things for the better. At home, at work, at play, on our block. But sometimes we get stuck: waiting for permission, waiting for the muse, or waiting for reassurance.

In his book and, in a dense 90 minute interview with Shane Parrish at the Knowledge Project, Godin reminds each of us that we just need to get to work. "The muse shows up when we do the work. Not the other way around. Set up your tools, turn off the internet, and go back to work." And don't wait for reassurance. That's antithetical to creativity. "Creativity is a skill, not a talent. It can be learned. If we trust our selves, we can do more than we ever imagined" (emphasis added).

Not only are we "in charge of the questions [we] ask [and] the insight that [we] produce," but "any idea withheld is an idea taken away. It’s selfish to hold back when there’s a chance you have something to offer."

If you, like me, think of your work as your way of making a difference, maybe you, like me, have been discouraged that you seen more of the change you envisioned come to pass. Maybe we need to "recast [our] profession as a chance to actually solve someone’s problem," instead of everyone's problem. Here is the reassurance, according to Godin. "Your work is never going to be good enough (for everyone). But it’s already good enough (for someone)."

So, what will you do today, for someone? What will you do tomorrow, for someone? Godin's challenge to each of us is to simply "ship" the work consistently. That's wholly within our control.

The commitment, then, is to sign up for days, weeks, or years of serial incompetence and occasional frustration. To seek out desirable difficulty on our way to a place where our flow is actually productive in service of the change we seek to make.

Don't focus on the outcome. Be mindful of it, but don't try to control it. Instead, focus on your work, consistently, over time. Do the work "more than once, . . . often enough that it becomes your practice."

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