Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Why We Love Seth Godin

From Jeff: This is a guest post from Kyle Reed. Kyle is a talented creative who is passionate about ideas and making a difference. This is a post that Kyle came up with, and together we wrote it. Be sure to follow Kyle’s blog and Twitter.
Photo of Seth Godin

Photo credit: Joi Ito (Creative Commons)

Do you ever wonder why everyone loves Seth Godin so much?

If you’re like me, you read Seth’s blog ever yday. And every single day, it inspires you.

As I recently found myself struck by yet another brilliant post, I wondered how he did it again.

How does he write such inspiring thoughts all the time?

I think I might have figured it out:

Seth Godin is from the future.

His clever analogies, inspiring ideas, and fresh perspective on a wide variety of topics are all brought to us from six months ahead of time.

Godin thinks six months in advance. He sees six months into the future. He lives six months ahead of the rest of the world.

This edge allows Seth margin to create valuable content that is ahead of his time.

And we can do the same. Here are three simple disciplines that we all can learn from Seth:

1. Think ahead

The post you read today on Seth’s blog was most likely imagined six months ago. It has been cultivated, crafted and sketched in his mind long ago.

This is, of course, not always the case — like when he blogged about the royal wedding. But the idea is this: Seth moves beyond the urgent, freeing him up to focus on the important.

While he’s committed to “shipping” on a daily basis, he’s not necessarily throwing out the first thought that pops into his mind.

Thinking ahead allows him to be creative and innovative without feeling constrained to meet the demands of today.

2. See ahead

When you and I blog, most of us react to our current situation, cultural context, or what the “leading experts” are saying.

But Seth is different. He writes about topics that we are not thinking about. And he curates them. He seems to do this with multiple ideas at a time, because he never runs out of something meaningful to say. He never says something just to say it. There is always intent.

He is not simply reacting; he is creating.

3. Live ahead

The reason that we read Seth Godin every day is because he has a pulse on what’s next — in business, culture, communication, etc. He thought about it months ago. And he’s living it now.

Seth has a corner on the innovation and creativity market. And he continues to live on the cutting edge, because he is in his own world.

He is not crazy; he just thinks outside the box. He sees trends before they happen. He reaches six months ahead of today and begins living the future now.

And we can do this, too: by thinking ahead, seeing ahead, and living ahead. Just like Seth Godin.

In a world full of copycats and cut-and-paste pretenders, what we may need to do, ironically, is stop reading Godin and start writing for the future.

Why do you love Seth Godin? Share in the comments.

*Photo credit: Joi Ito (Creative Commons)

About Jeff Goins

I help people tell better stories and make a difference in the world. My family and I live outside of Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. To get updates and free stuff, join my newsletter.

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  • http://twitter.com/BradBlackman Brad Blackman

    Interesting. As much as I like Seth Godin, I don’t read him religiously.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      He’s an acquired taste, but ultimately addicting! :)

      I actually read him in spurts. What I love about his blog and writing is that he always seems relevant and accessible. If you miss a day, a week, or a month, you can always just dive right back in.

      • http://twitter.com/BradBlackman Brad Blackman

        That’s pretty much how I read Seth Godin, too. I love how articulate he is.

  • http://twitter.com/RenaissanceEgg Tom Eggebrecht

    Excellent post. I never thought about it this way, but you both hit the nail on the head. Although I think “reacting” is often a good way to blog, looking ahead is well worth contemplating. Thanks for such a thought-provoking post!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Tom. Would love to hear more on your thoughts of how you balance reactive work with proactive work.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      Tom, I am much for of a reactor myself in the blogging world, but I have noticed that the guys that seem to really good some good traction are not reacting to what is happening but reacting to what they are seeing and then blogging about it in new ways.

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        I think you need to push ahead and beyond of the moment so that when you must respond to the moment, you can do it with greater perspective.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea


    He is not simply reacting; he is creating.”

    That’s so good. Obviously Godin is a genius but you really captured some great perspective here, Jeff. I have a tendency to react when I write. I need to be more intentional about creating.

    • http://about.me/jeffgoins Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Tony, but all the credit goes to Kyle, the real genius behind the article. I agree – this is a challenge to most of us. Bloggers (because of their medium) tend to live in the now and not plan very well. I am trying to break that mold.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      A challenge for us all — especially bloggers. We tend to live in the moment, I think. But the credit goes to Kyle. He’s the genius behind the post.

      • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

        Oops, sorry about that. Good stuff Kyle!

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      me too Tony

  • http://www.taintedcanvas.com/ Jonathan Sigmon

    Concise. Consistent. Creative.

    The 3 “C’s” that explain why Seth Godin is winning.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Amen, Jonathan.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      I like that

  • MichaelDPerkins

    I read Godin every day. And I would agree that he is way ahead of the rest of us. For me, I love how he can simplify something so profound.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Agreed. Love how he distills ideas! Great for the digital age.

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      agreed. and I think the reason (besides being a genius) for this is because he is not simply reading what everyone else is saying to then form an opinion but that he is shaping a thought from experience and then talking about it and allowing the conversation to happen.

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        Part of it, I think, is he’s just a genius. He has a knack for seeing things before they happen. I love that about Godin. Not everyone can do that like he can, but we can certainly emulate some of his habits. I, for one, would like to be able to be more proactive and not less reactive. I’d like to be able to have my blog posts ready a week (at least) in advance. But in order to do that, I’ve got to unplug and dig in. So much easier to focus on short-term gratification, but ultimately less fulfilling.

  • http://twitter.com/PeterPaluska Peter Paluska

    I really enjoyed this post, and I agree, Seth is from the future.

    But, there seems to be a small problem with your metaphor here: if Seth is channeling content that he dreamed up six months ago, then isn’t he, by definition, actually living in the past? Don’t you mean that he is writing now what will come true in six months time?

    Just a thought, or maybe I missed something – perfectly open to that possibility!

    Anyway, it was an entertaining and insightful post. Thank you for gracing Jeff’s fine blog space.

    Peter

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I understood the metaphor to be this: He’s traveling to the future, finding out what will happen, then coming back to tell us now. Just like Doc and Marty. :)

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      Yes in some ways you are correct and probably in most ways it could have been explained better. But if you look at it in the way that Godin is writing today what is published 6 months from today then he is thinking in the future. Now the trick for that is that content and ideas change so frequently that it could in some ways be content from the past. But I think that is where the brilliance of Godin comes into play. He is not stuck in the past and is predicting the future because he has earned that trust with his tribe.

      Great push back Peter

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        Good explanation, Kyle. So many of us are dwelling on the past and worrying about the future. Seth doesn’t seem to care about the past and is so excited about the future that it’s bringing it to us now.

  • http://twitter.com/ThatGuyKC K.C. Procter

    Brilliant post. I’m a big fan of Godin and him being 6 months from the future makes perfect sense. I try to have a forward mindset, but I find it challenging when I’m so invested in the now.

    Great call outs and I’ll definitely keep them in mind. Especially as it applies to chasing dreams and blogging.

    Thank you @kylereed:disqus & @jeffgoins:disqus .

    • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

      exactly. it is easy to just sit back and react instead of thinking forward and moving. I struggle with that all the time

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, KC.

  • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

    I thought maybe it was the glasses, but I can see your point.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      hah!

  • Pingback: Tribute To Seth Godin | Linchpin Bloggers

  • http://DavidNevin.net David Nevin

    Excellent Post, thank you for sharing. Definitely will change how I go about my work.

  • http://MidLifeCelebration.com/ jeff noel

    Hi everyone. Just found this thread and enjoyed all your perspectives. 

    Maybe what we love about Seth is what we love about ourselves, minus the long-term shipping he’s accomplished (that we haven’t, yet).

    He started 25 years ago and never quit.

    Get started. Never quit. Never get bored with the basics. Isn’t that the key insight?

    Be well and remain amazed. All the best to you in 2013.

  • Alexi George

    Perception and vision.  That seems to an important factor for his success.