I read Seth Godin's blog every single day. It's quick, it's insightful, and everyday I learn something new. He's direct and straightforward, yet he's always able to present an angle I hadn't thought of before.
Yesterday, he said (of a company that provides a luxury for which its basic equivalent has become obsolete), "…in order to thrive, the creators of these products need to shift their story, their posture and the value they deliver to their audience."
His point was that some products, like the high-end stereo system, are leftovers from a market that once thrived. There was a time when everyone felt they needed a radio in their living room. You're buying one anyway, why not buy the best one?
I provide a service that is very much a luxury. The world doesn't need another blog. In fact, there are thousands of platforms and forms of content out there that are making the blog obsolete. Yet I blog and I love it. But do I need to shift my story?
And did you know that I'm not the only Josh Thompson out there who blogs about minimalism? I died laughing when I found this Josh Thompson. Was humbled too. He's a lot better looking than me and he's got an awesome blog. Do I need to shift my story?
Then there's my career. I'm not allowed to say much about what I do but I'll say that my job could easily be done with artificial intelligence, even right now. Implementing AI at my level would save the company hundreds of millions of dollars. So I'm very much at risk of becoming obsolete (and I'm totally fine with it). Do I need to shift my story?
I value my creativity. I take pictures, I write, I help make websites and logos, I make little movies and put them up on YouTube. But in a world where anyone can make a movie using their smartphone and a free app, is the creator becoming obsolete? Do I need to shift my story?
I think if I had to shift my story, here's what I'd say: I'm no longer a creator, I'm a perspective. I have a set of experiences to draw from that no one else shares. I am uniquely me, and as such I have a voice that matters. You are uniquely you. You too have a voice that matters.
In a time when anyone can create anything, the best thing that I can be is honest. Anyone can make anything, but not everyone can be open, honest, raw, or unfiltered. Though we live in a world where the fake is glorified, no one else but me can truly speak using my voice.
When you introduce yourself what's the first thing that you say? What's in your Twitter bio? When people ask you what you do, do you have a one-word answer? I'm a teacher, I'm a doctor, I'm a lawyer, I'm a painter, I'm an engineer.
Do you need to shift your story? Is there something out there that's making your work obsolete? That resigns you to the status of a "luxury?" Isn't it time we all shift our stories? Isn't it time we all drop the titles and become human again? become a perspective again? and value one another for the unique perspectives we hold?
Seven billion people out there and only you have your perspective. Hundreds of millions of doctors, but if you're among them, only you have your perspective as a doctor. Tens of millions of YouTubers out there, but if you're a YouTuber, only you vlog using your voice.
Instead of "What do you do?" let's resolve to ask one another, "What are you passionate about?" or "What makes you tick?" or "What do you think about first thing in the morning, what keeps you up at night?" These are questions that humanize us. These are questions of perspective.
I'm not a robot, I'm not a title, I'm not just filling a pair of shoes until someone better for the company comes along or until a machine can do my job cheaper. I'm a human man with a unique voice. If we shift our stories to become human again, if we're honest with the world and speak with our unique voices, we'll never be made obsolete.