We are all artists. Or rather, we should be. What we pour into our work determines whether we are simply looking to get paid or are making art. I’ve long thought that the best way to grow is to look for tasks not being done and do them – to pour myself into the enterprise at hand. When you take on this level of responsibility in an organization, not only is it more interesting, but you become a linchpin to its success. This is why Seth Godin’s latest book Linchpin resonated with me and why it is one of the few books I’ve actually bought for others.
While it’s certainly his best book, it is also one of the most encouraging. It is written to encourage us to stop being replacable cogs. Instead we should try to make art – to make our work unique and to add a tremendous amount of value at the same time. Not because we have to but because we want to. Not because we think work is life but because we want to live life fully. Not because we enjoy putting life on hold while we go to work, but because we enjoy life while we’re working. Sometimes this might mean finding a new job where you care enough to make art if you can’t in your current one.
Many companies in the name of efficiency create jobs that turn the workers into machines – limited responsibility, limited reward. Take this input, produce this output. Jobs that can be described in this way make it possible for people elsewhere in the world to do it for less. Break the mold. We need more artists – more unique value creators who can’t simply be replaced.
Are you making art?