Monday, February 1, 2010

Seth Godin's "Linchpin": an unsettling call to be indispensable

I've never been one to be too swayed by hype. "Even-keeled" might better sum up how I approach things. Or, perhaps, "eternal optimist with a pessimistic-front-end-take". Either way, I haven't read any of Seth Godin's books but do follow the discussions and reviews about them/him. But I've gotta say, after reading recent reviews, including John Bergquist's, I've put "Linchpin" on my reading list.

Not that I think anyone can be technically "indispensable", mind you, but some people make themselves more useful than others. This is where I think Lowell Thompson appears to miss the point (at least partially). Doesn't making oneself useful to others, especially over the long run, help solidify that person's place in the pack? I tend to think so. It's sort of the classic "I want Johnny/Janey on MY team because they can throw a mean curve-ball" effect. Could the team survive without them? Perhaps. Would it be nearly as functional? That's debatable.

But Lowell's post illustrates the dichotomy between the "literal" and "figurative" camps (sensu Biblical translation) and getting too bogged down in the details. While "chance" and "happenstance" certainly appear to play a role in some situations, I'm more inclined to think that "indispensable" people tend to "make lemonade when life presents lemons." Is that useful to others (as Lowell points out)? It no doubt can be. Indispensable? Maybe not in the strictest sense of the term...but certainly in the figurative sense.

Read the full Bergquist entry at HuffingtonPost.