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Interview: Seth Godin on Achieving Greatness

Seth Godin is a marketing genius, and in this podcast he will teach us to win. If you want to hear quick, actionable advice on getting what you want in the world, this is it. No pressure!

Updated on October 09
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Key Smash Notes In This Episode

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There is this idea that working 10,000 hours on something makes one an expert in that particular area. It is a really seductive idea as it reduces the secrets of success to a simple number.

Although there is no magic to success, and Seth has seen many successful people who've more hours, and many who put in less, they can all agree that purposeful and focused practice does pay off at the end.

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Emotional labor is the mental work on has to do for the job at hand. For example, the difference between people who quit a marathon at mile 20 and the ones that finish is not physical strength, it is being able to put one's feeling of tired aside and to finish.

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Peer pressure. When the going gets tough, many people quit because they do not have the support structure to encourage them to succeed. Surround yourself with a group of people who will push you forward, and you can learn to win.

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Society puts a lot of pressure on people to fit in, not to stand out. Seek out people who care to stand out as much as you do, and those people will keep you going, when you feel like quitting.

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Seth knows that podcasts are hard and breaking out to be a hit is extremely hard, that is why he comes on occasional shows to support the creators and to encourage them to persevere.

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At one point, Seth had been on a verge of bankruptcy for nearly five years and pulled through. But plenty founders don't. How do you get so lucky? You try over and over again, until one day it finally works.

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In 1998, after lots of dips in the business, and a failed attempt at selling the company, Seth finally sold Yoyodyne to Yahoo! for a reported $30m dollars. Life got better, of course, and primarily because he was now able to work on his product, without having to explain himself to anyone.

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It is nearly impossible to change people who are not enrolled in the journey. People who do not want to learn cannot be taught. But, real change can happen when someone leans in.

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If you want to be a good teacher, then by definition it means that some people are not going to understand what you have to teach. Instead of optimizing for quick and easy, you should optimize for giving your students something to learn.

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