Seth Godin and a Gospel Life

Seth Godin is understandably one of the most popular and compelling writers and thinkers today. He’s been pretty influential in my circles, and I’ve definitely internalized some of his thoughts. I’ve seen him speak a couple times, and read 2 or 3 of his books.

All in all, it’s good stuff.

However, I’ve had on- and off-again tensions with some of the concepts, especially as they are confronted by, well, the gospel.

(Let me just say that I am “owning” that this is probably just my own baggage; I’m merely throwing these thoughts out there because they’ve been on my mind lately.)

Most recently, I’ve had to come to terms with how the desire to be “extraordinary” and a “linchpin” (some of Seth’s key concepts) intersect in my soul to do some not-very-good things…

You see, for someone who struggles with pride and arrogance, hearing the call to make your world all about doing “something amazing”, or “living your strengths”, etc., etc., can be a little like trying to control a modest outdoor fire in your backyard by pouring kerosene on it.

Even understanding that the point of “being extraordinary” is to serve people, or an organization or mission, feels remote.

For a narcissist (struggling or otherwise), the world ALWAYS revolves around them. They are ALWAYS seeking to be extraordinary, to be noticed, to be the smartest/cutest/strongest/most talented person in the room. It’s a normal (though pathological) state of mind.

For me, I need to balance “linchpin” thinking with the constant realization that I am sick. Recognition and accolades (that often come with being extraordinary) feed my false self, this scared, insecure child that needs to be reminded how special he is.

To counteract linchpin thinking, I need, to stare into the void, to quiet the obsessive and compulsive thoughts of my false self, and to return to the smaller, quieter voice of God that says, “You are enough.”

To learn humility.

To learn to serve.

To learn to focus on others.

To learn that being a linchpin is NOT all there is to life.

(Even though sometimes it’s fun.)

I still love Seth; and I will continue to read his books and wrestle with this stuff, but I just thought I’d put these out there.



4 thoughts on “Seth Godin and a Gospel Life

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I do not think you need to counteract the message of Linchpin but instead offer a gentle warning. God calls us to be great, to be extraordinary! A great saint once said, “The Glory of God is Man Fully Alive”. God called us to stand out, to impact the world with the talents and uniqueness he created us with. But here is the gentle warning…If you focus on the gift and not the giver, then you will think much more highly of yourself than the one who gave you the gift. God smiles when we shine, because we are a reflection of him. Keep on good sir, you are onto something.

  2. Very good thoughts. I’ve had the same struggle with some of Godin’s writing myself but couldn’t quite put words to how I felt about it. You nailed it. Keep holding everything to the Gospel. Thanks for posting.

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