Karim Soliman

The Practice by Seth Godin

The Practice: Shipping Creative Work

By: Seth Godin

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About The Book

Creative work doesn’t come with a guarantee. But there is a pattern to who succeeds and who doesn’t. And engaging in the consistent practice of its pursuit is the best way forward. The Practice will help you get unstuck and find the courage to make and share creative work.
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Our Takeaways

Shipping, because it doesn’t count if you don’t share it.
Creative, because you’re not a cog in the system. You’re a creator, a problem solver, a generous leader who is making things better by producing a new way forward.
Work, because it’s not a hobby. You might not get paid for it, not today, but you approach it as a professional. The muse is not the point, excuses are avoided, and the work is why you are here.

The practice is not the means to the output, the practice is the output, because the practice is all we can control.
It doesn’t always work, but it always works better than any other approach.
We can’t always do much about how we feel particularly when it’s about something important .
But we can always control our actions, and waiting for a feeling is a luxury we don’t have time for.

Flow is a symptom of the work we’re doing, not the cause of it.

Creativity is not an event , it’s simply what we do , whether or not we’re in the mood

Skill is not the same as talent. Attitudes are skills, Passion is choice

What is Art? not painting, but Art.
It’s the combination of talent, skill, craft, and point of view that brings new light to old problems.

there’s a huge gap between a good decision and a good outcome.
A good decision is based on what we know of the options and the odds .
A good outcome happens or it doesn’t : it is a consequence of the odds , not the hidden answer

People don’t know what you know, don’t believe what you believe, and don’t want what you want.
And that’s okay.

Part of the practice is to embrace the fact that the audience isn’t wrong, you’re just not right (yet).

Great work isn’t popular work; it’s simply work that was worth doing.

And Maybe You’re Trying to Do Two Things at Once

The first thing is making exactly what you want, for you.
And the second thing is making something for those you seek to connect and change.
Pursuing either is fine. Pursuing both is a recipe for unhappiness, because what you’re actually doing is insisting that other people want what you want and see what you see.
Most of us would like that-we might even deserve it after all the work we invest-but that doesn’t mean it’s likely to happen.

What does QUALITY or BETTER mean?
Before you answer this question, you need to define “Who’s it for” first. You will be amaze how this will define you answer.
Because, based on the person, it might be “Technical” and will define it by Specs, or it might mean “Luxury” so elite status will be our definition. Toyota and Rolls Royce are good examples here.

You will probably failed if you cared too much to be right!

Steve Blank points out that when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took over from Bill Gates, he promptly began a multiyear cycle to destroy the company:
Despite Microsoft’s remarkable financial performance, Ballmer failed to understand and execute on the five most important technology trends of the twenty-first century:
in search—losing to Google;
in smartphones—losing to Apple;
in mobile operating systems—losing to Google/Apple;
in media—losing to Apple/Netflix; and in the cloud—losing to Amazon.
How did he miss so consistently?
Simple: He only focused the company on what he thought Microsoft was good at.
He structured the company to defend their core competencies, creating an organization that was merely competent. They optimized for the twentieth century and gave away the twenty-first century to people who were willing to fail.

Even leaders at companies can choose to believe that they are blocked. But of course, there’s no such thing as being blocked. Because being creative is a choice.

Writer’s block is a myth.

Writer’s block is a choice.
Writer’s block is real. And yet it’s all invented. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
Gravity isn’t invented. Everyone experiences it the same way.
Chocolate isn’t invented. That’s either a chocolate bar or it isn’t.
But writer’s block is invented. So is a fear of spiders, a belief in astrology, or the confidence we feel before giving a speech. We know this because it changes.
It changes from person to person and from day to day.
It’s a story. Stories are real. And stories can change.
If your story isn’t working for you, you can find a better one to take its place.

The Only Way

In an industrial world, the high-stakes marketplace requires us to be right. Every time.
Make a mistake on the assembly line and you lose your job.
Make an error at the bank and you’re out.
Say the wrong words in a meeting and get fired.

But the only way to find something new is to be prepared (or even eager) to be wrong on our way to being right. Nintendo was a playing card company.
Starbucks continues to fail at creating a viable food option in their stores.
Adobe has shipped hundreds (!) of software products that failed to catch on.
The same is true for individual creators. There are entire seasons of Seinfeld with writing that doesn’t compare to the great episodes that made it a classic.
Every author you love has published at least one book you won’t like very much.

The practice seeks to make change, but the process demands originality.
The practice is consistent, but only in intention, not in execution.

Should you do/follow The Practice?

Is what you do is working? Helping you achieve your goals?
if yes, you can enjoy the status quo for now.
If it’s getting in your way, then instead of trying to change the outside world to match your expectations of it, it might pay for you to change the narrative instead.
And you’ve already guessed: writer’s block is simply a side effect of our narrative. It’s not an actual physical or organic ailment, simply a story we tell ourselves, one that leads to bad work habits and persistent fear.

How do I (Make This Vs Make this Better)?

No one wants to make lousy work. We seek out good or even great.
But how, exactly, do we judge our work?
It might be a trap to ask someone else (or yourself) if your work is any good.
It’s a trap because you might be tempted to judge “good” by commercial success.
Or feedback from gatekeepers.

Was Harry Potter not good when it was rejected by twelve publishers?
Did it suddenly become good after it became a worldwide phenomenon?
How can the same book be good and not good at the same time?

We’re a community of critics. and the reason is simple: it’s safer. People rarely criticize the critic.
And yes, there’s a huge gap between “good” and “as good as it could be.”
It’s likely we’ll never bridge that gap.

We promise to ship, we don’t promise the result.

How to Trust YOURSEL?

Anyone who has ever learned to walk, talk, or ride a bike has gained these skills without full assurance that the effort would lead to success on any given day.
But only the effort is under our control. The results are not.

By searching for (and then embracing) a practice that contributes to the people we care about, we can find a path forward. That path won’t always work, but we can trust ourselves enough to stick with it, to lean into it, to learn to do it better.

The alternative is corrosive. When we begin to distrust our own commitment to the practice, we’re left with nothing but fear. When we require outcomes as proof of our worth, we become brittle, unable to persist in the face of inevitable failure on our way to making a contribution.

Trusting yourself doesn’t require delusional self-confidence.
Trusting yourself has little to do with the outcome. Instead, we can learn to trust the process.

This is at the heart of our practice. We can develop a point of view, learn to see more clearly, and then ship our work (and ship it again, and again).
We don’t do it to win, we do it to contribute. Because it’s an act of generosity, not selfishness, we can do it for all the best reasons. The practice is its own reward.

Trusting yourself comes from a desire to make a difference, to do something that matters.

No one can possibly do a better job of being you than you can. And the best version of you is the one who has committed to a way forward.

Your work is never going to be good enough (for everyone).
But it’s already good enough (for someone).
Committing to a practice that makes our best better is all we can do.

Seth Godin,. The Practice. Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.