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Go Poke that Box! Go Launch that Dream! And Do it NOW!
on March 1, 2011
Not too long ago, I read and reviewed Seth Godin's "Tribes." While it was very thought-provoking and filled with an incredible array of ideas, it was also wrong- headed in many ways, I felt.
So I ordered "Poke the Box" with some trepidation. What I've learned is to re-calibrate my expectations from Seth Godin. While I might want a well-thought-out and researched treatise proving the latest idea to me, Seth Godin overwhelms me with his passion and force. Rather than resisting and arguing with Seth (I do this especially as I read what he writes!) I decided this time to listen carefully and take away from the book what I could. Besides, for one dollar as a Kindle book, how could I go wrong! This, by the way, is part of Seth's exciting new strategy for getting books out to people through non-traditional means. "Poke the Box" is the first book being marketed by Seth using the Domino Project and its strategies. It is, in fact, the first is a series of manifestoes.
If "Poke the Box" communicates nothing else, it presents this one message with a megaphone voice: "Go!" "Start now." "The worst thing you can do is nothing." Already, I find myself arguing, since I know that just doing things without careful planning first has led to many disasters. But I keep reading because Seth is so insistent, and he has such a large tribe following him, telling me that maybe he's worth listening to.
But I think I know what Seth means: he means that you've got to be out there trying and risking failure, or you'll be irrelevant. There are too many people out there and too many tribes so that if you do nothing or are too cautious, thinking that you can control the whole process, the chances are you'll end up marginalizing yourself. The important thing is to be out there, thinking, inventing, trying, and experiencing, for that is how we learn and create.
Poking the box, therefore, means being willing to poke, to get things started, and to stir things up. And that's something that I personally need to hear, for my tendency is to caution and fearfulness. "Poking the Box" is the culmination of many other books I've read that have also convinced me to begin now and take the initiative. One of the most important times I did that was when I dared to write a daily Bible devotional for every passage of the New Testament. I had a lot of reasons why I couldn't or shouldn't do this or why I'd never complete it. But God told me to start one day, and so I did. Two years later I finished "Give Us This Day."
Poking the Box is about recapturing all of the moments in your life when you started something new and were jazzed about it and the world seemed wonderful and mysterious again. Poking the Box is about recapturing that feeling by taking real action in something you've already been thinking about but haven't had the guts or inspiration to carry out. Read "Poking the Box" for yourself, and see if it doesn't re-energize you to find old dreams or execute new ones!
When should you poke the box? When the cost of poking the box is less than the cost of doing nothing. It also means working hard and committing to finishing.
"The market is waiting for people to step forward," Seth says. And so are the tribes that we lead and that each of us are a part of. If you're a religious leader as I am, then so are the people of God, who all too often have become fearful and weak.
By the way, like Seth, I'm also a big fan of Amazon. I think they've been brilliant in the way they've gone about their business. I agree with Seth when he says that they have become world leaders in marketing, building an audience (tribe) and in reaching people. In fact, he's using Amazon to promote his Domino Project: "I want to change the people who read (not enough do) and I want to change the way books are published (they're too hard to find and spread). I honestly believe that a book can change a mind like nothing else, and that's our focus." These are things that I, too, believe in, for I have a tribe of my own and ideas I would like to share with the world.
Thank you, Seth, for giving me a little more courage to "Poke the Box" in my chosen field! Who knows what you, yes YOU, may come up with if you too "Poke the Box"!
I'll close with some quotes from "Poke the Box." Like me, you may not completely buy into them, but they are certain to "poke" you:
"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth. Not going all the way and not starting." (Siddhartha Gautama)
"Please stop waiting for a map. We reward those who draw maps, not those who follow them."
"Poking doesn't mean right. It means action."
"This might not work" isn't merely something to be tolerated; it's something you should seek out.
"Risk is avoided because we've been trained to avoid failure."
"Reject the tyranny of picked. Pick yourself."
"Where did curiosity go? Initiative is a little like creativity in that both require curiosity. The difference is that the creative person is satisfied once he sees how it's done. The initiator won't rest until he does it."
"The people arguing on behalf of accepting the status quo are the ones who, years ago, set out to change it. As disillusionment sets in, people stop poking."