Bravery Is for Us, Not for Others

Are you a cog in an industrial system, or are you letting frogs jump out of the bowl?

Summary
Transcript

Seth Godin, marketing guru and best-selling author, discusses why leaders should focus less on the bravery of others, and instead consider the bravery within themselves.

“Our culture wants others to be brave,” says Seth. “We're supposed to fit in, stick it out, do what we are told. We are cogs in an industrial system, or at least we were. But what I want to argue today is that bravery is not for other people anymore. Bravery is for us. We are the ones who are going to have to stand up to play a note that's worth listening to.”

Watch the video to hear Seth’s inspiring talk on why bravery is for us.

So what I want to talk to you about today is that simple question: What is bravery and has it changed? We know what bravery is in the movies.

Audie Murphy, son of a sharecropper, went to fight in World War II, won more medals than anyone in memory. He was so brave in his valiant effort to defend his country that he went on to make a career making movies playing himself, talking about this bravery.

Or Madam C.J. Walker, who lived three miles from my home, she was the first female millionaire in the history of the United States. She also happened to be the first black millionaire.

And we look at exceptional cases like this. People who win Nobel prizes, people who show up on magazine covers, people who perform brave acts, and we say those people are the brave ones because bravery is for other people.

Our culture wants others to be brave. We're supposed to fit in, stick it out, do what we are told. We are cogs in an industrial system, or at least we were.

But what I want to argue today is that bravery is not for other people anymore. Bravery is for us. We are the ones who are going to have to stand up to play a note that's worth listening to.

We are not far from where they hold the Masters. I hope we can all agree that golf is the single worst spectator sport there is. And we can act that out now if you want, and they don't even let you hoot and holler if a good thing happens. So if we could just act out the wimpiest, quietest golf applause you can. Go ahead. Oh, that was terrible. Thank you.

Now, can you double it? Double it again. Double it one more time. Beautiful. Thank you.

That's what we do for a living now. What we do for a living now, each of us, is we weave together little bits of interest. We weave together not the people who don't care, not the people who aren't listening, but individuals who are too alone to hoop and holler, but once put in sync, once aware that around them it's safe and it's okay, yes, then we can lead them to go to the next level.

So we have to think hard about where we are leaving behind and where we are going. Ellen Langer has said that what most of us do all day is carry around a big bowl filled with living frogs, a big bowl of frogs. And what we're trying to do all day is keep all of the frogs in the bowl, keep the frogs from jumping out of the bowl. That our job is to just keep it all in sync and we spend all our energy and all our time trying to get the frogs to stay in the bowl.

That's what it is to be part of the industrial system, to be perfect, to be polished, to keep it going. But now, what we have to recognize is that growth and change and magic come not from keeping the frogs in the bowl but letting some frogs jump out of the bowl. If they want to leave the bowl, let them leave the bowl.
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Seth Godin

Seth Godin is the author of 17 books that have been best-sellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dipand Purple Cow.

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