Has our society groomed us to be dispensable cogs in the machine of our modern economy? Seth Godin thinks so, and in Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? he shows how we got here, and how we can survive and thrive going forward in the rapidly changing digital world we now find ourselves in. He argues that with the onset of the industrial age, with it’s interchangeable and cheap parts, us as human beings also became interchangeable replicas of one another. The result is usually low wages, low satisfaction, and low job security. After all, if we’re simply cogs in a machine, we can be replaced easily.
Our education systems groom us for ‘fitting in’, not rocking the boat, and just doing our job. This is what bosses tell their employees, but in reality, what companies need, and what we need for ourselves, is to become indispensable. Seth calls these people Linchpins. These are the people that are not easily replaced. They drive the organization and themselves to higher levels of success. Without them, the system, machine, or organization breaks down. Think, for example, of your favorite sports team – I’m sure you can quickly identify the Linchpin of the team. Or take Steve Jobs for example, he was not only the Linchpin for Apple, he became the Linchpin for all of Silicon Valley.
So how does one become a Linchpin? Seth argues that we should strive to create our own ‘art’. To live and work with passion. To think outside of the box. To treat our jobs or pursuits of art to be given away as gifts to others. These people then become sought after… they become indispensable Linchpins.
Two takeaways I got from this book; First, become a producer and create your art. Don’t get hung up with the idea that one day you’ll start a blog, write a song, create a website, start a company, pursue your dreams… start producing now… don’t worry so much about the product, it will get better with time, practice, and more production. Second, think, live, and act outside of the box. We each have been given incredible gifts by God, and we should pursue the development and use of these gifts for the glory of God and the good of others (ok, that wasn’t all in Seth’s book – he doesn’t mention God, but I see the common grace of God in his message).