My Thoughts/Your Thoughts Series – Tim Ferris interviews Seth Godin

Observations on how Seth Godin Manages His Life — Rules, Principles, and Obsessions

There is an abundance of fantastic podcasts available today. I am incredibly grateful for this as it makes running and commuting so much more pleasurable and it acts as my own university. I would like to share select podcasts with you in a new “My Thoughts/Your Thoughts” series of blogs. I will identify what stood out to me but, more importantly, I would like to hear your thoughts? Hopefully you will journey with me on this so that we can assist and grow each other.

I would like to start with a re-published podcast from this week’s Tim Ferris podcast. It was first published in February 2016 and he interviews Seth Godin. You can find a link to the podcast here “#376: How Seth Godin Manages His Life — Rules, Principles, and Obsessions (Repost)”.

For those who don’t know Seth Godin, he has written over 18 books and was inducted into the American Marketing Association's Marketing Hall of Fame in 2018.

After listening to the podcast, I wanted to share the six areas that resonated with me. I have added questions I have asked myself around each topic and I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts.

1. Adding value to people

“For me, my mission, and it has been for a long time, is to make a certain kind of change happen. I want to help people see the world differently and if they choose to, make a different choice after they see the world differently.” – Seth Godin

My thoughts: When Seth said this I asked myself what the reasons are that I do what I do, for example, writing blogs? When I write a blog, am I trying to show that I am clever or that I am worth something? Am I using it as a tool to write down what interests me? Or am I writing blogs to improve the lives of the people who read my blogs? Do my blogs help people see the world differently?

Other questions I asked myself are, does it matter if a large part of what I do is self-serving? Isn’t this what everyone does? Will I be more successful in areas of my life if I am trying to add value to the lives of others?

Your thoughts: What percentage of what you do is aimed at adding value to others? Do you spend your life looking after your interests and needs? Is this acceptable? Will your needs be met when you look after the needs of others?

2. Playing different cards

“And if you think hard about one’s life, most people spend most of their time on defense, in reactive mode, in playing with the cards they got instead of moving to a different table with different cards. Instead of seeking to change other people, they are willing to be changed. Part of the arc of what I'm trying to teach is everyone who can hear this has more power than they think they do. The question is, what are you going to do with that power?” – Seth Godin

My thoughts: When I look at my life I sometimes default to feeling like I am a victim of my circumstances. I need to constantly train my mind to see things differently and find inner drive to change my circumstances.

Questions I ask myself include, do I need to, or can I, change the cards I am playing with? How do I do this? Do I need others to help me view the world differently?

Your thoughts:

Do you regularly evaluate your life to see what is working and what isn’t? How are you changing your circumstances?

3. Entrepreneurship

“A few people are entrepreneurs, building a business bigger than themselves, a business that makes them money when they sleep; a business where they don’t actually do the work that the customer is buying, and a business that they can sell one day.” – Seth Godin

“Let’s pick two different kinds of entrepreneurs. One kind of entrepreneur you say, whose need am I satisfying today and can I assemble assets who I satisfy in a defensible way so I don’t have to be the cheapest. …… The other kind, to quote Michael Schrage here, is to say the purpose of my business is to change people.” – Seth Godin

My thoughts: During the podcast Seth spoke about the difference between a freelancer and an entrepreneur. I find myself re-evaluating how I see my place in the economy – employer/employee, freelancer or entrepreneur? If I see myself as an entrepreneur, then should I look for a need to provide or do I aim to provide a service that specifically adds value to people’s lives?

Your thoughts:

How do you view your place in the economy? Are you a hybrid where you work for a corporate while also being an entrepreneur on the side?

4. Gaining attention and trust

“Because those are the two things that are scarce in an economy where things that used to be scarce, not so much anymore. Attention, as you have built your arc around, is scarce because we’re not making any more of it. …… So, first thing we have to do is earn attention. And if we earn attention, over time we gain trust. ….. So, you earn more trust, more permission, which gets you more attention, which gets you more trust, which lets you make the change you want to make in the universe.” – Seth Godin

My thoughts: It seems that the Flywheel Effect comes into play with attention and trust. The more positive attention you can get from a person, the more trust they give you. The powerful effect of trust is that people generate a positive bias towards you. Seth gives an example of the trust that people have in a speaker. If an audience starts with trust in a speaker then they are much more likely to receive what they say positively. If the audience doesn’t know the speaker then the contents of the talk will be evaluated – and if the speaker doesn’t grab attention early will lose it completely.

As everything that involves the Flywheel Effect gaining momentum is hard. Are there things that I can do that will attract people’s attention? Do I identify specific influential individuals and work towards getting their attention?

Your thoughts:

Do you believe that trust is one of the most important aspects of business? Do you agree that getting people’s attention builds trust? Do you have any specific strategies that you can share when it comes to generating attention?

5. Value of money

“Because money is a story. Once you have enough for beans and rice and taking care of your family and a few other things, money is a story. You can tell yourself any story you want about money. And it’s better to tell yourself a story about money that you can happily live with.” …… “So what we have to decide, once we’re okay, once we’re not living on $3 a day, once we have a roof, once we have healthcare, is we have to decide how much more money and what am I going to trade for it?” – Seth Godin

My thoughts: I am unfortunately not in a position where money is immaterial to me. While I try not to focus on money, there is always a nagging about it in the background. I need to convince myself that who I am, and what I provide, has value and I will be financially compensated for it. Of course I need to constantly make sure I am adding value….

Your thoughts:

What role does money play in your values and priorities? Is money a worry for you? What are you prepared to sacrifice to gain more money?

6. Ability to grow

“I think that deep down, I am certain that people are plastic in the positive sense; flexible and able to grow. I think almost everything is made, not born and that makes people uncomfortable because it puts them on the hook, but I truly believe it.” – Seth Godin

My thoughts: This is assuring to me because I do believe that I can learn any required skills I need. The deeper question to me is what skills to learn? What skills are needed, where is the gap that I can fill and what value can I provide to people and companies?

Your thoughts:

Do you have a growth plan and objectives? Are you regularly evaluating your skills and changing your course where necessary?


These are the six areas of the podcast that caught my attention and raised questions to answer. I encourage you to listen to the podcast and then let’s engage on these topics? If I can facilitate this and make it easier for you to do so, this then please let me know.

You can also always email me at or visit my website on

The views expressed within this blog are my own and don’t represent the views of the company I work for.

9 views0 comments