In the moment, when you have power, no matter how momentarily, how will you choose to act? Jerk comes from the idea of pulling hard on the reins, suddenly and without care. Horses don't like it and neither, it turns...

Long-term strategy: Don't be a jerk

In the moment, when you have power, no matter how momentarily, how will you choose to act?

Jerk comes from the idea of pulling hard on the reins, suddenly and without care. Horses don't like it and neither, it turns out, do people.

More than just about anything else, what you do when you have the chance is what people say about you and remember about you. The community pays careful attention to the restraint (or lack of it) that you show when the opportunity arises.

Whether you're a parent or a multinational, in the long run, the wheel is going to turn. It might be a minute, a day or a week, but your power is unlikely to last.

When we assume that everyone is a volunteer and that all power is transient, it's easier to become the person we're proud to be.

This is the essence of marketing--acting in the way you'd like to be seen and understood. Especially when you have the power to make choices.

       

You can look it up

Of course, for millions of years, people couldn't look it up. They couldn't read and they hadn't invented writing yet, so there was nothing to look up.

All you knew was what you knew, along with what you could ask someone about.

"Uncle Rock told me that the bark from this tree will help a headache."

With writing came notes, records and books. And with a great deal of training and effort, there were things that you could look up. This is an unsung moment in human history, because it allowed knowledge to begin to compile, and enabled all sorts of longer-term transactions (including debt instruments).

In the mechanical age of a hundred years ago, we got better and better at doing this at scale. Now there were millions of books, and card catalogs. But looking up most things was time consuming and often came up empty (as recently as twenty years ago, the only way to find something in a book was via an index, which certainly gave hints, but it lived only in the book itself).

The current era of on-demand, widespread looking things up offers a whole new level of insight for those that care enough to take advantage of it. Unfortunately, most people don't. 

Most organizations, most leaders, most scientists, most doctors... hesitate to look it up. We're not sure exactly what to look up, not sure of what we don't know, not sure of what might be out there. It still takes talent and time to find the right thing in the right place at the right time.

The next frontier is already starting to happen. The system looks it up before we even realize it needs looking up. The system tells us that this resume comes with an anti-social online record attached to it. The system knows that these test results combined with that medical history is worth a deeper look. The system knows that this house was recently sold for a fraction of what's being asked...

All of us are smarter than any of us, and when you throw in the us that came before, the opportunities multiply.

But first, we need to care enough to want to know.

       

Rights (and responsibilities)

Human rights might be our species' greatest invention.

More than phones or trains or Milky Way bars, our incremental progress toward dignity, opportunity and equality is a miracle.

Rights aren't a decision we make when we're in the mood or it's easy. They're the bedrock of our culture, our economy and our way of life.

Of course, they're inconvenient sometimes. That's precisely why we have to work so hard to defend them.

Deep down, I think each of us understands how much a culture based on dignity is worth. But sometimes, we need to remind each other to stay vigilant, and to keep what our mothers and grandfathers worked so hard for.

       

Everyone is better than you are...

(at something). Which makes it imperative that you connect and ask for help.

At the same time that we encounter this humbling idea, we also need to acknowledge that you are better at something than anyone you meet.

Everyone you meet needs something you can do better than they can.

       

How to be heard

Do your homework.

Show up with contributions and connections long before you bring your opinion.

Save the snark for later.

Pay your dues.

Speak up about shared truths, shared principles and shared goals.

Don't blame the ref only when the call is against you.

Reflect back what you believe the other person is trying to say before you disagree with it.

If you want to persuade on the merits, avoid joining the threatening mob.

Convert six people before you try to convert sixty.

Tell true stories.

       

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