Seth Godin: Be weird, be a purple cow


By Samantha Tyler

A few weeks ago, I heard a talk by this really awesome, motivating speaker named Seth Godin. He spoke about bell curves and purple cows, and somehow in the process taught me invaluable lessons that I want to share with you all, especially my fellow graduating seniors. So here it goes.

Godin stood in front of a gigantic audience filled with important people, and he instructed us to do something very simple. He told us to raise our right hands as high as we could. So we did. “Raise it higher,” he said. So we did. “What’s that about?”

We have all been taught to hold back, just a little bit. We do what is expected of us, but we hold back from giving it our all. This reservation comes unconsciously at this point in our lives, but it did not always.

If you were to instruct a room full of children to raise their hands as high as they could, you would undoubtedly find them on their tippy-toes with their hands actually outstretched as high as they reach.

As you graduate and move on to the next chapter in your lives, try to reverse this habit. For most of us, the future is not perfectly clear, and that is scary! But embrace the uncertainty and the choices you will face.

Give 100 percent effort in everything that you do. Take chances and aim high — climb on that chair and reach as high as you can because there is no point in holding yourself back.

In his talk, Godin asserted, “If failure is not an option, then neither is success.” Read that quote one more time and let it sink in.

Godin also taught the audience a little statistics lesson. Most people lie in the middle of the bell curve, with all the other ‘normal’ people in the world. People in that huge hump are not going to change the world, though. People on the edges — the weird ones, the curious people willing to listen and change — will.

In everyday language we have a word for the people who reside on the edges: hipsters. They are the people who do things first and then reject them when they become popular. It is easy to poke fun at those who do not participate in what is considered ‘normal’ (Why did the hipster burn her mouth on her pizza? Because she ate it before it was cool.), but what ‘normal’ person ever does anything noteworthy?

Brilliant, novel ideas come from thinking outside of the box. Biographies are written about people who take chances and stray from the status quo. So follow the beat of your own drum, create your own path and be weird.

When you spot a cow on the side of the road you do not usually go around telling everyone about it for the rest of the day. Cows and other everyday, normal things (like normal people in the middle of the bell curve) are boring! But purple cows are remarkable. Even if only one were to exist in the whole world, news would spread and everyone would know about it instantly.

No matter what field you are entering, success depends on your ability to come up with and then spread remarkable ideas. Apple succeeds because its products are unique and Steve Jobs’ ideas were borderline crazy.

As you try to find a job or get into graduate school, be memorable and different from everyone else applying. Come up with ideas worth sharing. Be creative, exciting and remarkable.

Honestly, I do not really know how to end my last Concordy article ever. I guess I just want to say that we should all remember that as our time at Union comes to an end, other doors are opening. The possibilities and opportunities are endless. Don’t hold back. Be weird. Be remarkable.


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