Although slavery does not happen to be a commonplace issue in America anymore; many do not realize that it is still taking place. Within our various airports, city streets, and regular places- people are being traded, held against their will, and used as a sort of currency for the benefit of a few wealthy “business owners.” These “business owners” should rather be called slave holders because the business they run is purely on the basis of human exploitation and forced labor. These slave holders still very much exist within America, and the world. Although Human trafficking is more common in countries other than America- it is still happening.
Recently, I listened to a podcast featuring Seth Godin who talked of his views upon creating and expressing not just for yourself, but for the world. He made several interesting and valued points which I happen to relate with considering he is a published author, and that is one of my eventual goals I hope to achieve in the future. However, the points he made can be for ALL creators; and naturally as people we happen to all be creators. We can all contribute some form of creation and purpose to this earth because we all have the ability to make and create. I would like to share the points and arguments he made in his podcast that I believe should be highly valued among all of us at some point in our life.
S T A R T
Godin did not directly state facts about starting your creation, but he alluded to it frequently. Starting is placed on a basis of getting inspired. It is also on a basis of will we join the bandwagon or follow our own path? Neither of these things happen to be bad or good despite frequent bias upon leading vs. following- but they do end up shaping the outcomes of your creation. Following in the path of the generations could lead you to instant success, but limited ingenuity. People will praise you for how quickly you rose to the top, but you won’t be known for the quality of your creativity. This was a topic brought up in how Godin described the Ford phase where Ford cars were an immediate success, but other car companies and creators soon came about. Although usually successful, these car companies were simply following the “trend”. Now, someone who creates something that may not be popular at the time is usually still successful at some point if their creation is truly genius, but will most likely have to face rejection countless times. But in the end you have to focus upon whether you want immediate success or prolonged breakthrough. Your entire creation is based upon your starting decision of what you want to create, how you want to create it, and what you want to create it for.
C O N N E C T I N G
As explained in the podcast; connecting with people about your creating and just in general is KEY. Godin stresses the importance of connecting through friends, family, and social media. Although not a total advocate for spending time on social media, Godin still shares his work through the internet. He believes that every creation can become a popular one if you put it out there. Godin states that there are at least ten personal people that trust your decisions and creations- so sharing with these people is vital. Their opinion of your creation will most likely cause them to talk to other people which will cause them to talk to more people and so on and so forth. You have to be the one to share your work. You can’t depend upon other people to share your creations for you, no matter how brilliant the creation. Connecting through social media is also a huge aspect in the innovation process. Establishing a profile you can use to better yourself and the world and connecting with this account to people all across the world. Not only have I learned the importance of connection through Godin but through my English class this year. We have made sure that connecting and sharing is a major aspect to our projects and work. I personally have a twitter account, and Instagram to share out my work within my class and outside my class. I will put out my blog posts along with my essays on social media that people are often on and familiar with. I also look at other people’s work to gather ideas to form together my own work. This helps for inspiration and for assistance in needed areas.
B O U N D A R I E S ?
While creating, are there boundaries? Well- only if you are the one to create them. There really is no limit to your ability if you try your best to do your best. Godin referred to modern education almost as a boundary- saying that if kids weren’t so focused upon getting into the right college, maybe they would focus on creating something for the world even at a young age. Age is also something many tend to look at as a boundary. Saying that the younger you are, the less opportunities you seem to have. Godin argues that this is false. He talks of how someone as young as twelve could be a future creator and a future brilliant mind, so why not start now? Why not learn the uses of creation from a young age? Training up a child to not just live in the normal “children can’t do much”, but live in so much more than that is a potential step in creating a generation of excellent leaders and innovators. I have also learned this often within my English class. That just because I am young, doesn’t mean I can’t share my ideas with the world and be recognized for them. The education system is not a boundary for me, and I plan to create outside of it. I am not limited within the classroom and thankfully within my English class I have been able to learn this. I am able to do amazing things in and out of school. I take zero drafting, writing essays, creating blog posts, reading, and analyzation and use them outside of the school. I go beyond the boundaries of the education system and of my expected work. I have all the potential in the world to become someone amazing and intelligent.
G O A B O V E
Going above and beyond yourself is what I believe is the most important thing that Godin brings up. I take part of his views as believing that creating shouldn’t be revolved around the individual but the community. What can you do not for yourself, but for the world? What can you create not for your personal benefit, but for the benefit of the human race? Innovating is so much more than just personal gain- it is about benefitting our future and our generations. Even the smallest of contributions can help to better the future. We should all aim for the stars and settle for no less. Your goals can be achieved and your creations can be used. Your hard work will pay off as long as you know the right things and push yourself harder and harder. Don’t let the hard work go to waste- use it! This is once again another topic I have learned through my English class. Through hard work and determination, I can use what I create not just for myself. For example, the essays and blog posts we write are meant to be the best they can be for the purpose of future change. Or ideas through our writings should be elaborated on in all areas to create exceptional work. Why work so hard and not make it the best it can be? You are already putting in the effort, so continue putting in more effort! I make sure my essays are beyond the normal word count, my analyzation is beyond normal thinking, and my blog posts are beyond the expected material. Sharing and expressing will place my work into the future of the world.
K E E P G O I N G
The last point I would like to mention that I learned from Godin is to not give up. An expression he used that I particularly like is “No doesn’t mean no. It means no NOW”. Timing is absolutely everything. So is improvement. You may believe you have done all you can to your creation, but it is quite possible that you can still do more. There is always room for improvement and for compromise. Take the no and use it to fuel you to do better. Take all the rejection to make you stronger. Use the troubles and difficulties to make you more passionate for your cause. Do not give up on a cause you believe is worth fighting for. Godin received 900 rejection letters before getting one simple yes, and now he is one of the most successful writers. You just have to keep focused and not let go of the dream. Not let go of the creation. This is the final point I have also connected with my English class. We frequently write essays that we end up revising countless times, but this method is so incredibly helpful. I find that I could probably revise my writing forever, but stop at a point in which I believe it is good enough- until I find something else I can revise. I continually edit blog posts to keep up with new language and better expression. I often re read wirtings to better my understanding instead of settling for what I have.So I will keep working upon my creations and purposes- and I will not give up on them no matter how much rejection is thrown in my way.
Personally, I believe my strength lies in my ability to go above and to never give up. I am a stubborn person, but in this I believe I have inherited qualities of good stubbornness. In my stubborn qualities, I am able to make sure my goals come to pass. I will not give up on anything. In my English class I frequently find myself becoming frustrated at my inability to clarify my work. I wish to be specific and solid on what my goals are. I wish to know right away the perfect topic to write my essays on and I wish to know right away the literary meanings behind texts and authors. I want to understand things immediately and solidly. However, I realize this is not the case. So I process. I think through my options carefully and go over different topics for essays. I zero draft in and out of class to see whats on my mind. I read different interpretations on books and listen to my peers views upon authors. I use the critique I recieve from my publishing house group to better my work and myself. I absorb and ponder to discover what I can do and what I can use. This then settles my stubborn mind and I am able to create. Never in this process does it ever occur to me to give up or settle. I always aim to do my best and push even beyond my best. I search deep for topics of interest, connections with other people, and getting my ideas out for the world to see.
However, now that I’ve stated things I believe I’m fairly good at- I also have to admit my downfalls. I love people. I love to connect with people and talk about life and the future and all of that jazz, but I’m not the best at communicating my creations with others. Not that I find my ideas worthless to talk about, but I have a hard time reaching out for critique and help from others. I hate to burden others with helping me create and therefore I don’t do it. I also don’t like discussing what I’ve created with others simply believing it isn’t good enough to be shared yet. I’m afraid my essays aren’t as good as others, or my ideas aren’t as brilliant as I belive them to be. I’m afraid my ideas expressed in my blog posts aren’t correct in most people’s minds or they don’t make sense.But I realize I cannot solely depend upon my own opinion if I want to make something for the world. So I plan on improving this- I am improving this. Connecting with the world not just for social purposes, but for innovation purposes.
One of Godin’s points that was particularly amazing to me was the fact that as a successful author- he was rejected 900 times! Yet he never gave up on his writings or his work. He kept developing and making his work better. His life had issues from all around yet he still pushed for his creation. This serves as such an inspiration for me, being a person who eventually wants to publish a book of my own. This gives me hope in knowing no matter how many times I might be rejected, there is always an opportunity. No matter how many times my publishing house group might go through difficulty, we can always overcome the issues. No matter how many times I have to revise my work, it will eventually be amazing. If Godin was able to become as successful as he is and be denied so many times- who knows whats in store for me?
Something Godin mentioned in the podcast was how he is thoroughly inspired by evolution. To me, this seems a little confusing in the fact that evolution is a scientific process and although it can revolve around people bettering themselves for adaptation- I don’t understand how it connects with the human character? How does the evolutionary process affect the innovation process? Or is it simply a guideline for how the innovation process could work?
A particular area I do not necessarily agree with Godin is when he discusses his opinions of social media. The way he seems to think of social media is simply as a tool. However, I think it is also a source of inspiration. Godin expresses how he only uses social media to put his work out there, but not to look at anything else really. I think social media in excess is a distraction yes, but I believe it is an extremely helpful source of inspiration as well. It serves especially as an inspiration for my own publishing house group blog. We like to add the images and sourced we find interesting to our list of inspiration. We may have a revelation of our own ideas individual, but I think other people can be used as a source for help as well.
Overall I believe Godin was able to inspire me, inform me, and encourage me. I am left pondering over several of his thoughts, but I will discover the answers to those thoughts somewhere along the line. I am now able to connect the work I’ve done with the work I hope to achieve. I will continue towards my purpose, grow, share, and most importantly create as an individual, but use my abilities for the future and the world.
Thank you for reading
Over the past few weeks of analyzing and reviewing The Scarlet Letter the question How does an individual affect a community? came to be one of important focus. The Scarlet Letter in total has much to do with individuals, communities, and how one affects the other. So instead of focusing on a community’s impact; the focus was placed upon an individual’s impact.
In The Scarlet Letter Hester Prynne was able to impact her community in both positive and negative ways. However, the community itself was only able to see her impact as negative. They saw her as useless and damaged goods. A once beautiful woman made into a sinful and shamed creature. They did not care what happened to her because as far as they were concerned; her mistake was enough to condemn her to a life of misery or even death.
“They were stern enough to look upon her death, had that been the sentence, without a murmur at its severity, but had none of the heartlessness of another social state, which would find only a theme for jest in an exhibition like the present.” (chapter two, page 49, The Scarlet Letter)
These assumptions made me start to wonder if society really does treats individuals this way. If a person simply makes one mistake, can the view a community has of them change entirely? The sad truth is, well, yes. A mistake makes a person vulnerable and therefore a community comes in to attack. Also, as many eyes watch more mistakes may be prominent. Like a lion waiting for its prey; a community waits for an opportunity to voice their opinion. Even if the opinion is too harsh or out of hand.
As people, and as humans, we thrive off of opinion. We like to think in our own way and be our own person. Or, if we can’t do that, we thrive off of other peoples opinions; claiming them as our own. We pick and choose what we think to be right and what to be wrong. But what if our perception as a community is completely wrong and the perception of one individual is absolutely right? Can one individual change an entire opinion of a community?
This I believe is also true. We look at individuals such as Martin Luther King Jr. or Abraham Lincoln and how they were able not only to affect their community, but a nation. This gives hope into an individuals ability; that one most certainly can affect a community into changing its views. Whether this means for better or for worse depends upon the opinion and upon the person. But yes, an individual has the power and impact to change the opinion of a community, regardless.
How one might change the opinion of a community also differs. Some might use words; others might use actions; a choice few might use accidents; and many use perspective.
At first, the community saw Hester as one of their own, but as sin was committed, she was then viewed as an outcast. Almost treated as though she was no longer human, but treated sin itself. They glared at her with hatred because it had been precedented that they should all hate her for her sin. Hester unintentionally affected her community in a way where they despised her. Her actions affected the perspective and feelings of an entire community. Her actions were able to cause a community to attack on a daily basis, even though it was an attack on Hester herself.
“From first to last, in short, Hester Prynne had always this dreadful agony in feeling a human eye upon the token; the spot never few callous; it seemed, on the contrary, to grow more sensitive with daily torture.” (chapter five, page 72, The Scarlet Letter)
One person’s sin was able to compromise an entire community’s opinion. Whether or not they loved Hester in the first place did not matter; her sin threw that all away. She was to be loved by no one, because this is what the community believed fit.
However an individual is also able to affect a community based upon their position and power. Arthur Dimmesdale, for example, was able to affect a community through his words, although his actions did not coincide with them.
Dimmesdale is the ultimate example of “say one thing and do another.” He preaches for people to turn away from sin and be encouraged with the spirit of God when he just so happens to be Hester’s lover. Dimmesdale is viewed as being high and mighty, and therefore his community listens to him. His position and power has put him at a place of influence, but if the community would have known of his sinful actions, their perspective would be totally different. If they would have known Dimmesdale as an adulterer, their views of him would disintegrate. Their appreciation would vanish. A new opinion would be placed within the community or who Arthur Dimmesdale is.
“A mockery at which angels blushed and wept, while fiends rejoiced, with jeering laughter! He(Dimmesdale) had been driven hither by the impulse of that Remorse which dogged him everywhere, and whose own sister and closely linked companion was that Cowardice which invariably drew him back, with her tremendous gripe, just when the other impulse had hurried him to the verge of a disclosure. Poor, miserable man!” (chapter twelve, page 122, The Scarlet Letter)
Dimmesdale was influential, but hypocritical. Hester was genuine and beautiful, but a sinful creature. These two individuals were able to affect their community in unimaginable ways. On page 370 of The Language of Composition it says, “Of course, there are several differences between the two situations that could support different moral judgements about them. For one thing, to be able to con-sign a child to death when he is standing right in front of you takes a chilling kind of heartlessness; it is much easier to ignore an appeal for you to help children you will never meet.” So is the community or individual really in it for the opposites sake or for their own?
The decision a community has can almost be seen as unnecessary in logical terms because you would think that individual decisions should be individual issues. However, in all of human history, this has never been the case. Individual problems are never quite individual. They end up involving others in one way or another.Either the community feels as though they must know or the individual feels as though they must share. Maybe the community feels as though they should help the individual- maybe the community feels as though they should destroy the individual. Perhaps the individual feels as though they are the savior of the community- perhaps the individual feels as though they are useless and wants to become known. Maybe one feels as though it is the voice for the other. On page 280 of The Language of Composition it says in a statement made by Martin Luther King Jr, “We recognize the natural impatience of people who feel that their hopes are slow in being realized.” So maybe a community does feel responsible for the matters of in individual for the individuals sake. Or maybe a community feels responsible for the matters of an individual to protect the community from the individuals influence. No matter the reason, there are always and will always be ties between a community and an individual.
So, how does an individual affect a community? I believe through opinion, image, influence, power, accident, perspective, words, actions, and inevitable bondage an individual is able to affect a community.
Photo © Sally Mann 2012
Silver Lining’s Playbook is an 2012 American film based on the novel written by Matthew Quick. The film and novel revolve around the life of Pat Solatano Jr. who upon being released from a mental institution attempts to regain his old life, but now living with the realization of his un-diagnosed bipolar disorder. Pat (portrayed by Bradley Cooper) trys to restore his marriage which was broken by his unfaithful wife and his extremely violent outbursts. Upon his introspective journey he meets Tiffany Maxwell(portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence) a sister of a friend. Tiffany also happens to be as you might say, “a little on the crazy side.” Losing her husband to a car crash she spiraled into a depressed and crazy lifestyle. Pat and Tiffany begin to bond in an unusual way over their seemingly alike craziness. They deny a friendship and try to stay in the past for quite sometime before realizing they love each other and all the ups and downs that come with it. Pat and Tiffany do not have the typical kind of love you see in fairy tales or expect in your future life. Their friendship and eventual relationship was based on the fact that they know the type of people they are, who they used to be, and what they want to become. They know things won’t always be perfect; in fact they expect some times in life to be absolutely insane. They don’t deny certain things in life because they know that these things are just simply something you have to get through. They accept things as they are, yet always find a silver lining in them. They choose to find the good but understand that bad still exists. Pat and Tiffany are as I like to call them, “positive realists.” People who don’t remain ignorant to life, but still see the good in it. A book that my group and I have been reading and analyzing can be related to this topic. The Scarlet Letter tells of a very unusual and drama filled love story. Adultery, deceit, and hypocrisy are very prominent within the novel, but yet it still provides a light on the characters. It almost at times provides sympathy between the main character and the man she cheated on her husband with. It gives a sympathy for their situation and for their forbidden love. An unusual twist to a novel; when books usually have the perfect relationship ending. So there’s the craziness. The friendships and relationships that don’t always function normally or perfectly; but isn’t that all our friendships? Isn’t that all our relationships? A big pile of crazy, but yet we still accept it. We still love it. // Mackenzie