Friday Finds: Stolen Post

I stumbled on this short, impactful post from Seth Godin the other day and I felt a strong need to share it with you guys today. It says so much in so few words - as is often the case with Seth.*

I hop you enjoy it. 

- Alex

Not a gift

posted on 11/15

Here are attributes many of us value in co-workers, bosses, employees, friends and vendors:
  • Honest
  • Punctual
  • Curious
  • Proactive
  • Flexible
  • Thoughtful
  • Generous
  • Fun
  • Committed
  • Respectful
  • Organized
  • Interested
  • Creative
  • Likable
  • Positive
you get the idea. These are things that turn someone from ordinary into a star. They are even attributes we now assign to our favorite brands, treating them like trusted or respected friends.
Someone who is likable, honest, curious and thoughtful is easy to think of as gifted. This natural charisma and care is worth seeking out in the people we choose to work with.
The thing is, it's a cop out to call these things gifts. You might be born with a head start in one area or another, you might be raised in a culture or with parents that reinforce some of these things, but these are attitudes, and attitudes can be taught, and they can be learned.
The question, then, is do you care enough to take them on? It's not fair to say, "I'm not respectful" or "I'm not creative." It is honest and clear to say, "I choose not to be honest," or "I don't want to do the work to be organized."
We can own these things. What a privilege.

*If you're unfamiliar with Seth Godin, I highly recommend you put him on your reading list - even if you just visit his blog occasionally. He is one of the great minds of our generation and always has something interesting to say.


  1. This is an interesting and thought provoking read. Whether we learn because we choose to or learn from experience, you have to practice what you learn and promote the attribute from within to reinforce it..

  2. Ultimately, these attributes are all well and good until there is conflict. What to one vantage may be "commitment," to another may be "stubborn inflexibility." For some, "fun" or "flexibility" may come at the expense of "punctualness;" but the inverse may be true for others. I noticed "Realistic" is an attribute that didn't make it on the list. And as a realist, I often notice that these qualities can often be in conflict for a given situation or set of situations. So you must choose (or default to your predilection) in the moment: am I going to be curious or considerate (e.g. Should I listen to less-than-flattering gossip about a friend or acquaintance)? Will I be committed and proactive or flexible and caring (e.g. Do stay and finish that Master's program no matter what, or do I set asside my career goals to care for an ailing friend or family member)? It doesn't make for a good soundbite or blog post, but that's the reality I deal with, and I know I'm hardly the only one.