The Seth Godin quote that challenged my thinking
This week I came across a quote from Seth Godin. It resonated with me as it challenged my #1 excuse for not making more content: not having any “original idea” to share.

See, everything I’ve done is an amalgamation of experiences, courses, books and interviews with those who are ahead of me. So without any original idea of my own, I shouldn’t have anything of value to say – right?

That’s what I believed in, until Seth Godin came along and smashed my excuse:

I have no original ideas, only original combinations. – Seth Godin

It means a lot when one of the world’s most authentic marketers can come out and say that. So now I realize that people like what I have to say even if it’s not an original idea. And they can actually find value in knowing what I think about another non-original piece.

This is further backed up by Mark Twain’s quote, which I had stored away in my 2nd brain:

There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. Then we give them a turn, and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely. But they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages. – Mark Twain

I was masking my fear with the myth of the “original idea”

It made me realize that I’ve been making up this excuse to mask my fear of being judged. I was setting this huge unachievable goal of creating masterpieces of original ideas that only masters of marketing would understand. As I wrote each piece, I’d subconsciously go: “Would Peep Laja (CEO of CXL) think that this is good enough?”

After re-reading Seth’s quote, I realized that writing that sort of advanced content isn’t serving the people I wish to help. That’s because most marketers and business owners aren’t at the master level yet. They’re still working it out and not thinking about attribution models, LTV’s and cohort analysis.

(If you don’t understand any of these, take a course from Reforge and thank me later).

I learned that people want to hear about how I connect the dots together, not about an original idea. Doing so helps my reader to think about a problem from another perspective, which could lead to a breakthrough for them.

How readers can benefit from my original combinations of existing ideas

My ultimate aim was to create great memory recall and have my own thoughts stored in a filing system.

I started with Zettlekasten but it didn’t work the way I thought it would. So I merged it with the GTD methodology and it got better. Now I have a daily journal (inbox) that’s a dumping ground for all my thoughts and ideas. I would review that journal every week to form “for and against” arguments on topics that currently interest me.

Melding GTD and Zettlekasten got me closer to what I wanted. But there was another part missing: the recall on important topics and facts for any of my focus areas in business and in life. Thus, I added spaced repetition to core concepts and ideas, on top of using a mind palace and memory techniques such as lists.

After all these, the way my 2nd brain works now is like having multiple hard drives. So I can easily pull out the drive I need to quickly access the most important information at any given time.

Now because I have done this, it seems so rudimentary and basic to me.

In my mind, my thought process goes:

  1. Just take inboxing from GTD
  2. Add the filing system of Zettlekasten
  3. Add spaced repetition for long term notes
  4. Create a list memory that references different mind palaces to recall information as needed

Easy, right?

But to someone coming across this for the first time, it’s mind-boggling. Even though it isn’t an original idea of mine, but a combination of multiple existing methodologies.

So this example really hit home the value of original combinations versus trying to come up with an “original idea”.

Are your limiting beliefs holding you back from something you want to achieve?

It’s amazing when we take an introspective look at ourselves. Our limiting beliefs and excuses stem from our body’s natural tendency to avoid being uncomfortable.

My limiting belief was that I don’t have any original idea to share in my content. But once I was able to overcome that, I’ve become far more efficient and effective in churning out content that can help my readers.

So today I want you to take an introspective look at what makes you feel uncomfortable about doing something you want.

Is it because of a REAL fear that exists, or just something you have created in your own mind? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. If you want to see examples of excellent content, visit the CXL website. It’s one of my favorite resources for all things marketing.

P.P.S. And if you want amazing content like that of Shopify, Quickbooks and CXL, check out Tommy Walker. Have a chat with him about his consulting services, and tell him Josh B sent you.