You’re probably wondering what the heck my lizard brain is and why it would be posting to my blog. I don’t blame you. When I first heard the term I was just as confused as you might have been when you read the title of this post.
I first heard the term in Seth Godin’s latest book “Linchpin.”

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, then you already know I’m a big Seth Godin fan. When I saw Seth offering to send advanced copies of Linchpin as a gift to those who made a donation to the Acumen Fund, I took up the opportunity.

Waiting…waiting some more….and a bit more after that my advanced copy  never showed up. The book was released on January  26th and I still don’t have my advanced copy.

Seth sent out an email apologizing to us Canadian folk still waiting. It didn’t come as a surprise to me to still be waiting. I’ve been dealing with my share of Canada Post issues over the past few weeks so I could understand this.

Friday comes around and FedEx comes knocking on my office door. Inside an envelope is a copy of Linchpin with a note. The note is from Seth. He’s thanking me for my generous donation to the Acumen Fund and because of that generosity he’s sent me a second copy of Linchpin. Seth suggests I can continue the spread of generosity by giving this second copy to someone else as a gift.

Brilliant marketing and truly generous. FedEx all your early adopters a second free copy of your book that they can share and give away! Ideas spread and so does generosity.

That would be great and I plan to do so if the first copy ever shows up, but for now, this copy is mine.

What did I think?

Being a Godin fanboy I knew I’d enjoy the book. I didn’t know I’d enjoy it as much as I did and here’s why.

This is Seth Godin’s best book. This book has more going on inside than any of his other books.  When I read Linchpin I could hear Seth’s honesty and passion for what he was saying. I feel that Seth has gone to the next level with this book.  I’ve read nearly all of Godin’s books and this one trumps the rest.

Unless you’ve read all his other books, you won’t really get that.
That’s OK. This book is still for you.

Godin starts the book by calling my a genius. Many will be taken back by such a direct and forward compliment. Me? A Genius??? You MUST be thinking of someone else? (this is your lizard brain)

I went with it anyways. I figured if Seth Godin was willing to call me a genius I’d accept the compliment.

I’m going to spend most of this week looking at the book in more detail because my lizard brain thinks it’s a great way to spend the week.

So what’s the lizard brain?

The Lizard Brain is an actual part of your brain. You can read more about it on Wikipedia.

The problem for us, is the lizard brain is what causes us to not ship. Seth uses this terminology all throughout the book.
You may be thinking “great, I don’t have anything to ship,” or “excellent, I’m not in the shipping business.”

But shipping is a metaphor for finishing your ideas and spreading them. It’s not about the actual physical exercise of shipping something (although it might be in your case.) It’s the term used for taking an idea and shipping.

We’re ALL in the shipping business.

This means you don’t just create. You take what you’ve created and you spread it. Employees can ship. They ship by doing amazing work that creates change.

According to Seth our lizard brains are hungry, scared, angry, and horny. The only thing our lizard brains want are to eat and be safe.

The lizard brain effects all those in business because it wants us to be safe.

  • Safe means not shipping.
  • Safe means not taking chances.
  • Safe means not getting outside your comfort zone.
  • Safe means not being laughed at because the business you just tried to start has failed.
  • Safe means writing this blog post when I should be creating.
  • Safe means checking into Facebook and tweeting your day away.
  • Safe means answering emails all day long because it makes you feel busy.
  • Safe means not creating.
  • Safe means creating but not shipping.
  • Safe means you’re the employee who follows the manual and job description word for word.
  • Safe means driving in the middle lane because it’s not too slow and  not too fast.

The lizard brain is very real.

That’s the scary thing. I hate knowing that I’ve got a lizard living inside my brain. The scariest thing about it for me is I think my lizard is more like a vicious velociraptor.

Seth goes on to explain how the lizard brain works. We’re all able to pull from the lizard brain but we’re usually snapped back to reality by the resistance. This is the lizard brain at work.

But even with all the talk of the lizard brain, Godin’s really only got one true goal in Linchpin.

He wants you and I to become indispensable.

I’m going to talk about this more throughout the week. Most people in our society aren’t indispensable. We’re cogs in the machine and unfortunately, we’re disposable cogs.

I used to believe that having an office job made me different than a factory worker or a blue collar worker, but it doesn’t. It’s the same thing and both of these types of  employees are disposable cogs (as we’re more frequently finding out.)

The high paid executive or office worker is nothing more than a nicely dressed factory worker. Seth’s goal is getting you to see this NOW because soon it will too late.

Being a linchpin isn’t about quitting your job to work 4 hours a week. If written for anyone, it’s especially important for employees and people looking to remain “safely employed” because Seth would argue that safe doesn’t exist anymore. The only safe position in our ever-changing economy is to become indispensable.