Flying closer to the sun

icarus1

On 18th June 2012 Seth Godin launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds for a new book. Three hours later he reached his $40,000 goal. By the time the campaign closed a month later there were 4,242 backers that invested $287,342.

Recently I was lucky enough to see Seth Godin speak at a Penguin Live event in London about his crowdfunded book ‘The Icarus Deception’.

In Greek mythology, Icarus was the son of the master craftsman Daedalus.Banished to prison for sabotaging the work of King Minos, Daedalus devised a plan for him and his son to escape.

He constructed wings from feathers and wax to enable them to fly to safety. Daedalus instructed Icarus to follow his path and most importantly not fly too close to the sun. Icarus ignored these instructions. He flew too close to the sun. The wax melted, the wings fell apart and Icarus fell into the sea and drowned.  The lesson that this myth teaches us is ‘obey the rules and don’t fly too close to the sun’.

The Icarus Deception is about disobeying the rules and flying closer to the sun.

In an interview about his book Seth said “It’s about not settling – for 100 years we lived in an industrial economy, where people who ran the factories, made shoes and cars and life insurance policies, and amusement parks, they wanted us to fit in,” he says. They wanted us to be compliant, they wanted us to do what we were told, and that’s why they invented school. To teach us to sit still, and listen and regurgitate. But that industrial age is dying, right before our eyes.”

The Icarus Deception highlights how the world has changed. How we now live in a connected and networked economy that enables individuals to drive change faster and more effectively than ever before. Seth describes change makers as artists and their work as their ‘art’.

However, we can’t truly make art unless you are willing to fail. So we have to relearn what we are taught in school and take more risks.

In order to truly achieve your potential we must stop waiting for opportunities. We have to make opportunities happen. We have to be prepared to fail. And we have to fly closer to the sun.

The biggest failure is the thing that we didn’t have the guts to do.

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