Seth Godin: Your Story About Money

I have been reading Seth Godin’s work for about five years. His book The Icarus Deception was enormously influential in my own decision to write.

I particularly appreciate his ability to see what’s powerfully shaping us, but normally invisible to us, and give it language which, in turn, makes it possible for us to observe and create and take new action. That’s a vital competence for anyone who’s a leader, entrepreneur, coach, writer, or artist to develop.

Here’s an example – a piece he’s just written on our cultural narratives about money.

And there’s a very interesting podcast interview with him on ‘The Art of Noticing, Then Creating‘ over at the On Being website.

You can find all of Seth’s work at

Your story about money.

Is a story. About money.

Money isn’t real. It’s a method of exchange, a unit we exchange for something we actually need or value. It has worth because we agree it has worth, because we agree what it can be exchanged for.

But there’s something far more powerful going on here.

We don’t actually agree, because each person’s valuation of money is based on the stories we tell ourselves about it.

Our bank balance is merely a number, bits represented on a screen, but it’s also a signal and symptom. We tell ourselves a story about how we got that money, what it says about us, what we’re going to do with it and how other people judge us. We tell ourselves a story about how that might grow, and more vividly, how that money might disappear or shrink or be taken away.

And those stories, those very powerful unstated stories, impact the narrative of just about everything else we do.

So yes, there’s money. But before there’s money, there’s a story. It turns out that once you change the story, the money changes too.

Seth Godin, March 2014

Photo Credit: JD Hancock via Compfight cc

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