Excellent thoughts today from Seth Godin. In an era where all the highlights from everything are so easily available, it can be very, very easy to forget this:
The top of a mountain is rarely the best part.
You can watch “the good parts” of a baseball game in about six minutes. The web has become a giant highlights reel… the best parts of SNL, the best parts of a speech, the best parts of a book.
We can skim really fast now. This is a problem for marketers, because it means that if they don’t make the good parts easily findable and accessible (and bold and loud and memorable) then the whole product becomes invisible.
As consumers of information, though, I wonder if the best parts are really the best parts. Yes, you can read a summary of a book instead of a book, or watch the trailer instead of the movie, or read the executive summary of the consultant’s report instead of the whole thing… but the parts you miss are there for a reason.
Real change is rarely caused by the good parts. Real change and impact and joy come from the foundation and the transitions and the little messages that sneak in when you least expect them. The highlights of the baseball game are highlights largely because the rest of the game got you ready for them.
Don’t skip that page, it’s there for a reason.
One more thought: In his management book First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, Marcus Buckingham talks about how there are several stages to building an excellent work environment. Here’s what’s interesting: you can’t just skip to the final stage. If you do, you will fail. The stages leading up to that are the necessary preparation.
Mountain climbers know this well. As Buckingham states: “To reach the summit you have to pay your dues — if you just helicopter to camp 3 and rise to the summit, experienced guides know you will never make it. Mountain sickness will sap your energy and slow your progress to a crawl.”
The same is true with information and most things in life: If all we ever seek out and engage with are the highlights, the end result is going to be mountain sickness.