Being weird, Icarus deception and Lizard brain

Seth Godin is an entrepreneur and blogger who comes up with innovative marketing ideas. I like 3 concepts he has popularised- Being weird, Icarus deception and Lizard brain.

Being weird

“My proposed solution is simple: don’t waste a lot of time and money pushing kids into directions they don’t want to go. Instead, find out what weirdness they excel at and encourage them to do that. Then get out of the way.”

–              Seth Godin

Opposite of normal is weird. Our educational institutes and organisations prefer normal students and normal employees. According to Godin- normal is for masses, weird is for being different, innovative.


The education-industrial complex consisting of schools, colleges, professional education, and universities was built by industry to produce compliant workers. This process people in batches, reprocess those that ‘fail’, grade for quality and reward those that fit in, not stand out.

“Every company in the Fortune 500 uses similar HR policies. It feels good to be part of the herd.”

–              Seth Godin

In today’s era you don’t differentiate you will not survive. The era of mass production is over. You should not be normal, but weird to think different, come up with innovative ideas etc.

Icarus deception

“Settling for too little is a far more common failing.”

–              Seth Godin

Icarus was a Greek youth, whose father (the master craftsman Daedalus) made him wings from feathers and wax, and told him not to fly too close to the sun. Icarus ignored the warning, he flew high, and came very close to Sun, resulting in melting of wax and wings getting destroyed and plunged to his doom.

So message given to employees is – Play it safe. Don’t fly too high, Don’t be ambitious, Listen to the experts. This was the perfect propaganda for the industrial economy. Which boss wouldn’t want employees to believe that obedience and conformity are the keys to success?

But we tend to forget that Icarus was also warned not to fly too low, because seawater would ruin the lift in his wings.

Flying too low is even more dangerous than flying too high, because it feels deceptively safe.


Lizard brain

Lizard brain (since it is old brain similar to reptiles, which preceded humans in evolution) refers to part of brain called amygdala- that is responsible for fear and rage and reproductive drive. Its basic purpose is survival, so lizard brain hates change, achievement and risk.

“Lizard brain is resistance… is the voice in the back of our head telling us to back off, be careful, go slow, compromise.”

-Seth Godin

Nothing innovative can come out of Lizard brain. If you come up with any new idea, after initial start Lizard brain will start creating doubts, resist any attempt to go ahead, install fear of failure, forcing you to give up.

In organisation a Lizard brain boss will always – compromise, have meetings, work to fit in, fear the critics and generally work to appease senior management.

lizard brain



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