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{MotiBright} Seth Godin – Who Brainwashed You Into Thinking You Need a Job?

When exactly were you brainwashed into believing that the best way to earn a living is to have a job? ~ Seth Godin
When exactly were you brainwashed into believing that the best way to earn a living is to have a job? ~ Seth Godin

10 years ago, the thought that I could make a living running a business doing something I loved was… almost impossible.

Since falling in love with the internet in 1996, I think I’d always seen the potential – had a vague dream that this new thing – this amazing, world-changing thing – would open up possibilities for my life and the lives of everyone else in the world in ways we couldn’t even imagine then.

That 15-year-old me spent a LOT of time on the internet – learning how to build websites, reading and learning stuff about the world – about life – shared by everyday people: knowledge that until then had been limited by the gatekeepers of the non-fiction book publishing industry (remember those days – when you had to go to the LIBRARY or bookstore to find out more about something that interested you?).

Those days seem like ancient history now – but they’re not.

The world has changed so drastically in the last 20 years. I – and you – now have the tools to build an international business from our living room/kitchen/couch/studio in a way that was pretty much impossible a few short decades ago.

The internet cuts away the gatekeepers. It allows you and I to connect directly to our customers – no matter where they are in the world. We don’t have to go through shops anymore if we don’t want to. There is nothing separating the creator from the consumer but two screens and a somewhat magical transference of information via wires and cables.

The traditional way of running a small craft business – selling to shops or at markets – is no longer the only way to make a business a success. Heck, you don’t even need to do these things AT ALL any more if you don’t want to.

So what’s holding you back?

Is it the belief that running a business is dangerous and risky? That there’s no way you can do it successfully and make enough money? That it’s not a safe and stable way of making a living?

If so, I want to tell you something. 

You know what’s risky? What’s unstable?

A job.

A job is tenuous. It is fleeting. No longer do we get a job ‘for life’. When you have a job you are at the complete mercy of your employer. They can hire you – they can fire you. They tell you what to do and how to do it. They pay you a set rate no matter how stellar (or terrible) your work is. You are not in control. You live in a constant state of low-level fear because your life basically belongs to someone else. Someone else who can take away your livelihood at any time.

How is that a better way of making a living than running your own enterprise? One where YOU are in complete control. You decide what to do and when. You make as much money as you want to once you’ve figured out how to do it. You work the hours you want to work. You take vacations when you want to take vacations. You are in control of your life – no-one can take your livelihood away from you.

Until very recently, we were all brought up in this job mindset. I’m only 32 and I sure was. The world has changed THAT fast.

Being an entrepreneur was for a select few.

We were brainwashed into thinking we had to go to school, go to Uni, get a job, and be a good little cog in someone else’s machine.

“The brainwashing continues to this day. You’ve been brainwashed to believe that you’re stuck with what you’ve got, that you need to punch a clock, follow a manual and do what you’re told. I wonder who dreamed that up? It’s certainly in the interest of the dominant forces of our society to create an oversupply of eager and compliant workers. But now, as the power shifts, so does your opportunity.

Are you serious about transformation? I’m not talking about polishing yourself, improving yourself, making things a bit better. I’m talking about the reset button, a reinvention that changes the game. That means an overhaul in what you believe and how you do your job. If you’re up for that, then right here, right now, you can start.”

~ Seth Godin – Brainwashed

If you WANT to just have a job – a place where you go, do your work, and come home and forget about it  – that’s okay. But if so – what are you doing on this blog reading this article?

I’m guessing you want something more.

I won’t go any more into this – Seth really covers it all in his Brainwashed manifesto, much more eloquently than I can.

I will leave you with an excerpt from the end of his manifesto. The most important part, I think.

If you’re here, reading this, then you’re already taking this step towards freedom- towards creating an enterprise of your own: but I think it’s a good reminder of WHY you need to keep learning.

Go read Brainwashed here.

I’d love to know what you think of it.


Van Den has written 338 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.



I read the manifesto and in my heart I feel exactly where he is coming from. My soul yearns to wake up whenever I want and not have to set an alarm unless I want to.
However, I struggle with this one thought. Even as an entrepreneur you still have to answer to someone, and that someone is your customer. Whether they buy or not drastically affects your monthly income in the same way that an employer determines your income. Jess what are your thoughts?


You’re absolutely right, Mattie. At a fundamental level, every customer is your boss. But YOU still control how you woo and interact with each and every customer. You control the level of contact you have (will you only communicate via email, or will you offer a phone number?). Yes, you are ultimately responsible to them – but if you’re already creating a stellar product, and have a solid customer service protocol in place, you will most often find working with your customers a joy rather than a burden.

You are dependant on people buying from you. But you have the power to learn, grow, and structure your business so that you come to a point of having a regular income. You might not know day-to-day exactly what you’ll sell or how much money you’ll have, but in the long run, you will build up enough momentum with your business to know – in general – how much you’ll earn each week, month and year.

Once you have a solid business, good products, and a marketing plan in place, your income is only limited by how much you can create to sell.


Thanks for that. I really need that reality check and kick in the pants!


I love this. I’ve been living in fear of being in trouble at work for the last fortnight and it’s all consuming. Only by the end of tomorrow will I know if I am out of the woods and to be honest I don’t want to ever be in this position again. I like to write, but what I do write isn’t enough to pay the bills, and no publisher has comissioned a whole book yet ;). Maybe when I get round to emigrating I will have a totally new outlook on life as everything else will have changed too.


Kerry! So lovely to see you here 🙂 I kinda hate that you relate from the fear side of things, but I hope it all sorts itself out soon. And where are you emigrating to?


Canada, eventually. But I have to be employed by someone to get in for at least a year so I’ll have to defer these dreams for now.


Canada, eh? Sorry, couldn’t resist! Just spent a month there this year, it’s a beautiful place. Good luck making your dream a reality! x


JESS! This is phenomenal… I adore every bit of advice you share – but this one has brought tears in my eyes. Yes, l had been brainwashed into thinking l had to work for someone else to have a career, but that’s just not true. I am self motivated and crafty! I can do this too! My partner and l have been to speak to a financial planner about how l can quit my “real” job and focus on this full time… We have two kids and a mortgage, but as l read in Lily’s post, I don’t want to regret that l didn’t at least try. And I think I can do it! No – l know l can do it 🙂 Thanks again for every word you share, it’s all truly inspirational. The handmade industry is such a wonderful place to be with so many wonderful people in it..


I think having a ‘job’ and believing it represents stability and security (and all the other important ‘ities’) also makes us a little bit too comfortable. Having that stability and security sometimes means you’re less likely to take risks or set yourself challenges because you’ve got what you need and don’t want to rock the boat. It took me a long time to realise I could be autonomous and independent and still be successful. Granted, I’m only at the beginning of that particular road but I’m glad I’m taking the one less travelled!


I think you’re exactly right, Shauna!


as a kid, I dreamed of being a drummer in a band. drumming was my life. it’s all I did since I was young and had no “job”. then at age 18 I did something stupid. I got a “job” working for someone else because that’s what you do right? it’s the responsible thing… you get a job. Over time, I let my dream go without even realizing it. I worked the same job 21 years until they fired me. I look back now and getting that first JOB was the worse thing I could have done.

What say you?