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What Really Matters in Being a Great Artist

The following video is taken from an interview that Motley Fool analyst Brendan Byrnes recently had with Seth Godin, author of The Icarus Deception. Godin is also a talented public speaker, marketing guru, blogger, entrepreneur, and respected thought leader.

Seth's forward-thinking and contrarian views are critical considerations for finding success in life, business, and investing. It's the same approach our own chief investment officer, Andy Cross, took when selecting The Motley Fool's Top Stock For 2013. Uncover his market-beating thinking in this new free report. Just click here now for instant access. 

A transcript follows the video.


Brendan Byrnes: You talk a lot in the book about being an artist, but maybe we define it in society as too narrow. Could you expand on that? What an artist really means to you?

Seth Godin: Art and painting have nothing to do with each other. It's easy to do paint-by-numbers, but that's not art. Shakespeare was certainly an artist, but he used words.

I'm arguing that art is when a human being does something personal that they've never done before, that connects to another person with generosity. So Warren Buffett is an artist. He's not somebody who's just moving piles of money from one place to another. He is taking these intellectual risks to connect with other people and create value.

And we've been pushed down and pushed down and pushed down, not to do art but to be obedient, compliant cogs in the industrial system. And now the door is open -- not for long -- for you to step up and say, "No, no, no. I have something I want to say. I want to be able to go to the world and say, 'I made this.'" If you have trouble in your current job saying, "I made this," you have to make some new choices.

Byrnes: What's the most important aspect of that? Is it the idea generation, or is it the physical execution of the idea?

Godin: It's neither one. Steve Jobs had very few original ideas, and he didn't assemble anything. It's grit. Grit is what matters. Grit, which is persistence and optimism, and the desire to see it done. It's not giving up. It's not compromising on the important stuff -- that when we say, "I stand for this, and this is what we're going to do," that is how we make art.

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