In I.D., Philip Davis’s 1995 film, Reece Dinsdale plays John, one of four undercover policemen sent to infiltrate a group of football hooligans at the fictional Shadwell Football Club. As John starts drinking, fighting and copying the behaviour of the thugs he is monitoring, he slowly becomes one of them.In the final scene, we see him at a neo-Nazi march.
In Dexter, Michael C. Hall plays a serial killer who hides his true identity. To fit in with society, he learns to fake the emotions that he lacks but others have. Towards the end of the second series – series 3 hasn’t aired in the UK yet – Dexter is showing signs of developing the feelings he has long been feigning.
But what has this got to do with Seth Godin?
A few weeks ago, I was at Seth’s talk in London. Somebody from the audience asked Seth how he became the person he now is.
Seth replied (and I’m paraphrasing here – Seth was more eloquent than this – but I think I’ve caught the gist):
“When I started out, I had this idea of ‘Seth Godin’, the person I wanted to be. This person had certain standards, and would behave in certain ways. He was ultra-ethical and would do nothing to contradict the principles of permission marketing. Whenever I was faced by a tricky question, I asked myself “what would ‘Seth Godin’ do”. And, over time, I became the person I wanted to be.”
I’d like to make one point, and ask one question.
Firstly, rather than asking “What would Bill Gates do?” to gain perspective when faced by a difficult problem, you can ask what the hypothetical you – the person you aspire to be – would do.
Secondly, if you consistently do that, will you, over time, become the person that you want to be, as Seth has? Or will you just be a fraud whose actions betray your essence?
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