Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? is an excellent book by Seth Godin that explains how and why you should become a linchpin—someone not easily replaced.

In the marketplace, the easier people are to replace the less they need to be paid and the easier they are to lay off. The industrial revolution has created a world of factories and factory workers—a world that goes against the human nature.

On the other hand, artists are now rewarded far more than they used to be. The new age of technology makes it possible for everyone to be both remarkable and remarked.

Artists are people who give more than they receive, drive change, and make things happen. They prevent organizations from falling into pieces because they do their best and more than what they’re paid for. They are the ones who keep the marketplace running.

There is an artist in each of us but in this factory world we’re being taught to follow the crowd instead of striving for our own, unique path. For millenniums man has been in charge of his own life; nowadays he is being brainwashed into thinking that the only way for him to succeed is to fit in the system and do what others think he should be doing.

I especially agree with Seth when he blames our education system for this brainwashing. Schools are on the front line of our education and yet they teach us to comply with a set of rules and to live only within those limits. They stigmatize mistakes, thus preventing the expression of creativity—the essential quality of an artist.

The essential thing measured by school is whether or not you are good at school.

But creativity, imagination, and the freedom of choice are all part of the human condition; they are always available for us to use and cannot be coerced into retreat.

Most of the resistance sits in our own mind. Fear is the greatest barrier to becoming an artist: fear of failure, fear of working without a map, fear of criticism… They can all be easily overcome once one has found a meaning to his life.

The linchpin feels the fear, acknowledges it, then proceeds.

As Seth puts it, “every day is a new chance to choose”, and becoming a linchpin is certainly the best choice you could make. I leave you with one the most memorable quotes I’ve come to know about, from one of the most memorable man there is to know.

Why is it that human beings, surely the most intelligent life form on earth, do not strive to achieve their maximum potential? The reason is simple: we have been given the freedom of choice.

— Jim Rohn