On making a ruckus

Seth Godin
2 min readJul 30, 2020


Tom Thompson was part of the Group of 7, an influential circle of painters working in Canada about a hundred years ago. Their art didn’t fit in, but it did change things.

Not a disturbance, a racket or a commotion, but a ruckus.

The status quo is resilient and long-lasting. That’s why it’s the status quo. It sticks around precisely because it’s good at sticking around.

And sometimes that’s a very good thing. We need a firm foundation and the stability it brings in order to make plans, build for the long haul and live with some measure of confidence that tomorrow will be at least a bit like today.

But too often, the status quo gets stuck. It reinforces injustice, persists in unfair or inefficient approaches and most likely, fails to create as much value as it could.

It’s in those moments that we need your ruckus.

The act of making things better by making better things.

The hard work of showing up with insight, assertions and kindness.

The opportunity to shine a light, open a door and lead.

We’re not often encouraged to do this. The educational-industrial complex is ten or twenty years of schooling built around compliance, adhesion and test-taking. It rarely asks us to come up with “better” and instead demands the right answer. Even if the right answer is no longer useful, at least it’s correct.

Extra points for getting the answer that’s in the answer key, apparently.

When we show up to make a ruckus, we’re doing generous work, work on behalf of those we seek to serve. It requires us to use stories and language that resonate with people who prefer the status quo, because our goal is to make change, not to have an argument.

Seeing this sort of possibility demands a weird sort of patient impatience. The persistence of making change combined with the knowledge that if the change were easy, it would have happened already.

And so we need to trust. Trust that we care enough to see it through, trust that we’ve earned attention with a small but viable circle of supporters, and trust that we’re aware of how things work so that we can manage to move the status quo from where it is to where it needs to be.

Go make a ruckus belongs to each of us, because if we’re not going to make things better, who will?



Seth Godin

Founder of altMBA and Akimbo. Daily blogger, teacher, speaker, 20 bestsellers as well...