How to Steal Your Next Big Idea (Without Feeling Guilty)

“You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life.” 
― Austin KleonSteal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Warren Buffett, the multi-billionaire investor, gives credit to his mentor Benjamin Graham for developing the concept of value investing. A concept Buffett used to make a fortune as a Wall Street investor.

Perhaps Buffett might never have gotten out from behind the counter at his grandfather’s grocery store, if Graham hadn’t done the hard work before Buffett came along.

Not only that, what if Graham kept his knowledge to himself and never taught a course on it at Columbia University in NYC – where Buffett attended?

Who knows.

The point is: It is easy to become brilliant at what you do when you stand on the shoulders of a giant – the trick is picking the right giant(s).

Find Who You Want to Steal From

“Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” – Pablo Picasso

I believe that we are – or we become – the type of person we surround ourselves with. And that if you want to change who you are – then change the people around you.

One of the greatest gifts of the internet age is that we have the ability to connect with and learn from people all over the world. We can go beyond our family, our churches, even our friends – to find people that we admire and that we can aspire to be.

When a friend of mine at work sent me a link to the Humans of New York (HONY) website, I was immediately captivated by Brandon Stanton’s project. It was so powerful, and moving, and I wanted more and more of it.

Later that night, I was thinking about all the portraits and the stories I’d seen on the HONY site, and I had the idea that maybe I could do a similar project in my small town in British Columbia. But I dismissed the thought – thinking that I would be stealing and that I wouldn’t be an “original.”

But I couldn’t shake the idea. It seemed to fit exactly the type of project I was ready for in my photography.

So I did some googling – and found out that not only were there MANY different “Humans of…” spin-offs, but Brandon had said in an interview that he thought it was wonderful that other photographers were bringing the HONY concept to their own cities.

With this blessing, of sorts, I registered the Humans of Nelson Facebook page and hit the streets with my camera.

5,211 page likes and 192 portraits later, and I couldn’t be more pleased to steal Brandons idea.

I Want You to Steal From Me

I spend my evenings and weekends writing blog posts, putting together tutorials, telling my story — to help you to achieve your dreams, transform yourself into who you want to be, and to do all that in a way that makes your life easier and more fulfilling.

So don’t be ashamed for taking the good parts of stuff you love.

In fact, I encourage it.

I Don’t Feel Like Writing this Blog Post Right Now

But I also don’t give a shit about how I feel about it.

The problem the last two years with this blog (or rather, with me and blogging) is I tend to write when I feel like it.  Which, apparently, isn’t very often.

But that’s going to change – starting now.

Starting now, I’m going to publish a new blog post every Monday – whether I feel like it or not.

Why?

Cause that’s the kind of habitual commitment successful creators do. And I want to be a successful creator too.

The opposite of writing or taking pictures or working out or being generally productive when you feel like it – is to do those things out of habit.

Habits get stuff done when the feeling of inspiration gets distracted by Facebook and other shiny objects.

One of the greatest gems about utilizing the power of habit is that it quiets the voices in your head that say things like “You’re not good enough….you’re not ready….this can wait until tomorrow.”

The habit gets you started. And once you’ve started it’s so much easier to finish.

So there. I’ve started.

It’s time to do the work.

See you next week.