My good friend Elbert gifted me with 2 books today: STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST and SHOW YOUR WORK! both by Austin Kleon. I started reading STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST first, which is a book written by an artist with the intention of giving advice to his past self. I really resonated with his belief that nothing is really “original” in this world – everything is merely stolen and adapted from previous concepts/ideas. True authentic art, or any ideas for that matter, are stolen from inspiring work and made better or different. I liked this passage the most:
First, you have to figure out who to copy. Second, you have to figure out what to copy.
Who to copy is easy. You copy your heroes – the people you love, the people you’re inspired by, the people you want to be.
What to copy is a little bit trickier. Don’t just steal style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes.
The reason to copy your heroes and their style is so that you might somehow get a glimpse into their minds. That’s what you really want – to internalize their way of looking at the world. If you just mimic the surface of somebody’s work without understanding where they are coming from, your work will never be more than a knockoff.
I’m re-reading the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne which I’ve probably collectively read and watched the documentary over 10 times in my life. It’s transformed my life for personal reasons and was shared with me by a dear friend years ago who’s no longer alive. But I started re-reading it again out of the blue and you always learn something new when re-visiting a book. I like the following passage on your current self being a collection of your past thoughts and that you can always change yourself if you choose.
Most people look at their current state of affairs and they say, “This is who I am.” That’s not who you are. That’s who you were. Let’s say for instance that you don’t have enough money in your bank account, or you don’t have the relationship that you want, or your health and fitness aren’t up to par. That’s not who you are; that’s the residual outcome of your past thoughts and actions. So we’re constantly living in this residual, if you will, of the thoughts and actions we’ve taken in the past. When you look at your current state of affairs and define yourself by that, then you doom yourself to have nothing more than the same in the future.
“All that we are is a result of what we have thought.”
I tend not to watch motivational videos anymore since I think motivation itself is pretty useless – it’s only a spark of energy that’s extremely fleeting, whereas grit and drive are everlasting. However, I came across the story of David Goggins through the below Youtube video interview, and I can honestly say that this is probably the most motivational video I have ever seen. David Goggins is a man that was born in “darkness” and suffered through hardships and adversity and decided to make a willful decision to break his mold and change his life.
“When you think that you are done you’re only 40% in to what your body’s capable of doing.that’s just the limits that we put on ourselves.”