Nothing is Original

Steal Like an Artist
Steal Like an Artist

I want to be the person who updates this blog regularly, just like I want to write a book with insights into entrepreneurial success.  What holds me back?

I get such a thrill growing my own business that I can’t put it down long enough to write about it.  It’s like watching sports on television versus playing them.  There really is no comparison if you are addicted to the adrenaline and competitive spirit of the game.  I am so addicted to entrepreneurship, I can’t stop playing to write about it.

Years ago I read, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  You think his name is long and difficult, the book is a long and tough read, but worth it.  His theory is this

that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow— a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. It is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone

I can slip into the zone quickly and resurface hours later feeling both euphoric and exhausted from the pleasure of deep work, insight and accomplishment.  Digging deep into the data of my business or working on growth strategies and outlining the process that will make it succeed – those are my favorite ‘flow’ inducing activities.  Unfortunately when I write – I rarely get to ‘flow’.  Maybe with more practice that will be possible, but I am not sure.

The other issue that blocks my writing is that there is so much great content to read.  Which is a two-fold problem – time and talent. I spend a huge amount of time reading and consuming other people’s content.  Then when I try to write, I feel inadequate and fear having nothing original to contribute compared to the talent of the people I read.

A book I love, both for its content and beautiful graphical presentation is Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.  This is one of my favorite gift books to both artists and business people.  The premise is simple, we are all stealing ideas and thoughts from each other all the time.

Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon
Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

There are two blogger/thought leaders that I like because of their weekly newsletter.  A summary of the best things they read this week – Farnam Street by Shane Parrish and Accidental Creative by Todd Henry.  Reading these two newsletters is like having a personal assistant finding intelligent things for you to read on the internet.  They also share one post they wrote on their blog, so you get to see how they bring their own unique thoughts together while also reading who influenced them.

I like the simplicity of this Conversion Rate Optimization blog by Rishi Rawat and his schedule:

Every Monday morning I share a conversion idea on my blog.

His insights are deep and well constructed based on his expertise in CRO, however, he doesn’t write that much.  Not only is Rishi’s blog great for readers, but it looks like his own database of good ideas and you get a chance to peek in his personal notebook.

On the far end of the content creation spectrum is someone like James Altucher who wrote a great book Choose Yourself and he has an interesting blog and podcast.  The man is a content creation machine.  His secret weapon is what he doesn’t do – no email and no news.  He loves to write, so that is what he does and he doesn’t do the things he doesn’t enjoy, like answering email.

On the James Altucher Show podcast I heard Tony Robbins talk about his new book
MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom.  Robbins is another guy who loves to deliver long form content in an exceptional manner.  This excellent book finally convinced me to stop trading individual stocks and just go with ETFs or index funds.  Trading individual stocks took time away from my business and I never achieved the financial returns like I do in business.  I will continue reading Investor’s Business Daily everyday because I find more entrepreneurial ideas in there than any other publication, but I will stop trading individual stocks because I have other places I really want to spend my time, study and thought.

We all have sources – the people that influence our journey.  Sometimes the act of revealing your source is your best content.

2 Replies to “Nothing is Original”

  1. Thank you for this. I have a hard time balancing consuming content and getting things done, hence I continuously listen to Podcasts. But, there is empowerment in absorbing the written word that calms me and invokes creativity.

  2. I like to use a variety of methods too. I find that I remember things differently whether I heard them or read them.