Steal Like An Artist
“Every new idea is just a remix or a mash-up of one or two previous ideas.” Austin Kleon, Steal Like An Artist
In Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kleon shares this thought provoking quote from Jim Jarmusch
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent.”
As in independent educator, I’m sure the quote above got you feeling some kind of way. I get it. At times, we all feel like our ideas and concepts are stolen. But let’s think about it as objectively as we can for a moment.
Our thoughts and ideas are all inspired by something, someone, somewhere. Whether it’s a book, a class, a program, a person, a movie, a song, nature, whatever. Nothing is original.
As someone who has been in biz for a super long time, I too have felt my stuff has been “stolen”, when in reality, most times, it is simply that my stuff inspired others to create stuff. And that my loves is a good thing. That is what empowerment and real education looks like.
But, there is another side to theft and that is intellectual property. This could be in the form of trademarks, patents, copy write, etc. This is where you need to take a good hard look at what you are creating, and if you believe that it is trademark or patent worthy, then by all means do the work to protect your stuff. Here is a blog I wrote on understanding trademarks. https://passionsquared.net/its-all-in-a-name/
In cases such as the ones above, it is smart to have an attorney on your team that can send those not so awesome cease and desist letters. I do recommend though that before you sick the attorneys on these thieves, you reach out, calm, cool and collected, and kindly ask the offender to please stop using your trademarked or patented stuff. And then let go of the outcome. You will likely be disappointed when they do not respond at all or you do not get the response you were hoping for. Let it GO.
Likely, what is pissing you off the most, is when people come to your classes and then begin teaching their own. When people use words or techniques similar to yours. My question to you is… isn’t that a good thing? Your work inspired others to create. Isn’t that why you became an educator?
Why this happens is very important to understand. Humble, confident and self-aware people share where they get their inspiration, they give credit when sharing others specific ideas, quotes or concepts. But we all gotta remember that many lack that self-awareness, confidence and humility. More reason for you to keep educating and helping people gain more confidence and self-awareness.
In the end, please remember people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it. Simon Sinek hit gold with this concept, one that I believe in a gazillion percent and have since I was a young marketer. If you believe in that concept too, then you already know that anyone can teach a haircut, a balayage, or a vivid, but you are not anyone. Start with why. Steal like an artist. And keep creating.
Love + Awesomeness