Taking Ideas from Others

The more your build

Taking ideas from others and adapting them to your life has been a trend since humanity got its start. We all build on the ideas of others. It's what we do with them that makes all the difference. You can draw a direct line between what you do and what you know. What you know depends on what you've tried, plus the energy you absorbed from culture.

Ryan Holiday has a list of 33 things he's stolen from people smarter than him.# Stolen is a euphemism for describing a feeling and motivation to try something that diverges from your normal operating model. He quotes Kayla Chadwick who explains how feeling—a more practical way of talking about empathy—is critical to developing socially useful energy.

Socially useful energy in turn builds culture. From there, we do more than survive—we make a living worth living for, hence, I don't know how to explain that you should care about other people.  I've observed two things related to caring:

1. It takes the same effort doing something properly than it does throwing things together haphazardly (sometimes less). The former shows you have a sense of what products and services create value. Bonus point: empathy and emotional intelligence toward people at a stressful time creates a positive feedback loop.

2. When in doubt, ask. Don't assume others are after the same things you are, that people have preferences similar to yours, that the way things are done here… is the way things turn out best. As a company, you have a golden opportunity to tap into moments of upheaval to interact more with your customers, then make yourself useful.


And one more thing…

Caring for someone else is the shortest path to love. It's the not so secret reason why dog owners love their pups—it's the act of caring for your dog that builds the love, and in turn, that love creates love back. Plus, you'd be surprised how good they get at telling you what they want. The dogs, of course.

But people are also social. Take ideas from others and adapt them to what you know. Experiment, learn some more, adapt what works. The more you care, the more value in what you build. The less you assume you're owed, the more you build.


My work is at the intersection of culture and strategy, the tools of my trade are conversation, writing, and anticipating trends. Many of the things I write about include design—of things, but also relationships—and research—talking to people we can gain perspective on the gap between what people say and what they do, including us (companies).

I synthesize a lot of interesting data and stories in issues that attempt to minimize overwhelm and maximize joy.


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