10 LESSONS LEARNED FROM “STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST”
1. “You’re only as good as the stuff you surround yourself with.” We need to surround ourselves with the people and settings that make our dreams feel real. What’s the point of telling your ideas to those who don’t encourage your vision? And likewise, why bother living in a dreary house when you can cover your walls with things that make you come alive.
2. One at a time. Austin is referring to the act of finding one thinker, artist, or idol who you love, and researching everything about them. And once you’re done, find a few people that person loved and find out everything about them. Keep going as far up the tree as you can and “once you build your tree, it’s time to start your own branch.
3. I love this graphic from the book. According to Austin, maybe I’m not completely wrong about that – maybe it will still be kind of crappy, but undoubtedly I’ll learn something in the process. The only way for us to improve upon our vision is to follow it, and we can’t move forward if we stay in one place.
4. “Carry a notebook and a pen with you wherever you go.” Bring a notebook with you everywhere and realize the potential of your philosopher quality thoughts.
5. “Make things, Know thyself.” The point Austin makes here is that it’s not about making great stuff from the beginning and it’s not about reaching nirvana before we have any credibility – it’s just about making things. And in that process, we’ll become ourselves. And you know what? So will our art.
6. Google everything. The great thing about the internet is that the entire world lives on it. You’re not just asking your buddies a few questions – you’re asking a bajillion people (more or less, right?). In Austin’s opinion, what happens when you do this? “You’ll either find the answer or you’ll come up with a better question.” Right on.
7. This one is so dead-on that I’m just going to copy it word for word. “Don’t just steal the 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 anything more than a knockoff.”
8. Productive Procrastination. Austin uses a stellar quote from Jessica Hirsche – ”The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”
9. Routine can be a good thing. Austin says that “establishing and keeping a routine can be even more important than having a lot of time.”
10. Travel. Sounds simple, right? According to Austin, “your brain gets too comfortable in your everyday surroundings. You need to make it uncomfortable. You need to spend some time in another land, among people that do things differently than you. Travel makes the world look new, and when the world looks new, our brains work harder.”