Whilst on our epic road trip through the United States, I took a turn in the passenger seat and, whilst my wife piloted us from the majestic Yosemite National Park (yeti-on-a-bike that place is a banquet for the mind) back to the west coast, I began reading the inspiring and practical book How to steal like an artist by Austin Kleon. And at the end, out popped this week’s challenge. Huzzah!

It’s a svelt tome (though everything is on a kindle) and stuffed with practical tips for being creative and harnessing productivity by allowing – nay, encouraging – a little light-fingeredness. The message is simple: originality is a myth, intelligent plagiarism is the secret to success and there are plenty of techniques through which we can all hack our way to more original work. Let me tell you, when you’re coming up with a new challenge every week for a year, that’s the kind of advice (especially when coupled with practical jumping off points) that’s really required!

One chapter in the book focused on stealing ideas from your heroes, and that idea really helped me devise this week’s challenge:

How does one of your great heroes think, who influenced them to think that way, and what can you learn from all those thoughts and ideas?

The potential benefits are clear, aren’t they? Assuming that everyone is stealing the best ideas from someone else, whose thoughts do I admire so much that I’m willing to rip them off?

Do I fully understand how my hero’s ideas made them successful, and who were the thinkers that influenced THEM?

If I spend one week exploring this particular rabbit hole, I can be sure to return, blinking into the sun, with some insight…and perhaps some new (shoplifted) ideas.

And the hero is…
So who’s my hero and what were their influences? Well that’d be telling…check back soon for the answer to that question, and feel free to steal this exercise for your own benefit too!