Episode
65

Stealing Like An Artist with Austin Kleon - Part 2

How do you make time for the things you love? What does stealing like an artist even mean?

In this episode, Chris and Austin talk about cultivating passions, being a multi-hyphenate, and the misconception of Austin’s book, Steal Like an Artist.

Ironically, Austin’s not too fond of the phrase “multi-hyphenate.” He prefers the term Renaissance Man—someone who enjoys doing different things and has many talents. Given Austin’s myriad of talents between writing, drawing, painting and more, it comes as no surprise that some of his idols were multi-hyphenates—sorry, Renaissance Men—themselves.

Having different interests, skills, and talents is an amazing thing. But more often than not, people feel like they have to choose one thing and just go with that. According to Austin, if you have passions in life but try to cut them out because you feel you need to focus on something else, you’ll have (and we quote) “phantom limb pain.” If you cut something out of your life that you really love, it will haunt you.

For Austin, honoring his interests lays down the path for richer, deeper exploration and even leads to more interesting things. But hold on a second—what about specialization? Can you still honor your interests and your passions while being a specialist? Absolutely.

Austin even gives a word of advice to make sure your flame never fades: “spend an hour on it a week.” Make it a point in your week to find the time for the things you enjoy.

There’s no rule that says you have to give up certain hobbies to find success, but turning your hobbies into your bread-winner comes at a cost. Creative outlets can help you in plenty of ways. Give your brain a break to make something, bake something, or even take something apart.

Everyone wants to be thought of as an original, no matter what it is they do. So, how do you steal like an artist? It’s OK to copy—copying is how most people learn—but copy in private, and in a way that you’re taking ideas from many different people you look up to and want to emulate.

It’s not necessarily stealing, it’s more of studying what’s around you and drawing inspiration from the things you gravitate towards. Become a student of everything that came before you.