I don’t read back through my Field Notes often enough and it’s 48 pages don’t get filled quickly enough. But as I sat down and flipped through the last few months of scribbling, I noticed something; it’s full of great stuff. The best ideas aren’t mine, though. There’s wisdom from books I’m reading, things from sermons and podcasts, and conversations I’ve overheard. There’s the odd good thing that I can claim ownership of, though it’s probably nothing that hasn’t been thought of before. There’s also lots of crap—doodles and bad math, rhymes and prose that aren’t worthy of any place other than getting shoved back into my pocket.
Paging through the little book, I found that even though the ideas weren’t all novel or penned by me they became mine in the way they were threaded—connected—page by page, in the same messy scribbles, in the same voice and shorthand, all working together towards the same goal. They’re just as much mine, now that I pulled out a pen and made a mark, as the person who first put them to paper. Writing that idea down made it real for me and put it into existance while not taking anything away from anyone else. It’s a positive transaction. Steal as many ideas as you can. Piece together the things other smart people do and say and build them into your platform.
When you capture an idea it’s just a small piece of something bigger. Something you can’t really picture or describe yet. But when you look back through the pages you start to see how the ideas connect and the shape of that something begins to come together.
Cultivate that. Put back into it. Keep stealing so it can keep growing. Then give it all away so someone else can steal.