“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.” – T.S. Eliot
When I was a kid I was taught not to steal. I think that is generally a good thing, especially for a well organized and a society based on some sort of order that preserves the peace. However, this is not such a good concept if you want society to progress. What???!! Yup, you read that right. Improvement, progress, forward movement is based in large part to the theft of other people’s ideas to make them better and improve upon them. Since the first cave man saw someone figure out how to start a fire with flint to Steve Jobs seeing how some dude at the Palo Alto Research Center moving a mouse humankind has been stealing each other’s ideas.
Think about it. Where would we be in our society if we had not had our forbearers grabbing ideas from others and improving upon them? Henry Ford, for all intents, was a garage mechanic hack who figured out to hobble a bunch of scraps together in large part in mimicry of other people’s much superior work. However, where would be if he had not improved upon the concept and made it more accessible? Theft of idea, or theft of other’s work is not only a human thing, it is necessary for our progress!
So go and steal! Why try to reinvent some amazing new idea when you can just do what someone else has done!? In fact, go look at the last 10 most marvelous inventions of our day and age and you will discover the same theme. They all took another idea and improved upon it.
I remember early in my career, Microsoft and Bill Gates were evil because everyone kept saying that they stole other ideas and made them their own. I kept thinking in my mind, sounds like jealousy to me! Why not? Do we even remember who invented the wheel? Nope. Do we remember who invented the personal computer? Nope. We could probably look that last one up, but then we would find out that there is some debate on that subject because they were all copying off of each other! Who knows who was first or who had the best version. None of that matters to human society, which just continues to barrel forward.
So are you trying to do something in your life? Sell more? Improve your job? So a particular job function better? Then look no further then someone that is successful. Copy, mimic, steal their idea and make it your own. That is how humans have progressed for millennia!