When in doubt, steal

When in doubt, steal–see what others have done to be successful and learn from them.

In “Stumbling On Happiness,” Dan Gilbert wrote about how humans overestimate their uniqueness. The best way to predict if something will make you happy is to ask a perfect stranger who did the same thing.

The same principle holds true for work. People have a strange tendency to start from scratch. To heck with that. The best way to be successful is to emulate* what someone else did.

If you’re not influenced by what’s worked in the past, you’re not original, you’re dumb.

* The art lies is figuring out the right twist. Obviously I’m not suggesting that you copy someone else exactly–that’s both illegal and dumb. As Mark Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

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