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How to Steal Other People’s Ideas

Written By //
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MIKE LIGUORI

I decided that it was time to address something troubling for me online.

That is the stealing of ideas.

I see a lot of creators online, in an attempt to build an audience and following, pass on another message, quotes, and ideas off as their own.

Instead of creating a variation of the idea and content they consume, they leverage someone else’s idea to profit.

This is troubling to me for several reasons, which I will get into, but this is the most powerful one of all—the lack of innovation of concepts from stealing ideas.

TikTok, Instagram, and Youtube are doing everything possible to get more content, drive more eyeballs, and profit from advertiser deals.

And creators are feeling the pressure to perform out of fear they will lose their audience if they do not post more.

So content gets recycled and repurposed. More and more content looks and feels the same.

Ideas once worth spreading are now rinsed and repeated from one content creator to another, looking simply for traction.

Is it something our society should worry about?

Only if we believe this is comprising the promotion of free thinkers.

I think social media benefits from free thinkers.

I believe the more we have individual creators take what they have consumed and created their spin on the idea with more data, research, and perspective, the more our world benefits at large.

And not every idea is worth spreading.

With every good concept that generates positive human emotion and acts comes ideas filled with hate, bigotry, and other forms of negative contribution to human behavior.

We must do our due diligence in determining who and what we consume today. That conversation will be saved for a rainy day.

Until then, let’s turn our attention to the following.

There are unwritten rules to stealing ideas.

There is nothing wrong with taking someone’s idea and making it your own. Humans have been doing it since the dawn of time.

The most influential art, stories, theories, and concepts all started from an idea. The origination of those ideas is often unknown.

What’s important is that the accomplishments were done according to the individual's drive to make something their own.

The creator put their unique twist on the idea.

Here are the three rules to stealing ideas

Rule 1: Give credit where credit is due.

Nothing drives me more batsh*t crazy than listening to a podcast and hearing someone take an idea, quote, or lesson from someone else and utilize it for their gain.

Again, it’s the idea itself or the content used. It’s the lack of originality in the person utilizing what they consumed to make it their own.

Some of us are so caught up in the attention game of social media that we bypass the work it takes to flush out the idea; therefore, we use what we heard or read as our own.

Shortcuts do not work for thought leadership. Only original thoughts and perspectives attract people to follow you.

There is a caveat to this and a friendly reminder to all of you reading this:

You will not lose people if you recite someone’s idea that influences your work.

If you hear or consume something profound and want to share it, giving credit to the original idea will give you more credibility to your audience.

You will be seen as someone who does their research and thinks in depth about what they have consumed to make it digestible to other people.

This builds trust and, in turn, creates authenticity and relationship.

Rule 2: If you don’t know what it means, expand the idea.

Short-form media is taking over the world right now, and everybody and their grandmother are posting Reels and Shorts on every channel possible.

We can thank TikTok for this game-changer of an idea.

I like short-form media. It forces people to stand out more, get to the point faster, and attempt to provide more value more quickly.

But my heart belongs to the art of making long-form, especially regarding idea generation.

Hour-long Youtube videos diving into concepts and theories. History books. Biographies of dead presidents.

Sign me up.

The more I intentionally consume history, the more I tend to elongate a concept I read from previous events.

This makes me flush out even more ideas to conceptualize into tweets, Instagram posts, and newsletters like this.

It forces me to do my work to explain my idea to people based on what I read. It better prepares me for future content and inspires me to make more.

Don’t force yourself to do something because a platform is communicating to you to do it. Don’t shortcut your process to create content.

Do your research. If you don't know something, you do not know enough to articulate it.

No one will look down on you for not knowing something. Let your curiosity drive you to dive deeper into what you found fascinating.

Your message will improve. Your content will change, and you’ll be able to influence more people positively.

Rule 3: Ideas don’t make you who you are, experience does.

People want to follow you online because of your experience.

It’s not the idea you’re sharing.

Many of those ideas have been shared before.

The ones you think are unique are only that way because of your life experience.

Being able to relate to people in a manner that creates engagement and entertainment is what gets people to follow you and want to know more.

Think of it as showmanship.

Your life experience makes the idea worth sharing. That’s why people love TED talks.

It’s not because of the idea the speakers are presenting. Instead, it’s the engaging manner of the experience of the concept told by the speaker.

A scientist who cites just research fails compared to a scientist who applies their own experience and the experience of others to share the research.

We’re more likely to listen to someone who incorporates a storytelling component of their experience into a lesson than just the lesson itself.

You see this in the fitness industry. Testimonials and case studies of numerous people losing weight inspire people to join the weight loss program.

Watching other people make money online and tell their story inspires us to look into creating an online business.

Ideas you have or share do not define you.

The experience you share with the idea does.

The last thing I’ll leave you with is one of my favorite quotes

“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.

Wisdom is knowing not to put a tomato in a fruit salad.”