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You Are A Mashup Of What You Choose To Let Into Your Life

I have just finished reading a book many other creative people reading this may have heard of: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon which is full of great advice, tips and inspiration for creatives.

I could probably write several posts on this book, sharing some of its great insights, but I won't because I'd probably just end up quoting the entire book word for word. Probably the point I loved the most however, was this idea of 'Garbage in, Garbage out.'

I spoke a while ago in my How to be Happy video, about the importance of filling your head with as much good stuff on a daily basis as possible. If you fill your head with negative images from the news constantly, you're gonna live in fear. If you fill your head with books, podcasts, films, which offer inspiration, happiness and that teach you something, yourself in turn will be much happier and fired up.

Austin in his book makes the point that this works the same for artists trying to find inspiration too. To quote some extracts from this section of the book:

"You don't get to pick your family, but you can pick your teachers and you can pick your friends and you can pick the music you listen to and you can pick the books you read and you can pick the movies you see.

You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences.

We are shaped and fashioned by what we love!

You're only going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with.

Your job is to collect the good ideas. The more good ideas you collect, the more you can choose from to be influenced by."

I love this for several reasons. I'm always wanting to find other creative people to give me inspiration, to help drive me to the next level, to help give me ideas etc but I always thought I had to find this directly in the town that I live. Living in a small place I'd get frustrated when I'd struggle to meet many like minded people.

The truth is though that we can be shaped by, influenced by and gain inspiration and motivation through the books we read, the videos we watch, the work we look at on the internet etc.

So lately as I debate which direction I want to go in as a photographer I've been looking through a lot of photo books by my favourite photographers, watching interviews by them on YouTube and through that I've been finding a lot of ideas, inspiration and more clarity.

So you see there are so many reasons why the content, the ideas, the pictures we decide to consume on a daily basis are so important and help shape the person we become.

What great things are you consuming which are giving you inspiration or helping you become a better person? Let me know in the comments.



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