Justin Bryant0 Comments
June 22, 2016
What if, every time you met someone new, you tried to find one thing you could do to help them or make them look good? What if you were willing to do what no one else wanted to do?
This is what Ryan Holiday, in his book, Ego Is The Enemy, calls the “Canvas Strategy”.
This strategy has been implemented by Benjamin Franklin as well as the 4-time Super Bowl Champion head coach for the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick.
That ought to get your attention if you’re wondering whether it works.
But, this unorthodox method of helping others to ultimately help yourself can be a much better alternative to the typical selfish, egotistic one that is becoming more and more common.
Thinking that you can start off at the top, bypassing everything in between is a total fantasy. Drop that from your mind right now, if you’ve ever thought that was possible.
Ryan Holiday reminds us that relationships and actions are very important to success. By letting your ego get in the way and trying to take all the credit for yourself that you can, you end up shooting yourself in the foot.
Too many people are so worried about their reputation.
They’re trying to be the next big shot as quickly as possible, by trying to make it look like they are one without actually putting the work into just making the company better.
Being so worried about short term popularity and fame won’t get you far at all. It won’t make you stand out as someone who is of value to the company you work for.
First off, let me get a common objection out of the way. I’m am not saying you should suck up to your boss, partners or coworkers. That is not the point.
The point is to actually do things that help the company improve and help those you are working with.
Why do this? Why not take credit for every bit of your work possible? Because it pays off better in the long run.
Just imagine if you find one way to make each person you work with have an easier schedule, do a better job or look good. It won’t go unnoticed.
If you try and use the alternative of alienating or trying to one-up others to make yourself more successful, you will accumulate more enemies than friends.
Using the canvas strategy is much more effective for the company from day one and for you long term.
In fact, using this strategy, you will earn countless favors to call upon in the future, become extremely knowledgeable by solving many different problems, be known as indispensable and have lots of great relationships different people.
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Bill Belichick would never have been as successful as he is if he let his ego or a sense of entitlement get in his way.
As someone who started out getting his first NFL job working for free, sitting through hours and hours of film, which no other coaches wanted to do, he quickly became a valuable, respected member of the staff.
And pretty soon, he was paid like it. But he started out doing what he could to benefit the team and coaching staff over himself. That is why he became valuable to the team and respected by his peers.
He has now won 4 Super Bowls as head coach and 6 overall. It seems to still work for him.
Benjamin Franklin didn’t care about taking all the credit. He would instead help others look good and learn from results that peaked his interest, in some cases without anyone even knowing he was involved.
For instance, he wrote very popular letters under the name, “Silence Dogood” to a newspaper his brother owned without taking any credit for them. The newspaper was the beneficiary of them, not Benjamin Franklin at the time.
The newspaper, as well as his brother had no idea it was him writing the letters for a long time.
They thought it was some young, creative prodigy and their newspaper was really capitalizing on the popularity the letters brought them from being published on the front page.
Benjamin Franklin, though, was just doing it to see how public opinion worked and get his ideas out into the world. He didn’t have a big ego or care about taking credit for it.
Now he is considered one of the founding fathers of America, he had many well-known inventions and ideas, and his image is recognizable by millions of people as the man on the $20 bill.
Not bad, huh?
Related: Our Only Limitations Are The Ones We Set Up In Our Own Minds
Ryan Holiday tells us that greatness comes from humble beginnings.
Being the least important person in the room and doing all the grunt work that no one else wants to do, always pays off when people start seeing the results you’re getting from doing so.
Sacrificing your short-term credit for the sake of helping others and ultimately getting a better payoff in the future, is a much wiser approach.
Think of it as an investment, where you earn more interest over time as you help others. It feels good to help others and they tend to want to return the favor.
Everyone benefits when you find ways to help yourself by first helping others. As a bonus, you will develop a lot more friends than enemies this way.
I'm an entrepreneur, fitness freak, artist, car enthusiast, sports fan and self improvement addict. My goal is to help people be their best and create incredible businesses that change the world.
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