Do you struggle to find opportunities for you to take the things you want to do in life further?
Does it feel like other people get chances and you get overlooked? Are you still waiting to be picked, frustrated that other people (those who aren’t as good as you) are given opportunities you long for?
The solution might be simpler than you think. In this you will learn how to create more opportunities for yourself… albeit in a slightly counter-intuitive way.
The Canvas Strategy
In the book, Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday introduced a stand out concept known as the “Canvas Strategy”. It stems back to his first job as a Hollywood assistant when he was given the advice, “make other people look good” if you want to succeed.
He describes it as decent, yet fairly inadequate advice. He now believes he wouldn’t have succeeded as he did if he had stuck to that approach. Instead, he chose to help people actually BE good rather than simply trying to make them look good.
He wanted to build space so that people can become great at what they do. Not simply making them look better, but giving them what they need to actually BE better.
His advice instead became: “find canvases for other people to paint on”. What he describes as “The Canvas Strategy”.
A Counter-Intuitive Approach
This is a startling difference. It can be applied in many areas of your daily life. In many ways it can feel counter-productive, but Ryan insists that the way to create more opportunities and to succeed without being driven by ego is: give away ideas, share your networks, produce abundance, and give it away.
These are key concepts when it comes to being a gentle rebel, similar to what we talked about in Episode 217.
Let go of those ego-driven feelings that eye others with suspicion and as competition. Remove the instinct to hoard opportunities and stop others from receiving them. And instead, to be frivolous, and actively build canvasses for others to do what they do best in ways that they are unrestricted in their ability to do great things.
You Have Been Given Canvasses
Everyone has experiences of being given a canvas to paint on. Whether from a teacher, a parent, a member of your family, or a stranger who saw potential in you and wanted you to give it a go reaching it.
These experiences are ones in which the other person gave you the opportunity to shine, without any obvious desire for anything in return. They are people who you remember with fondness, and feel a deep bond towards.
People Who Give Others a Canvas on Which to Paint:
- Make a great impression on others and the world
- Create a solid reputation, are trusted, and have a powerful legacy
- Naturally attract more opportunities
How Do You Build Canvasses?
- Name Drop in Positive Ways
- Invest in a Small Number of Communities
- Share Insights and Resources
- Be a Bridge Between People and Ideas
- Make Suggestions and Offer Your Support
In this episode I expand on these methods of building canvasses. I talk about some of the joys and challenges involved with using the Canvas Strategy as introverts and highly sensitive gentle rebels.
Over to You
How do you build canvasses for other people to paint on? Can you think of any experiences you’ve had personally when someone has clearly built a canvas for you to paint on? Please leave your response in the comments below.