On Taking Credit

There are two types of people in the world: Those that give credit and those who take it.

In fact, there might be a third as well: Those who have no idea how to do either one of those things…

There is an art and a science of giving (and receiving) credit and it takes time and practice and a good deal of being on both ends of the spectrum for one to figure out how best to dispense and receive it.

There are many folks who are terrible at giving credit when credit is due. This happens a lot in younger folks who have yet to understand that there are very few “new” and distinctly unique ideas in the world and that most of who they are and what they know was formulated years (if not decades and/or centuries) ago by someone else.

They are, essentially, regurgitating someone else’s genius and perspective. Consequently, you should give credit to the folks who gave you that idea and take it for what it’s worth. No harm done (and this is better for your soul).

The problem is one of insecurity and I can empathize with the feeling of not being good or great enough to form unique ideas. It’s this idea that if you can’t¬†contribute some unique concept or idea in some social setting then you may feel like you’re a “less than,” which, of course, is entirely untrue.


The cure, of course, is to just give away credit as much as you possibly can, all the time. This isn’t false humility, it’s just stating what everyone already knows to be true:¬†That idea or concept or perspective was not originally yours and so you’re borrowing it, using it, and that’s okay.

The more you can do it the better and less awkward it becomes. Strangely, you also begin to enjoy social settings and conversations more and it’ll be less about positioning or politicking in a dialogue and more about building real, authentic relationships.

If you don’t, well, people will come to simply know you as “that guy or gal” that doesn’t give credit where it’s due and, over the long run, that’s one way toward social suicide.

It’s just not an attractive character trait or quality.

And… you know… you can still create astronomical value by just being who you are, the very person you were created to be. Funny how that work.