Thoughts on The Canvas Strategy


Recently I was reflecting on what Ryan Holiday calls The Canvas Strategy. The concept, as he puts it, is to put your ego aside and find canvases for other people to paint on. I like to think of it as clearing a path for someone else to more easily walk down, or, as Ryan’s mentor put it to him, make other people look good. 

It turns out that making other people look good is one of the best ways to learn from them, earn yourself a champion, and it surprisingly easy to do. Here’s the thing: there is a lot of monotonous work that people would easily hand over if someone else offered. Furthermore, identifying inefficiencies is only possible when you know what the steps are. By taking on part of this project you not only are helping to clear the path, but you have something to offer for improvements in the future. 

Is there someone you would like to learn from or want to be your champion? Consider helping to clear a path they are walking down. As Holiday so eloquently put it in Ego Is The Enemy, “The person who clears the path ultimately controls its direction.”


One Comment

  1. This is great advice… in my experience, the canvas strategy also helps distinguish you as the helpful signal in a sea of self-serving noise.


Leave a Reply