The Ideal Steal

Trouble brews when we steal from the poor and give to the rich.

Robert Kiyosaki

Disney’s animated version of Robin Hood was a vestigial part of my childhood. I watched the VHS many times, humming and singing along with the musical numbers. Decades later, I’m discovering the wisdom hidden in that film.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Robin Hood’s claim to fame was that he robbed from the rich and redistributed the wealth to the poor. Why would this foxy character do such a thing?

Stealing germinates as a simple thought in our minds: “There is something I want.” When we don’t have the money, skill, time, or patience to acquire it, we pursue stealing. In the fable of Robin Hood, the poor coveted the supposed riches of the aristocracy.

Most individuals can recognize that stealing is an immoral action. It is so much so, that it has cemented its place as the third yama: asteya. This virtue translates to “non-stealing” and addresses the pilfering of both the tangible and intangible.

Maybe you’ve been inspired by quotes like Pablo Picasso’s – “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” This is not the same type of stealing I’m talking about. These ideas, thoughts, and creations were meant to be shared prolifically. Stealing is when we take something that is not freely offered.

We often steal from ourselves. We limit our joy of the present by ruminating on the past and anticipating the future. We also curb our potential with limiting beliefs.

Our stealing permeates into the external world as well. For example, a friend may come to you for some help. They ask, “what do you think I should do?” Don’t you dare give them an answer! For, if you do, you’re stealing away their power. The power to have control over their thoughts and decisions. In most cases, they’re just looking for support and validation for decisions they’ve already made. A more empowering approach would be to pose a question: “What options are you learning towards?”

Given that thieves are everywhere, how do you solidify your defenses against these malicious actors? Write down what’s valuable to you and guard it with your life. Perhaps that’s your time, heart, money, family, or friends. In every interaction, deliberately ask yourself if someone is trying to take something you’re not offering. Become good at saying no.

In some circumstances, the attackers are extremely skilled. We often discover the theft too late. Take social media, the undisputed master at pickpocketing our time. It is only hours after a TikTok fest do we realize that something feels wrong. And at that point, there’s reasonable doubt on who the culprit actually was!

And in these cases, be that cunning fox and take back what other’s stole from you. That truly is the ideal steal.

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