7 Lessons From Banksy: Take Brilliant, Not Blah Action


This post is the fourth in our series, How To Take The Adventure Of Your Lifetime. (And 20 of our Posse started embarking on a 30 day Action Course yesterday… wish them luck… I’m going to throw it at them. :) )


You are never fast enough, right?


You are never efficient enough.

You are never strong enough.

Your actions feel like waste…

And your big, beautiful goals taunts you.


You lie awake in bed…

Trying to figure out how to get “There” quicker, smarter, and easier…

How to get out on your travel adventure sooner.

How you can get your blog to make more than 32 cents.

How your music career can finally jump into the next gear.

And how you can avoid that Painful Struggle that keeps hitting you in the teeth every day.


But if you were to be completely honest with yourself…

You feel like a waste.




Gosh… I know exactly how this feels.

Until pretty recently, my monster goals seemed like they would never come true.

They laughed at me as I went around in circles.


But now… I feel like, “It’s just a matter of time.”

Any day now.

Shit… I’m feeling damn good right this moment.




We’ve been talking about taking action recently…

But that is one the Second Step on your journey to your dreams.

You already passed the First Step, which was building up your confidence to leave The Dead Zone (aka TV Land, Zone Out, No Dreams, & Dull Comfort).

And now you are moving to the beautiful Third Step…

Taking Brilliant Action.


Bigger steps, stronger leaps, less down time, and soon enough… you will feel like a GOD.

You want to rock this, right?

Well… let’s do this.


I called in my buddy, Banksy to teach us some lessons on Brilliant Action.

You know Banksy, right?

Pst. He doesn’t know we are buddies yet… let me break the news to him though, please. :)




Banksy is the most fascinating artist, prankster, and activist in the world.


He is hailed as an “art hero.”

His work sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

His fan base is massive and growing by the second.

And the whole world is impacted by his art.


Banksy is fucking killing it.


This is post is for you… Mr. “I’m Bringing The Action Every Day… But I’m Getting My Ass Kicked.”

A look at Banksy’s life and work could shine a new light on your struggles.

Might be just like a new sexy graffiti mural on the side of a boring bank.


If you aren’t in the action phase, yet then…

Don’t read this!

Go make something first.

Go do something.

Do anything.

Then when you get good and frustrated…

This article will be waiting for you. :)



I am assuming you know who Banksy is…


For those like my friend, Matt… who haven’t heard of Banksy (couldn’t believe it either ;) )… here’s the brief story.

He is a stencil graffiti artist… public prankster… and a filmmaker.

He has had his work in some of the biggest museums in the world.

The Lourve in Paris.

The Modern Museum of Art in New York City.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The British Museum.

A bunch more…


But before he was “Banksy,” he had a unique & brilliant way of showing his work in the biggest museums in the world.

He went in with his painting under his trench coat, a title card, and some Super Glue.

Keeping an eye out for the guards he would STICK it to the wall.


He’s in the Lourve.

It took the British museum 8 days to notice the piece he snuck in.


Banksy also went to the war torn Middle East.

He has painted murals on the wall in Ramallah in the West Bank.

He has done other stunts like…

  • Sneaking a Guatenamo Prisoner Doll into Disneyland and putting it next to one of the rides.
  • Painting houses in New Orleans after Katrina.
  • Getting the world’s best street artists to turn the worst slum in London into an art paradise.

And much more… Google the dude, if you haven’t heard of him.




But that isn’t even the most interesting thing about Banksy…

The real fascinating thing is that no one really knows who he is (there is speculation though… as you can tell from the photo above).

He has kept his identity a secret…

And this is the main reason he will be our teacher today.


If anyone knows about Brilliant Action, it’s Banksy.

In scouring his work, I found 7 lessons to help “Mr. Huge Goals, Who Is Hating Life Now, Yet Knows You Can KILL It Too” start taking the strong, efficient, and powerful actions to go after his adventure of a lifetime.


8 Lessons About Taking Brilliant Action From Banksy:




1. Learn Your Craft.

Banksy is big now… but he started making graffiti in the late 1980′s in England and he didn’t have an art show until June 19, 2002.

That’s over 10 years.

Have you put in that much time yet?

I haven’t.

You might be able to speed up the learning process by seeking out brilliant mentors, but either way… being brilliant takes time, effort, sweat, blisters, sleepless nights, zero bank accounts, and many days working on your craft.

This ain’t ever going to be like the Zone Out Dead Life. Go work at a cubicle for that numbness.

Each day of your life will be a struggle. A battle. A fight.

And that is how you want it… right?

That is how you will grow.

So… chill a bit and enjoy the taste of struggle.


Enjoy the fight.

Steven Pressfield, author of The War Of Art (read this!), says something like…

You are on the field now. You are in the arena. This is where you wanted to be, right?

Do you want to go back to munching popcorn and slurping soda in the stands?

You always can go back… but we both know you won’t.

So relax… It won’t be easy, but it is just a matter of time for you. 




2. Break the Walls.

Banksy hung his paintings in museums by hiding them under his coat.

Haha… I love this.

So you don’t have to just TAKE the struggle in your teeth every day… fight.

Ask yourself this question,

Where do you want to get?


Are you on the Normal Route?

Do you assume it will just take forever and ever?

Try this…

Pretend you could get wherever you want to go… soon.

Let’s say, you want to have a successful music career.

Well paying gigs… a cd that sells to more than your mom… maybe a few groupies ;) .

What bold move could you make to accelerate your progress?

Are you willing to hide a painting under your coat?




3. Be You.

Banksy’s work centers around his own experiences.

He was influenced by the Bristol underground scene in the late 80′s… dark, sampling, racial tensions… you can feel all of that in his work.

He also made a SICK documentary (which you can watch free online, Exit Through The Gift Shop) and when he lost at the Oscars, his work reflected it.

Are you being your True Self?

Try this…

Look to your past for inspiration.

Check out old journals, letters, even emails… and look for themes in what you create.

Your early years have a huge impact on your personality and can provide valuable inspiration.

I’ve used the advice I just gave you and had a maximum jolt of self-awareness. Kinda fun reading about how bad I wanted to be interesting and get a lady friend too. :)


Bad artists imitate, great artists steal


4. Steal.

Banksy steals.

Blek le Rat is a 60-year old graffit artist, who pioneered the same technique Banksy uses. Blek is the father of stencil graffiti and he isn’t anywhere near as rich, famous, or influential as Banksy.

But hey… all our ideas are remixes, right?

The greats steal.

Bob Dylan did.

Steve Jobs did.

I do.

I look at it this way…

Ideas are not intellectual property.

Ideas are meant to further humankind.

Take the best ideas… mix them up with your own personality.

Poof… you have a new creation.

True originality is an illusion.

Try this…

Is there someone you could steal ideas from, but you have been too “moral” or “honorable?”

Give it a try and mix it up with your own dash of Sauce too.

***Ps. I put this into practice with all the photos on this page… Yoink! (You can see I added my Sauce though :) ).




5. Embrace the Hate.

Banksy is adored by his fans… but hated by the rest.

The art world thinks his work is simplistic, thoughtless crap.

Graffiti artists think he is a snobby sell-out.

He gets as much love as he gets hate.

And if you want to make an impression…

Get ready to be hit in the face with hate.

Accept it. Love it. Kiss it. Fuck it. :)

Welcome to humanity.

Until we are all the enlightened creatures, I envision us becoming… you won’t get anywhere by making everyone happy.

The day someone called me a “douchebag mother fucker”… was the day I knew I was getting somewhere with Adventure Sauce.

Try this…

What have you been NOT doing to avoid the Hate?

Go do it.




6. Get An X-Factor.

No one knows who Banksy is.

He has created such a mystique… a conundrum… a modern myth… and this has undoubtedly added to his legend.

We want to know who he is!

Reporters have hounded him.

The police have investigated him.

His fans have stalked him.

And they have had some success…

But it is too late.

Banksy’s X-Factor is his concealed identity.

What is your X-Factor?

What is the thing that sets you a part from everyone else?

Chris Guillebeau’s X-Factor is his journey to every country in the world.

Tyler Tervooren’s X-Factor is his 1% club.

Jack Kerouac’s was his Spontaneous Prose writing style.

Alexander Supertramp’s was burning all his money and living like a tramp.

And I’ve hitchhiked the USA and made a mini-viral video about it…

(that’s why you are here, right?).

Your X-Factor sets you a part.

Your X-Factor makes people give a shit about you.

Your X-Factor makes people check out your blog.

Your X-Factor makes people buy your CD.

Your X-Factor gets you the job… when others don’t.

Your X-Factor is vital to your art, business, and your adventures.

It is what makes your story worth listening too.

Try this…

What would your friends say is really different and unique about you (ask them!)?

What have you done that most others haven’t done?

Or maybe you have a combination of traits that haven’t been combined yet (I’m thinking Rapper, Hitchhiker, & Wall Street Guy :) )?

If you don’t have a million dollar X-Factor yet… no worries…

Maybe you could add one to the Adventure of your Lifetime. :)




7. Know your purpose.

You can feel Banksy’s purpose.

He cares.

He has a mission.

He has a calling.

All is work is driven by an anti-capitalist, rebellious heart. If you connect to his mission, then you feel his work.

What is your purpose?

What is your definition?

Why do you make your music? Why do you write on your blog? Why do you take photographs? What are your videos about?

Why are you enduring the pain of creation… when you could be kickin’ it in a half daze?

You have a point…

And you NEED to dust it off.

This is huge.

What is your purpose?


If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about… I want to help you find it.

The next couple weeks will be about our Purpose.

I asked Jacob Sokol from Sensophy all about this subject and will be sharing that interview soon.

Ask your questions about Purpose in the comments.

Write me an email with questions.

If you know your purpose… please share too and help me out with the questions.


Your friend,



PS. I’d dig it if you shared this post with your peeps.  Think it would help them? Would they get a kick out of the Banksy pieces? My new photo style looks cool, but it is taking me A LOT of time and I’m not sure I will continue it.

What do you think?






24 Responses to 7 Lessons From Banksy: Take Brilliant, Not Blah Action
  1. Stefan
    October 9, 2012 |

    Hi Ben
    Like this post – the use of Banksy to illustrate your idea was great. Keep it coming.

  2. Ruth Arevalo
    October 9, 2012 |

    Here it goes……

    I graduated from Culinary School after initially running straight from high school to San Francisco, because I was headed to putting a Head stone next to my parents, I decided I was going to go Mexico and do my externship, maybe running away more or maybe just to continue my routine in another chair in the world.
    It broke me……
    Even though I loved cooking, I spent a unexpected year traveling putting closure on my parents birth and death.
    I spent a year being uncomfortable, in pain, shedding tears, being angry, drinking, partying, loving, breaking hearts, thinking, writing, disappointing myself and others, building myself, learning a new language, being interrogated, sitting on borders waiting for them to open, being objectified as I objectified others.

    Alone I traveled fragile turning into stability.

    Culture shocked and unable to understand America when I returned, I went back to work working in kitchens, 15 hour days dedicated to an art that I learned and something that I build myself up in.

    I have this nickname “Ruthless” in the kitchen. Years went by and I realized it wasnt who I was( especially in this context).

    I would walk out the door and spend countless unpaid hours dedicated to growing community. But I would walk in the door to my job and be known as “RUthless” a person that no one would talk to, no one wanted to mess up around, etc.

    Well let me tell you something!!!! I took my Ruthlessness and turned it into my art of service.
    I love cooking and educating people about health and nutrition, but its not the only thing for me, multiple talents and ideas surging through me.

    I had a very amazing Executive Chef that constantly reminded me of this. He would always ask me, ” Ruth you know how you get 20 years of experience? ” (I knew the answer), He says,” 20 years of experience.”

    NO matter what I wanted to do in my life, I knew just like to be an artist of the culinary world you have to put in the long hours and love the grueling heat, and the negative feedback, and meeting deadlines, and working with people, and teaching people, taking on more and more responsibility, pushing yourself, working regardless of the outside circumstances.

    In the kitchen….!you dont get breaks, you dont get vacation, and you dont ask for time-off!

    This was embedded in my early on, which I used to follow with enthusiasm. Yet you realize how easy you get burned out.!
    I took what was/is embedded me and follow it,but also realize that there has to be time to step away.

    My service, my community building, my hunger for knowledge only grew. I knew when I came back to the States that I wanted to be involved in my community and helping. I started volunteering at the Red Cross. Mundane but it was nice to interact with people since my days were with kitchen people, being a women in a kitchen tends to lead to crass behavior and a very dirty mouth), talk to people, figure out how things are.

    Now its been close to six years networking, putting my foot in organizations, working with NGO’s, working with multiple community organizations, sleepless nights, advocating disasters, english lessons gone bad, tears over missed opportunities, people thinking I was just a number 223,794,432.45 volunteer, who gives a shit about me.
    People telling me that I cant change the world, that I cant make a difference, peopled telling me that I am stupid, people not understanding me, people ripping every ounce of strength from me to where I cant even move.

    My six years as of today is still going, I am not where I aspire to be, but know that my time is the only thing that will get me where I need to be.
    Patience is my virtue.!
    My life is constant change everyday, because I put myself in new situations everyday, which breaks me from monotonous routine. (which I am so thankful to not live by!!!!!!)

    I see myself growing, along with my mistakes, and sometimes big ambitions. I grow slowly finding my path,
    realizing after finally letting myself read my parents journals, my unburned journals, that I am a product of both my parents. They both died by the time I was 12, I remember them, but its so very reassuring that their big hearts are within my existence and it pushes me to make the biggest changes.

    I will do this!!!!

    My purpose, well, I hate labeling myself and I hate labels and names, because it gives an identity, I dont know if I can live up to it! Yet I think I would be ok with
    being known as a
    Person for the People.
    Yeah!!! I know its been done!!! I get it!
    Everyone knows that person that is sort of like me or is like me.
    I hope to create more people that want to be educated, want to learn, want to create, and want to build community!

    Most of my adventures include traveling and being educated on issues so that I can educate my community. Education is what will create change.
    I dont need to be known. My face is not important, what I can show and teach and let people take from is what I feel is most important. From the smallest miniscules of things to turning oppression into opportunity.
    To helping people get their voice heard, helping people accomplish their dreams, helping people make their own personal or group adventures happen, or just make you smile today because you dont want to be in a bad mood.
    MY PURPOSE is helping people…….

    Can I help you?

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      October 9, 2012 |

      WOW!!! That was a TRUE GIFT.

      Ahhh… just soaking it in, Ruth.

      You touched on so much Gold that I won’t be able to highlight it all.

      I do want to highlight one aspect though…

      Your purpose A Person for People is perfect.
      You said it well… that these words, names, and labels are not to be taken as an identity.
      They are signposts towards the true realm.

      I feel my purpose.
      It is huge. Complex. And it tingles in my belly.
      To put words to it… is almost slapping it in the face.

      Your purpose doesn’t need to be unique or catchy (that is our X-Factor… a marketing idea that can help us spread our purpose).

      Our purpose is so deep and vast that the words we ever use to describe it… look like little drunken babies. :)

      But our signposts can help point the way at times… so it is valuable to refine our signposts to keep us on path, when shit gets cloudy, foggy, and the forest is deep.

      And our signposts show others the way to our truth.

      But they can feel it.

      You are completely on point… to just do it and take it day by day.

      Ahh… this is living.
      No end… just living our purposes in Light and Darkness and Joy and Sorrow, until we pass away.

      So connected to this comment and I hope others get something from it.

    • Rachel
      October 9, 2012 |

      Ruth, you’re amazing!

    • Risseth!
      October 9, 2012 |

      WOW, really inspiring Ruth :D

  3. Tyler Tervooren
    October 9, 2012 |

    Banksy is…the man. Good luck to everyone building their x-factor. :)

  4. Matt Horwitz
    October 9, 2012 |

    Oh man… you KILLED IT! Banksy is the man! Thanks for turning me on to this epic guy ;)

    I have on my desk a little note that says “watch Exit Through the Gift Shop” – (been there for months) – I didn’t even know what it was… not only do I now know what it is, but you hooked it up with a link to watch it !!

    Diggin’ that Pablo Picas… I mean Banksy quote, too ;)

    “Ideas are not intellectual property. Ideas are meant to further humankind.”
    ~Benjamin Jenks

    Lovin’ the idea of the X-Factor :)

    Thanks man!

    P.S. Check out documentary called “The Art of the Steal.”

    P.P.S I’m done with munching popcorn and slurping soda in the stands. Fuck that shit!

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      October 9, 2012 |

      It was meant to be, HOMES.

      Yo, I still like popcorn… but let’s eat it on the FIELD.
      Extra butter. :)

  5. Luis Lopez
    October 9, 2012 |

    awesome dude! just keep doing that.. the pics takes you time , but they rock

  6. Risseth!
    October 9, 2012 |

    oh this makes me think so much. I don’t know what my purpose is.. I think I’ve always wanted to know what it is.. I think I’m working on it..
    My best friend always tells me, “you are so different, I wish more girls were like that”. But the truth is I feel normal or regular, not special.
    I know making the blog was a huge step because either it is good or bad I let myself go with it, I can write, I can share my thoughts and be me.
    I want an X Factor! so bad..
    even though I don’t know where I’m going with the blog or what to do yet, I feel that I’m in the right track. I’m doing me. Right?
    My mind is wandering so bad hahaha

    • Ruth Arevalo
      October 9, 2012 |

      You are completely on the right path. I told you once that you reminded me of me when I was your age.
      You are so full of beauty, determination, love, passion, and you are pure inspiration.
      I don’t have to meet you to know that.
      Keep going Risseth!!!!!
      Let your mind wander, its good for a open soul. Its the small steps that lead to enormous accomplishments!

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      October 11, 2012 |

      You are on the right track, Risseth! You are special. It is easy not to see our specialness, because we are with ourselves so often.

      You have begun… and X-Factors take time. :) You are taking action on your purpose… And one day soon you will feel it.

      Biggest mistake with finding your purpose is to FREAK OUT! (that is what I did).

      Just chill yo! You got a blog, keep writing, write about what it feels like not to have a purpose (although it is with you now). And we are going to go over Purpose over the next month… so lot of good stuff coming.

      (I blogged for a year… then stopped for a year and a half, before Adventure Sauce… but all that time was CRUCIAL.)

      Oh… and that fire you feel will keep you going… don’t let that fire die (even if it feels miserable sometimes).

  7. kai
    October 10, 2012 |

    amazing words ruth! i really liked the depth of truth, in the fact that 20years is 20years. haha rock on!

  8. Dan
    October 10, 2012 |

    I think purpose is something that you create out of your passion, and I’m working on mine. In fact, the more I engage with the outside world about my passion, the more opportunities just come and hit me in the face!
    It took a while, but now I’ve just got some funding to pursue my passion for making renewable energy from recycled materials, and at every corner I see help and a way to progress!
    Now that I’m pursuing this passion, my down-time is shrinking and I feel more motivated, so I now know that lazyness is sometimes just lack of inspiration. Rock on dudes – when you feel passionate about something, pursue it and engage with it. Then doors will open, and people and opportunities will spring up that will help you on your way.
    Also, when problems crop up, you are more likely to see them as opportunities to learn or grow, and not failures.

    Cheers Benjamin and everyone else – your positivity inspires me and helps me to keep going when the haters start hatin.

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      October 11, 2012 |

      Yo… I agree.

      Passion and purpose are like siamese twins.

      Passion comes from our purpose… we feel boundless energy for it.

      Sick to hear things are working for you, Dan. Really happy for you. :)

  9. Kate
    October 10, 2012 |

    Dude, great freakin’ post. Have you read the book Steal Like An Artist? It’s brilliant.

    Not entirely sure what my X-Factor is, but it’s in the works :) Luckily for me I’ve got my purpose- turn regular people into superheroes by helping them see just how awesome they are and that they can do it too. No excuses, just getting it done.

    And thanks for the reminder about embracing the hate– it comes at the perfect time for me!

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      October 11, 2012 |

      ‘Sup Kate, Miss Makin’ Superheroes!

      Heck… yeah, I love Steal like an artist. Got it and I love the art in it.

      X-Factors take time… and even once you have one… you want MORE. At least I do. :)

      Love that hate… means you are on the right path.

  10. janet
    October 15, 2012 |

    ok, now I’m feeling dumb and uncultured because i’ve never heard of Banksy :( thanks for schooling me. This is brilliant! I love his guerilla marketing tactics and gutsy moves.

    • Benjamin Oliver Jenks
      October 15, 2012 |

      :) I’m not sure the art community would agree about Banksy being “cultured,” but I know what you mean ;) . Happy to hear it hit the spot.

  11. [...] were even taking brilliant action (at times [...]

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