Can you be original in a world where everything has been done before?
Have you ever started to write or speak about a topic believing it is a great and original idea? Then, you are told that so and so has already said that, built it or sold it? The concept or belief that there is nothing original and everything has been done before has been leaked into our heads from way before school started.
Yet, if we study famous writers and artists, all of them started off by copying, imitating or just plain stealing from those that went before. During the Elizabethan era, stealing words, stories and plays was rife. We know now that Shakespeare stole heavily and blatantly from his contemporary, Christopher Marlowe. However, fifteen years later when he penned Hamlet, Authentic Shakespeare evolved.
-Originality is the art of hiding your source – Harry Roolaart
There is nothing new in this. Many singers begin their careers singing ‘cover’ songs, and with abundant rehearsals and good connections, transform into original talent.
We know that copying, imitating and stealing is the way kids learn. As you experience more, unearth and identify what is your true ‘voice”, the pioneer, the maverick in you is born.
There is always a new approach to becoming a virtuoso. It is your unique take on a topic. Your authentic version of life. Many of us first need to scrape away the dust of conditioning, religious indoctrination and peer group pressure or political trends. But once achieved, it is truly amazing what brilliant ingenious ideas you can create.
-Original thought is like original sin: both happened before you were born to people you could not have possibly met – Fran Lebowitz
Think about Jazz music, those incredible improvised solos Coltrane or Ella Fitzgerald accomplished spontaneously. Pure bona fide inspiration. It is all about the remix. Building on what has gone before and adding your twist of lemon. Your toque of unique inspiration, your shaken but not stirred style.
So, how can you spark ‘original thoughts’?
One way is to take yourself out of your comfort zone…yes, be uncomfortable, not suffer… but push yourself into thinking outside of your usual box. I find travelling solo demands me to make decisions, ask questions, look for opportunities, solve challenges and take sensible chances.
It could be a long train journey, a flight, a walk along the shore, a situation where you can open your mind to seeing, thinking and believing in “another” way. Literally, take your mind on a journey. It is also about switching off the routine thinking, ready-made answers…perhaps, breaking a rule or two!
Don’t think that you can’t be original…you are original! Allow yourself to believe that you can write, speak, sing, produce your own unique version.
Step Up & Stand Out encourages you to find your original voice, whether it is for speaking on stage, writing a novel or just asking your boss for more money!