Originality is overrated
There’s such a pressure in everything we do to be original. Original goals blog posts, music, products, etc, etc etc. It’s so prevalent that it actually makes me tired. I’m convinced the pursuit of originality is just a cover. A cover for procrastination. A reason not to do anything. Instead of taking action, we wait and wait and wait for something 100% original:
- That one idea
- That one product
- That one business model
- That one something….
It’s not going to happen. After trying & trying
All My Ideas Are Taken!
Ever say that to yourself? Well guess what? They probably are. Now get over it and start doing something.
It’s more important to do SOMETHING, even if it’s not 100% original, than to do nothing.
If you do SOMETHING, you can at least put your own unique [and smart] twist on it, but if you do nothing, then you still have nothing.
Lady Gaga & Problogger
A few days later [Several people corrected me here, so I thought I’d make the change. Mars actually published his article a few days before Karol’s went live ;)], Mars Dorian wrote a guest post for Think Traffic.
- Karol’s article was titled 9 Proven Tips For Creating An Extraordinarily Successful Blog [Lady Gaga Edition]
- Mars’ article was titled What Lady Gaga Can Teach You About Spreading Your Influence
The cynical person would say one of them took the Lady Gaga idea from the other, but knowing the respect they have for each other as well as the work and preparation that go into guest posts, I know better. Sometimes people just have similar ideas.
But here’s the interesting part.
Even though Mars & Karol wrote on the same pop star with the same theme and even some of the same points, they still wrote two different articles, on two different blogs, to two different audiences, and got two different responses.
Karol wrote an article that Mars could never write and Mars wrote an article that Karol could never write.
Why? They’re both unique. They both have their own style and they both have their own thing that they’re known for. In other words, even though their blog post idea wasn’t necessarily “original”, it was unique.
This happens to me all the time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had posts on my “to-write” list only to find them already written on someone else’s site. It’s not that anyone ‘stole’ the idea at all, but it’s incredibly hard to be truly original.
People talk a lot about the greatness of meeting with like-minded people. I agree and I really do enjoy it, but the problem with like-minded people is that they all tend to think…alike.
Brain surgery, I know, but similar thoughts and ideas are constantly flowing through everyone’s brains at the same time and holding out for something 100% original can make you want to bang your head against the wall.
How ‘Bout Them Apples?
Whether or not you like Apple as a company, the iPhone has been one of the most disruptive product introductions of the last 5 years. It’s new, shiny, and Apple-y but you know what it’s not? Original. It wasn’t the first cell phone. It wasn’t the first smart phone. It wasn’t even the first phone that played music.
Steve Jobs & Jonathan Ive didn’t care what LG, Nokia, RIM or Sony were making. They didn’t care about being “original.” Instead they focused on creating a device that Apple and only Apple could make. They weren’t the originals, but they were unique. They were Apple and they did what only Apple could do. People don’t buy from Apple because they come out with the first iteration of a new hardware. They buy from Apple because they’re Apple and it’s the only place in town that does what Apple does.
Always Back To The List
I’m not the first person to have a bucket list impossible list of things I want to do with my life. A lot of my friends do too.
This weekend I’m running my first half-marathon. I’m not the first person to ever run one and I’m certainly not “the original person” to decide to go run 13.1 miles, but that doesn’t matter to me. To me, it’s not about what other people are doing, It’s about what I’m doing. It’s my list. It’s my experience. It’s my story.
You have your own list. Your own experiences. Your own story.
In whatever you’re doing, don’t worry about being 100% original, just worry about being you.[Photo by ThomasHawk]