Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
– C.S Lewis
For a long time I have proclaimed that you have a personal obligation to be a success. And I have challenged you to go out and live your dreams each and every day in order to make that success a reality. What happens, though, when you agonize over whether you’re original enough or innovative enough or path-breaking or even just plain weird enough?
We’ve all had it happen.
We see our role models or our competitors or someone appears on television or in our favorite magazine and they’re doing the very same thing we want to do. Or are already doing, as well.
I’m usually pretty upbeat and focused. Still, even I’ve had those days when I see someone else speaking at an event or I read someone’s book or I listen to a recording and think, “Why am I even bothering anymore? They’re so much better than me.” And it can get even worse when we see a competitor or role model attracting bigger crowds, more customers, and larger sales. Wouldn’t you begin to wonder if you’re just hitting your head up against a wall or running in place?
And don’t get me started on how many times I’ve suddenly seen something or heard something or experienced something and said, “I had that idea years ago!” By the way, I see this most in the entertainment arena. Indeed, ask any author, playwright, or screenwriter about synchronicity. It’s almost like a universal mind is sending the same story, script, and book ideas to those receptive enough to listen at the same time.
It can get pretty discouraging . . .
. . . unless you know how to refocus and reframe and realize what’s truly happening. The secret is not to wait until “your day will come.” The secret is not to wait until “your ship will come in.” And the secret is certainly not to give up on your passions, loves, and positive addictions.
The First Reality to understand is that, as Oscar Wilde put it, “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” I wonder if any of us are really first with any idea. That being said, you can be incredibly original with your manner of presentation, your cross-breeding and mixing of ideas, and your life story. Don’t be a copycat. Be daring. Be novel. And be aroused by all that interests you.
The Second Reality to embrace is that there are plenty of people out there who want to hear “your” message or buy “your” product or use “your” service. And there are more people coming online and finding you every single day. The world is getting smaller and your connections are growing. Do you just frequent one store all the time or one restaurant or eat the same thing day in and day out? I doubt it. It’s no different with whatever you have to say or offer or give to others. Rest assured that there is an audience for you.
The Third Reality to take to heart is that there will always be someone richer or bigger or better than you. Find the successful ones in your line of work and learn from them. It’s like Tony Robbins says: “Success leaves clues.” If there is a business or individual you look up to, find their ritual of success and take from it what can also authentically work for you. The interesting thing is that when you combine another’s habit of success with your own personality and abilities, a strange alchemy happens . . . it’s called Originality.
The Fourth Reality to embed in your thinking is that you have to believe in yourself. I know that sounds old-hat and overused. But if you don’t believe in yourself or your idea or your product, why should anyone else? Have pride in what you want to achieve. Have confidence in the source of your inspiration and where it is leading you.
The Fifth Reality to adopt is that you are already an original. As long as you bring the genuine you to what you do and say, you can’t help but be an unparalleled success. That does not mean by the way that everyone is going to love you or buy your product or read your book or listen to your thoughts. That’s not the type of success I’m referring to. I’m talking about doing what you love and being true to your personality. Real success is enjoying what you do, not necessarily how many people are involved.
Now, go out and make it an ORIGINAL day . . .
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