"Your Ideas Have All Been Stolen Already"
There are a number of writers and thinkers I look to on a regular basis for ideas, inspiration and insight, and Seth Godin is one of them. For many years, now, he has upended my view of what is important, what we should value and what we should focus on. It was his writing that got me started with my own blog.
Which is why I thought a recent post of his was worth sharing. In it, he talks about our continual search to be absolutely original, and by extension, our search to do something that is truly and completely original. He relates it to his time as a book packager, when:
"The only topics I invented that had never been published before were books I was unable to sell.
No one expects you to do something so original, so unique, so off the wall that it has never been conceived of before. In fact, if you do that, it's unlikely you will find the support you need to do much of anything with your idea.
So, now you can work to merely make things that are remarkable, delightful and important. You can focus on connection, on making a difference, on building whole solutions that matter."
Seth's point is simple - it isn't that we shouldn't strive to be original. Rather, it's that we cannot let this be an excuse, an obstacle.
Whether it's writing a book, starting a business or creating art, all to often, we make excuses. We say we are holding ourselves to an impossibly high standard of 'originality' when really, more often than not, we're just making excuses.
We're afraid of the implications, of the uncertainty, of the courage needed. We lack the confidence.
Forget that. Get started. Focus on action, on movement. Just start adding value, start refining the existing idea, the one that gets you excited, that moves you. Do work that matters.
Because even if there are competing solutions out there today, no one has a lock on 'perfect'. There are always customers that are not being served optimally. There are always market niches that have been left ignored. There are always improvements to be made.
Go get started. Go make your change.
Do the work that matters to you.
Because all of your ideas have already been stolen.