Original, Not Original

by | Jul 1, 2019 | Change, Ideas |

On the skirting board (baseboard) in our kitchen, we have a small sticker of a mouse with a paint roller in his hand paining a mouse door (one you’d see in the cartoons). This was inspired by a Scottie dog sticker on a wall by the stair landing of a house we viewed when we were house hunting 4.5 years ago. Blogging daily for me has been inspired by Seth and Bernadette. How I think has been inspired by countless people. I borrow other people’s ideas, thoughts, ways of being all the time.

We all do this. Very few of us have a truly original idea; almost everything is built on the shoulders of others who came before us. Our originality comes from who we are, our context, and how we mash together ideas and apply them in our context. It is not about making exact copies of the other; it’s about applying learning from another and mixing it with learning from yet another and applying in the context we find ourselves.

When we are fearful or when we operate in a culture of fear and compliance, we try to make exact copies of the other because we are scared of getting it wrong. It takes courage to try to apply an idea in a new context as it will usually not go the way we expect, especially the first time. And it can be terrifying to try.

Unfortunately courage does not exist without fear; it is precisely because we experience new, unknown situations that courage is required. Borrowing from others, learning from them can help us decide which direction to go, where to step next; but it is up to us to take the step. Most people are genuinely pleased when our ideas or conversations inspire others to do something differently. The world has enough fear to go around; what our communities, our organisations, our world needs is more courage.

Photo by Thiago Barletta


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