The Originality Mirage: How Everything’s Pretty Much a Remix

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featured image for blog post titled the originality mirage how everything’s pretty much a remix.

“I’m just worried it’s not original enough,” they sigh. “Like, what if someone’s already done something like this?”

It’s what I hear over and over as clients, friends, and colleagues tell me about content they’d love to create, courses/programs/offers they’d love to sell, or the direction they want to take their brand.

After all, when you’re at the starting line of an idea you’re SO excited about, the last thing you want to do is make something a zillion other people have already built.

How do you tell if your ideas are original?

In an ideal world, whatever you create/say/sell will be SO minty fresh, it’ll be something folks have never seen before.

It’ll be a shining idea all your own, plucked from the genius depths of your brilliant brain, that no one has uttered, crafted, or even imagined previously.

(You see so many industry critics talking about the curse of everything being a copy of a copy of a copy in the space.

You don’t want that to be YOU! You’re one of the good ones, after all.)

There’s just one problem.

Is a truly unique idea even possible anymore?

That pure, perfect originality?

The kind that makes you the undeniable sole originator, so no one can ever be mad at you for accidentally getting relatively close to their own ideas in some form or fashion?

I’ve got some bad news, friend.

It’s… a mirage.

(And also, the pursuit of perfect originality is often just procrastination masquerading as morality. #justsayin*)*

Which is not to say just give up on digging out your own undeniable flavor and letting it shine in a way that carves out a space all your own — quite the opposite.

But hear me out:

One of the weirdest brain-breakers in my arsenal is the fact that basically NOTHING on the internet (or anywhere) is entirely original.⁣

Your Idea May Not Be Original, But it Can Still Stand Out

Listen — my raison d’être is helping people find what’s unique about them; and the variety of factors that makes them stand out in a crowded market place. ⁣

I know how to cultivate brands and well-positioned presences that feel fresh and compelling, because they incorporate a range of elements (including the client’s preferred focus, perspective, personality, etc). ⁣

That means there aren’t a million people vying to own the same space — because no one else has the same tools in their toolkit to do so. ⁣

It’s the work of my heart, and it’s what I love to do.

Simple. And yet? ⁣

The Myth of Originality

I STILL know that in its purest sense, complete originality — as in, ideas that have arrived randomly from the gods, based on nothing that already exists, with a structure that has never been seen before — is extremely rare, if not wholly impossible.

Reason being?⁣

Well, statistics.⁣

There are a 7 billion humans on Earth just at this moment, and we’ve been around and exchanging ideas for 20,000 years.

Add the speed of internet discourse and digital creation to that, and you’re playing losing odds every time if you’re hoping everything you create will somehow be a glorious newborn baby of an idea entirely your own, influenced by nothing.⁣

But before I go any further I want to be clear:⁣

This is ABSOLUTELY not to encourage theft or copy-cattery.

It’s the correct, highest integrity, and frankly smartest thing to do to find an angle and purpose for your ideas that’s your own. ⁣

How To Stand Out When Everything’s Basically a Remix

But just keep in mind — Carl Jung once revealed that there were really only 7 types of stories ever told.⁣

Yet here we are; still reading, writing, going to the theatre, and binging Netflix every night.⁣

You know that saying your sarcastic friends used to tout in high school as a sassy joke, that “Everybody’s unique just like everybody else”?

Well, it’s a similar (but less annoyingly-delivered) principle:

Every idea comes from somewhere else, just like every other idea.⁣

Just look around you.

So much of what we see in entertainment, fashion, art, food, business, tech, and beyond is either an old thing done a new way, or a new thing done an old way.

Thusly, in a world that desperately needs more awesome, smart, caring humans like you to bravely share their ideas in public, I’m here to beg of you:

Say it Anyway

Don’t be afraid to share what’s on your mind just because someone may have said it first. ⁣

Because chances are?

They have.⁣

But the reality is?

No one can say it like you can.⁣

And that’s what you really need to strive for.⁣

Now, go make that thing.

And tell it I sent ya.

Write on,

Photo by CJ Dayrit on Unsplash

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