What makes an original?

Photo from fatherly.com

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what it takes to be an original in a world that seems so saturated with… well, with everything. We cross paths with so many people in life. People doing things, people redoing things, people taking things that have already been done and putting their voice to it. It can seem almost impossible to find a new idea, or believe you’re doing something that’s original, that’s different and that’s worthwhile.

So what makes an original?

Originals are non-conformists. Originals are people who not only have new ideas but take action to champion them. They’re people who stand out and speak up. Originals drive creativity and change in this world which we live. They’re the people you want to bet on, the people you want to invest in and they look nothing like you think do, like you expect them to.

Originals are those who doubt the default. They question the things that are given to them in life, in a desire to find the something better that they (don’t know for certain) have a feeling is out there. They’re chasing a dream, a desire and a drive that most consider them crazy for doing. But are they crazy?

One thing I think people struggle with understanding is that originals feel fear. From the outside looking it, it can appear as though originals don’t have a care in the world. That people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos had one good idea, they went for it and changed the way the world operated overnight. And this, it’s simply not the case.

Originals have shitty ideas… all the time. They’re afraid of failing. They are But they’re also afraid of not ever trying. Originals are those that understand you can fail by starting and going bankrupt or you can fail by never starting at all. And they, well they’d rather hedge there bets on trying then to lead a life with the regrets of ‘what might have been’ had they had the courage to see something through. They know that one of the biggest regrets each of us will have in life are the chances we had that we did not take.

I think we expect an original to look a certain way. We expect them to act a certain way. We expect them to be a certain person, because they can’t just be like you or I, they need to be different because… if their ideas are going to stand out, they need to stand out with those ideas. But that isn’t always the case.

Originals are people that will take every shitty idea they’ve ever had, act upon them and use the failure they find as motivation to do better the next time around. Originals are you, or I, or at least they cold be, if we chose to act on those ideas we’ve been thinking about… dreaming about no less.

I’m betting that if you took some of the most influential people of our time and put them under a microscope you’d learn of hundreds, if not thousands, of terrible ideas they acted on and had blow up in their faces. Where do your terrible ideas lie? In the back of your mind with a consistent what if? Or, in a tangible reality with a ‘this is how we improve for next time’? Originals, their ideas are the latter. Because they take the chances in life that most of us are too afraid to consider.

I think this resonates with me because I’ve never wanted to be normal. I’ve never felt normal. I’ve always wanted to be an original and I’ve always wanted to be responsible for something that changes someone for the better. The more I think about originals, the more pride I feel in my failure. Because I’ve had a lot of shitty ideas in life and I’ve failed when it came to a lot of them. Heck, I’ve probably tallied more in this past year than most.

I do believe that I’m building towards something, though. I do believe that these failures, one day when I look back on them as a distant memory, it’s going to be fondly thought of. These are going to be the moments that changed me, that caused me to grow, that taught me how to do better and to be better. These are the moments that caused me to act, the moments where I said ‘I’d rather be told no than have never asked at all’.

I want to be original. I want to be someone who stands out from the crowd. I think that if I found that in life, in my career, I’d feel as though I’ve succeeded. Even if I never become as successful as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos. Actually, if I’m being totally honest, I don’t want to be like any of them. I admire them, but I don’t desire to copy them. I do know that I’m pretty good with acting on every stupid idea I have (heck, I made this blog and it hasn’t turned out half bad) so I hope I have what it takes. I hope that I can be different and be an original in this saturated world.

37 thoughts on “What makes an original?

  1. Are we originals, or are we authentics? Every idea must have come from another idea. It’s how we transform these ideas that make us stand out from the crowd.

    When I was editing a blog post earlier today (Snail Mail, Anyone?), I was torn between the word originality and authenticity. After googling the word “originality,” the description above ^ is what google basically spat out at me. It’s really funny how you wrote about originality especially since I was literally googling this word a few hours ago. 😂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I guess that depends on how you view the definitions. For me, I think of an original as one-of-a-kind and I think of authenticity as being genuine. But, the two definitions can definitely overlap depending on how you look at them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with your definitions. That makes sense. I was torn between the two because of their similarities. Authentic I also think of as being real, which is the same thing as being genuine I think? Lots of overlap for sure. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Originals are the ones who speak THEIR truth. And they might discard the fear of failure altogether when the need arises, like they might give into it. But in the end they stand proud alongside their values and are not afraid to show them to the world, someone that can’t be replicated, irreplaceable.

    That’s what I think at least.
    Loved this article, V!



    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is very insightful. And the fact that you began with “I’ve been thinking” means you’re on the right track, IMO. Keep searching yourself; reevaluating yourself. At 43 I think I’ve come to the conclusion that the people who are on the path to true originality are those who refuse to allow their minds to stagnate. People who remain open-minded. I’ve managed to avoid falling into the “Kids are so dumb today and everything they do sucks” trap that most of my peers rant and rave about in Facebook all day long. On the contrary, I see a lot of creativity and intelligence out there, and even though some of it might not suit my tastes, it Durant have to. Not everything exists to cater to everyone else’s personal preferences. Keep reaching out for answers. Great post.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I hate when I hear “Kids are so dumb today”. The other day when the walk-out for climate change was happening the radios and newscasters around here were all saying things like ‘those kids need to get back in the classroom and learn how the real world works”. I was like… okay, and that’s why we’re not getting anywhere… we’re too closed minded to see what’s right in front of us.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. I’ve always felt this way too – that I’m not “normal.” I’ve always wanted to be the one to speak up or stand up, but I’ve always been afraid because of my anxiety. I’m getting better at doing these things, but still not to the point where it’s making huge differences – little ones, maybe, but I still feel like a weirdo or failure because of it. This is especially true with stuff at my job right now, which is sucking BIG TIME and I feel like it’s because no one wants to listen to a female millennial (or any other peon employees). It’s also true in the US when it comes to #resisting under the orange lord. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever have the strength to step it up.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think it takes practice.

      And if you think no one wants to listen to a female millennial than talk louder. Seriously.

      I remember having a conversation with Knight about two weeks after I started this blog and telling him I was going to delete it because no one wanted to read what I had to say, so why was I writing here and not just in a journal I bought at the dollar store. He said to me, and I distinctly remember, ‘If you don’t think they’re listening then talk louder so they will’.

      There are a lot of people who resist the Orange Lord. Perhaps you could talk about that? I bet people would resonate with that? Share what’s passionate to you. Do it in small bits each day and each day you silence that anxiety a little bit more.

      As for your job, I don’t know how to make it not suck. I would just say keep going until you find a situation that’s right for you. Be it a new job or self-employment or whatnot. Who knows what the future will bring!


  5. I love originals. I tend to get frustrated by people who don’t explore all the ideas! When you quit exploring the possibilities I would imagine life loses some of its color. I can’t comprehend living that way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I would agree. I watched a Ted Talk video the other day and the guy, he said he could tell what type of person you were by the browser you chose to use on your computer – and that question of what browser you use, that’s what led him to determine which students would make change and which students of his would be ‘run-of-the-mill’ and never rock the boat. It was actually quite genius. I reckon the run-of-the-mill folk do lose a lot of colour in their existence.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You know, you’re one of the most original person I’ve ever known. You’re not afraid to speak the truth. You’re not afraid to show your light and dark side. And I’m always envy yet respect at the same time to the person like that.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Everyone can be original if they follow their heart, switch off from mainstream thought and sniff out weird ideas and thoughts. Only the really bold can do that though…because being this outlier and weirdo and unique in your outlook on life can be dangerous as you may unintentionally ostracize yourself from the group or go too far in your weirdness. It is a risk but, a road worth travelling if you are willing to do it. I read about a group of performance artists in San Fran called the Cacophony Society recently and their ideas for ‘culture jamming’ and disrupting the narrative in a fun, frivolous and yet philosophical way are truly unique.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely agree. It takes real bold, really brave personalities to to differentiate from the norm, to shake things up be willing to say ‘No, the world can do this better’.

      Cacophony Society sounds like a really cool idea, I’ve never heard of that before.


  8. ALso Bezos and Gates are at the apex of a big pyramid and in order to get to the apex they had to shit all over “lower lifeforms” (i.e. people working in factories in third world nations building microchips, other people mining in dangerous conditions to get the minerals for these computers). So…I wouldn’t say they are originals – they are just apex predators in the tech economy that is all.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do agree that they’ve likely done some things that negatively affected some people on earth. I would say though that they classify in the originality spectrum because of the fact that their thoughts and their ideas have changed the way we… live. Do I agree with everything they’ve done, god no. But I can respect the fact that the world would be a vastly different place without them.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Excellent post! I think about this a lot – especially when I have fallen off the “write everyday” wagon for the millionth time – I keep thinking every single piece I write, every idea has to be perfect or brilliant and if it’s not, what’s the purpose of writing it. But that’s not the point is it? This post definitely hit home today. Keep up the fantastic work 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love this post. Can you be an original in your thinking but, at the same time, appear not? I think so personally. All my thoughts are original, however I’m a quiet person. Therefore, I may not be out there. I’m often misunderstood.

    Liked by 1 person

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