Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Stop Trying to Be Original

The cacophony of voices from the so-called experts is deafening. 

Think outside the box! 

Be disruptive! 

Brand yourself! 

Be an original! 

Attempting to heed their cries makes our lives far more stressful than they need to be. That’s in my very humble opinion.

I'm reminded of the words of Keith Johnstone, author of Improvisation and the Theater. They resonate with me every day long after I first encountered them about 15 years ago. Two selections from page 88 in the book will suffice in this context:

“Striving after originality takes you far away from your true self, and makes your work mediocre.”

“People trying to be original always arrive at the same old boring answers. Ask people to give you an original idea and see the chaos it throws them into. If they said the first thing that came into their head, there’d be no problem.”

In short, you can’t be anybody else but yourself. Work hard to do so and share the fruits of your effort with the world. That’s a far better and less anxiety producing approach than any other I’ve encountered in my life.

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