“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” ~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
We often feel that originality is something that requires us to diverge from the norm–to resist the convention, to embrace thinking outside the box, and to arouse waves of discord in the world around us. But this is not the path to our original, authentic selfhood. Originality is not rebellion, it is freedom and autonomy; it is not something contrived, it is genuine; it is not inimical, it is sincere. To be original, one has to look no further than “simply trying to tell the truth.”
True originality is not typically seen or noticed in our daily lives–perhaps because most of us are not looking for it. And when we consider this further, that actually makes sense; after all, the majority of our models are not all that creative–singers and songwriters, artists and filmmakers, television and radio producers, writers and publishers–nearly everything they produce is intended to increase volume of sales, and generally copies time-tested formats and formulas that have already been proven successful. But imitation will not lead us to personal fulfillment in life; it merely makes us a copy of someone else’s life.
Being original is not easy, it often requires us to step outside of our comfort zones and take a chance on the unproven passion that we feel in our hearts. In addition, our being original opens us up to the opinions, criticisms, and judgments of others. This is especially true of individuals who are from a different background than us and do not understand where we are coming from. The trick is to be able to take their lack of understanding with a grain of salt–they are not trying to insult us or tear us down, but rather attempting to understand our uniqueness and creativity.
The very nature of who we are should not be a mystery to us; nor should it be to those that we interact with each day. This is the key to our originality and creativity. This is the answer to how we might express ourselves in ways that are truly fulfilling, and ways that reflect with honesty, who we are, and our passionate love for life. You have the amazing power to create; never imitate.
Always be your true authentic self.
Questions to consider:
Why do so many individuals choose to imitate rather than create? Who determines whether they do so?
Who is your true, authentic self? How honestly do you show this self to others?
How do you express your creativity to the world?
For further thought:
“I decided to start anew–to strip away what I had been taught, to accept as true my own thinking. This was one of the best times of my life. There was no one around to look at what I was doing–no one interested–no one to say anything about it one way or another. I was alone and singularly free, working into my own, unknown–no one to satisfy but myself. I began with charcoal and paper and decided not to use any color until it was impossible to do what I wanted to do in black and white. I believe it was June before I needed blue.” ~ Georgia O’Keefe