A wise man once observed that there is ‘nothing new under the sun’. Yet in a world of creativity, this is an often dismissed notion.
The idea of being ‘original’ can easily develop into an unhealthy obsession. It’s a concept which asks a myriad of questions such as: How can I be different? How can I be unique? How can I carve out my very own identity? How can I stand out from the crowd?
However, whilst it’s good to be innovative, I personally find the concept of striving for originality unhelpful and uninspiring. For me, it turns the creative process into an unenjoyable competition which is largely based on egotism, arrogance and oneupmanship. Ironically, what often emerges from it are deluded notions of originality which aren’t new or original at all. In the process, genuine creativity becomes stifled & worn out by the weariness of a seemingly never-ending journey to be the stand-out first.
A far more helpful reflection revolves around the idea of staying fresh rather than striving to be original. This is healthier and more conducive to relevance and longevity. The question ‘how can I stay fresh?’ is so very simple, yet incredibly profound. It views change as objective rather than abstract. It’s not about re-inventing the wheel but rather replacing the tyre on the current one so it can stay on the road! Essentially, it asks ‘how can I be a better me?’
Ultimately, freshness is a state of heart and mind. It happens in an environment that is curious to learn and hungry to grow. It develops when serving others but turns stale in a cesspit of selfishness. It is stimulated by purpose but gets suffocated by aimlessness.
Whatever season you’re going through in your life, resist the temptation to struggle for originality. As noble as it might sound, in the end, it tends to feed our insecurities and leads to irrelevance. Staying fresh is a much healthier way to live. This is about working on your heart.