I love creativity and think we should all be more creative. Some people think they simply aren’t creative, but the truth is, we’re all born with wonderful imaginations. Just put a group of toddlers in a room and you’ll see they’re all wildly creative. So everyone is born creative. But something happens around elementary school that starts pushing that creativity to the back of the room. But the more important question for today is, considering the millions of writers, artists, inventors, and filmmakers that have gone before us, can we actually be creative or original in the sense of being true innovators? How often can we actually be the first to come up with an idea? Creativity is a wonderful thing, but can we really be original? How many times can we actually do something that hasn’t been done before?
Mark Twain said that Adam was the only person in history who when he said something, he knew it had never been said before. So true originality isn’t the real issue. The real issue is to think less about creativity and more about being yourself. Writing great stories, preaching powerful sermons, or making compelling films isn’t about being the first to say it – it’s about saying it in a way that is unique to you. As I share in my book “Unique,” when you bring your distinctive personality, your past, and your perspective to the table, it doesn’t really matter if that story has been told before, because you’re about to tell it in a fresh, new way.
Likewise, it doesn’t matter if you’re the first to tell the story if you’re not being authentic in how you tell it. What’s important in the artistic process is what you bring to the experience, and how your unique gifts interpret it’s meaning. In pursuit of being original, too many people tell wooden stories, or default to gimmicks.
Worry less that your next project is original or creative and focus more on being yourself. The story may have been told before, but there’s never been another you. No one has ever told it from your unique perspective.