Pondering originality

Have you ever had one (or many!) of those moments where you’re so excited about an ingenious idea your clever brain has given you only to discover that the original idea you’d mentally high-fived yourself over is not original at all? And not only that, someone else has executed it far more brilliantly than you think you ever could?

Thought so.

This has happened to me more times than I can count. Most recently it happened when I came up with the #DreamPlanDoDay concept. It’s a simple idea; take time out of your life to focus on cultivating a new idea for your business, gather other women who want to do work on their business too, and harness their collective energy in one room for a whole day. I started planning the day, researching venues, doing some market research, working out how to structure the day, and then I stumbled across another Australian woman doing something similar but on a much bigger scale.


But I ran with my idea anyway and #DreamPlanDoDay is now a reality. It’s happening on the 16th of July. It is going to be amazing. So far, I have gathered 14 creative business women who see the value of what the day offers – time out from your regular schedule to focus on creating, planning and doing something meaningful for your business. What will make my day unique is me, the women who come and the challenges we all bring.

So even though my idea isn’t original (and neither is the ‘other Australian woman’s – I am petty enough to not want to name her here) the way I execute it will be and I take some comfort from knowing that I independently came up with the idea even if it’s not unique. And this is true for all of my unoriginal original ideas.

How original is original?

How original is original anyway? How many new stories, new inventions and new ways of doing things are there? Is there any originality left in the world?

While grumbling about being unoriginal, a dear friend steered me toward the video series ‘Everything is a Remix’ by Kirby Ferguson. (Part two below is my favourite because it looks at remixes in movies and storytelling).

There are some fabulous lessons in this video series about originality, or should I say, our lack of it. Ferguson examines music, movies and inventions to bust myths about originality to show that copying, variation and combining ideas is at the heart of all great ideas. Hooray! I needed to hear that.

“Creation requires influence. Everything we make is a remix of existing creations, our lives and the lives of others.”
– Kirby Ferguson.

What do you think? Do you see the remix in the things around you and your business? Let me know in the comments below.

    12 replies to "Discovering that your original thought is not so original"

    • Darian

      Great post, and so true! It’s difficult to find the motivation to continue on with a brilliant idea when you realize another mind had it too. But, the great part about ideas is that no two people will execute them in the same way, so in a way, it is original. It’s your original.

      • admin

        Yes! And what I take comfort in is knowing that I independently came up with an idea. Own your remix!

    • Jacq Writes World

      Oh my gosh! This has been happening to me ever since I was a kid. And what I do to make it my own is personalize it. I just put more me into the idea and I think that has worked for me. 🙂

    • Amanda

      What a great idea – no wonder it has been brought to life before! It is really hard to come up with an idea yourself and then discover someone else has thought of it too. But it’s putting your own creative spin on it that really makes it special.

    • Amy

      Yes I’ve felt this a few times but we all have something unique to give don’t we! How did your day go?

      • admin

        I have to write a blog about the day while it’s still fresh. There were some amazing stories shared and the women who came were all so inspiring and at different stages of their business journey.

    • Faith

      Love your do day! I think it will be awesome, and while someone else might have had the same idea, you came up with this on your own. In the blogging world I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a blog and said dang I’ve written this same thing or Ive wanted to write on this topic. The beauty of it is perspective. We all offer different perspectives and it’s great to learn from others while growing ourselves.


      • admin

        I know exactly what you mean about reading something on a blog that you’ve wanted to write about. I often kick myself. Oh well, everything is a remix, right?

    • Kristie

      Love this, such a good post. While I was in photography school we were told that no idea is completely original. It may seem like a frustrating thing, but I’ve always figured if you just be yourself as much as possible in everything you do that you will put your own spin on things because no one else can be you.

      • admin

        So true. We each bring our own unique perspective to things.

    • sonia

      Great post! this happens a lot ideas that you think are just you al the way come up in other pals mind but lets be honest is you find that extra value you can make it better

      Loves from Sun & http://likesocharming.com/

    • Tamsin

      There are probably only a handful of true “originals”, but even they are inspired by those who have gone before them.

      And the uniqueness comes from, as you said, adding your personality to it and your “twist”

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