Everything is so reused.
That's a line from the song Déjà vu by Olivia Rodrigo, who ironically has been criticized for "copying" other artists in the past. Her latest hit Vampire has been compared to Miley Cyrus' See You Again. Olivia also had to give credit to the members of Paramore because Good for U sounded too similar to Misery Business, and she also had to give a writing credit to Taylor Swift for Déjà vu (its bridge sounds a LOT like Cruel Summer's) and for interpolation of melodies of New Year's Day. Olivia's song Brutal has gone viral too, with listeners commenting on how its riffs seem to be lifted from Elvis Costello's Pump It Up.
I loved Costello's response to a Twitter user calling out Olivia, though:
In this The Art of Manliness podcast episode, Adam Alter shares his perspective on radical originality.
"Yeah, it’s funny that, we privileged this idea of radical originality.
One of the things I teach my MBA students, we talk about innovations and we look at all the greatest products of the last 50 years. We talk about them and I ask my students, tell me a product that’s truly radically original that had no predecessor, there was, it wasn’t built on the ideas of someone else. And it’s very, very, very difficult to do that with products. And it’s just as difficult to do that with things like films or music or art. And the problem with privileging and putting on a pedestal radical originality is that it sets this unrealistic bar.
And so I talk about the idea that a better way to go is to recombine old ideas. And actually, almost every instance of something that seems from the outside, like it’s new and radically different is just a new way of thinking of two things or meshing two or more things together."
As Dan Koe writes,
"Life is a game of imitation. We were raised imitating our parents, friends, and teachers. If you want to do what you love for a living, imitate the person that is already seeing success from it. Learn from them. Turn their good ideas into your own original ideas and take your piece of the pie."
If you're intimidated to create any piece of work because everyone else seems to be better at your craft (or are further ahead of you in the journey), or if you're pressured to produce something new and original every single time, remember to:
Watch movies you normally wouldn't watch, listen to new genres of music, bury your nose into intriguing books. Expose yourself to art, to culture, to adventure. Open up your life—meet new people and consider new perspectives, even when they don't align with your current outlook on life. Explore fields outside your own profession. Scott Young writes, "If you are always ingesting high quality ideas, it will be naturally easier to develop more creative solutions."
Identify what type of creator you are.
In his book Dotcom Secrets, Russell Brunson explains the concept of the Attractive Character, which is the persona one could intentionally associate with their business so their audience can connect with them better.
The types of characters he lists in the book could also be useful in identifying what type of creator we are based on our experience. This is so we can confidently show up for our audience regardless of where we are in the journey.
- The Leader. If you have gone through (and triumphed over) the same challenges that your audience are currently experiencing, you can be a Leader. Because you have already achieved the results that your audience are aspiring to produce, you can share your experience, expertise, and everything you learned so you can help them reach their goal too.
- The Adventurer. This character is very similar to the Leader. But instead of having all the answers at hand already, the Adventurer is still figuring things out as they go and then share what they're learning. While Adventurers do not share the same level of credibility that Leaders enjoy, their advantage is their relatability. Because they aren't "there yet," they could give their audience that sense of community and encouragement that "we're in this together."
- The Reporter. If you're not ready to go out on adventures yet or haven't reached your ultimate goal yet, the Reporter character may suit you. Reporters curate information and interview people (usually Adventurers and Leaders) to provide insights and inspiration to their audience. If you're unsure where to start your creator journey, try curation and sharing content you enjoy and go from there.
Whether you've achieved extraordinary results in your domain already, you're still experimenting, or you're in research mode and currently curating ideas and inspiration, you can begin creating. ✨
While creativity requires us to combine old ideas to craft something fresh, that doesn't make us entitled to use other people's work without respect. I love how Bob Doto puts it in his article "What to Do When You're Caught Biting (aka Plagiarizing),"
"Contrary to what you may feel at first, citing other people's work is not an admission of unoriginality or ignorance on a subject. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Citing people's work is a way of building your own ideas off of others and showing how you've done so. It highlights originality by showing how you're taking the conversation in a new direction...
...Citing your sources also shows that you are part of the conversation, that you keep tabs on what's being said. It bolster's your credibility. It does not diminish it. It aligns your work with a scene. Citing allows you to flank your position with the ideas of others with whom you want to associate. Citing shows your readers who's in your crew. It turns the inevitably solo act of writing into a communal act of public discourse."
Here's a quick guide to good vs. bad theft from Austin Kleon:
🍎 Health / On becoming a healthier, hopeful adult
Bookmarked on my browser: 20 Tips for How to Sleep Better 🔖
I've been struggling to get enough quality sleep lately. Any tips? Let's chat here!
📕 Wealth / On pursuing your purpose in life
Looking for some podcast recos? Here are my recent favorites, which might just give you the jolt you need to kickstart (or keep on building) the life of your dreams! 🎧
🌹 Relationships / On building and nurturing social connections
"What I didn't realize is that the relationship was uncovering my deep subsconscious wounds so I could heal them. During this time, I started to seek emotionally present friendships, leaning on the friends who were warm and consistent. This helped me feel supported while I worked on repairing my inner world. Their care gave me the safety I needed to do the work and also helped me calm my nervous system. I know that I internalized them because I can feel their kindhearted support like a community as I write this." — Anxiously Attached: Becoming More Secure in Life and Love by Jessica Baum
If you're anxiously attached (or dating someone who is), I highly recommend reading the book Anxiously Attached: Becoming More Secure in Life and Love by Jessica Baum. I'm halfway through the book, and I swear it has been very healing for me because, FINALLY, I know I wasn't crazy nor alone for feeling the things I felt when I found myself stuck in unhealthy relationships. Give it a go, and let me know what you think!
💭 3 Things to Ponder On...
Verse: “And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.” — Ecclesiastes 5:19 NLT
Quote: “If we know how to be content, we can relax our endless striving and welcome serenity. If we know how to be content, we can enjoy the time we have with the person next to us. If we know how to be content, we can make peace with our past and let go of our baggage.” — The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to Be Calm and Mindful in a Fast-Paced World by Haemin Sunim
Journal Prompt: Ponder on your friendships and how they've changed your life for the better. How can you nourish your connection with them going forward?