Are you pressuring yourself to be “too” original? Here’s some thoughts…
This month I’m reading The Strangest Tribe: How a Group of Seattle Rock Bands Invented Grunge ( by Stephen Tow. In one chapter, Tow asserts:
Any local music scene at any point in time can be referred to as derivative of more well-known acts. The line separating influence from imitation is a blurry one. Very few artists are completely original; even great artists build upon what has occurred before, and add their personality and talent to create their own original expression. Seattle’s third punk rock wave was no exception
How does this apply to you and I, who most likely are not “punk rockers?” Each of us apply some aspect of creativity each day to our work, families, friendships, places in the community, and so forth. The temptation for many—especially at work—is to constantly try to “reinvent the wheel” and spend boundless energy doing so. Another trap is to become paralyzed by the fear of copying someone else’s idea and hence do nothing.
So what’s an alternative approach? Think “ACE:”

(A)ssess: What are the most creative ideas, the ones most applicable to your scope of work or relevant needs, that have influenced you? How might you contribute to these ideas, adding to them while keeping the core of their beauty intact? Where can you research and discover even more of these ideas?
(C)ollaborate: With whom can you brainstorm as you flesh out your modified approach to “what has occurred before,” adding your own unique twist? Who can stretch your thinking the most?
(E)xecute: What are the first steps you can take to put “your own original expression” into action this week? How will you stay on top of the results you garner and the inevitable tweaks or modifications that must take place?
For more ideas on how to apply this ACE process across the board, check out my book Assess, Collaborate, Execute: ACE Your Way Through Life:

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