Do you ever feel like you just don’t fit in? Are you always striving and agonizing to figure out a better way? Are you labeled as a contrarian or a troublemaker? Are you afraid to take risks and always feel like everybody around you does a much better job of being brave and putting their ideas out in the world? Guess what… you’re an Original.
As a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology, Adam Grant uses his years of research to help us understand what it actually means and takes to be creative or an original.
As a brand strategist, this book spoke to me, gave me some new insights and allowed me to think… for a little bit… maybe I am normal!
Here are my three takeaways around the myths we have for being an original.
Myth 1: Originals Are Brave and Are Extreme Risk Takers
Being an original is not about being extraordinarily brave or taking huge risks. According to the research, most creative people are risk-adverse and find ways to mitigate risk in their projects. Grant explains that even though we view originals as self-starters they grapple with fear, ambivalence, and self-doubt.
Myth 2: Originals Are Just Great at What They Do – They’re Born That Way
Creativity is more about quantity over quality. Adam shows how being original is actually a numbers game and the most successful learn through massive forms of iteration and continual trial and error. He also explains that great creators don’t necessarily have the deepest expertise but rather they seek out and explore the broadest perspectives. You need to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.
Myth 3: Originals Are the First Ones to Put Their Work Out Into the World
Originals are usually not the ones that are first to market. Original ideas that have staying power usually come from extreme procrastination that allows divergent thinking and learning to iterate from pioneers who jump into new creative areas but usually fail or flame out.
As a whole, society hates new. We crave acceptance, belonging and being part of a group. We say that we crave the new, but we are genetically coded to reject it. The courage of being an original comes from being able to swim upstream, be the outsider, constantly fail, never stop searching for better and for continually blowing things up.
Originality is an act of creative destruction.
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