Do You Have What It Takes to Be Original?


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Let’s talk about humans, there is that person that adapts to the world we live in and the other person who makes the world adapt to him.

This is from a quote by George Bernard Shaw differentiating the reasonable from the unreasonable man.

The quote states further that the progress depends on the unreasonable man.

The world we know has been pushing on because of the “unreasonable” people such as the cases of Martin Luther King.

They are the originals. What makes them original anyway? What sets apart reasonable from unreasonable men?

Questioning the Default

Our world has strangely some default settings. We do things a certain way because it has been done that way ever since. However, originals question why?

Why do we have to go by default? They challenge the “established” way. These rules are created anyway by the people and thus can be changed by the people as well.

A great example of this the American brand of prescription classes, Warby Parker. Before, have you ever wondered why eyeglasses and sunglasses are so expensive?

They have found out that majority of the market is held by Luxxotica and they can effectively dictate the price.

To address the issue of having more affordable eyewear, Warby Parker was born. And they have changed the way eyewear was sold.

You can buy it from the comfort of your own home, you can upload a picture online to “try” the glasses and for every purchase you make, they donate a pair also. All of these, for less the price.

It’s different and it has changed things and most of all – it was successful. All because they were being originals and didn’t settle for how things were done usually.

Risk Averse

There is the notion that entrepreneurs and originals are big on taking risks.  We can say that some entrepreneurs are indeed risk takers, we will clarify that most of the originals aren’t. They are risk averse.

Going back to our previous example, Warby Parker – the owners didn’t dive full on to the business at first. They all had back-up plans in case Warby Parker won’t take off.

There is a study that actually tells us that entrepreneurs who pursued business while still keeping their day jobs were 33% less likely to fail than those who gave up their jobs and focused on the business instead.

The analysis is, you are more likely to chase originality when you are secured in another pursuit. The pressure of not failing is less because you are still secured in your back-up plan.

This is the reason why risk averse Originals pursue creativity more confidently.

Creating Original Ideas

We consider some people creative geniuses because of the amazing work they have contributed. Dean Simonton a psychologist who specialized in creativity say that those we consider creative geniuses are not necessarily more gifted than the others.

Simonton says that they just made more work than the others. The thinking behind that is the more work you create, the more chances of contributing creative ideas. So the more your produce the more chance that you succeed.

How do we continuously churn out ideas then? Look for inspirations beyond work. Even with matters you have not dealt with before, be curious.


The next thing to know is to qualify if your ideas are indeed great ideas. It’s easy to claim that one’s ideas are amazing but let others be the judge of that.

Your manager may not qualify as well as they might think ways why your idea is doomed to fail from the start.

Turn to your colleagues instead. The stakes for them are not as high as with your manager. They are your colleagues and they are the best people to turn to for the best feedback. If you are the business owner, turn to your peers for their thoughts.

Selling Your Idea

You have now chosen the best idea, the next thing for you to do it to get people to join you in this. You will need investors and human resource too mobilize it and of course clients to sell this to.

However, since what you have is an original idea, people will have a tendency to not jump on it right away. It’s not the usual, it’s not the norm, why would they join you?

One way to make them take notice is to point out your idea’s cons instead of focusing on the pros.

This sounds crazy to you right? The thing is people to not exactly warm up right away to new concepts. If it’s new, people tend to shy away. However, when you pinpoint the flaws head on – they do not expect that. That is a way to catch their attention.

This method also sends the message that you are smart. Enumerating the negatives as early as now will get them thinking that way.

And of course, it builds their trust in you. You were upfront in admitting the flaws and honesty – that’s what people wants.

Execution of the Original Idea

It all boils down to perfect timing. We know that launching an idea early on would mean the market is still not ready for it. Or in contrary, launching too late that the competitors are far ahead already.

Originals though tend to be late in the party. There was a research done and it was discovered that the first to launch fail more as compared to those who enter the market later.

In the chance that they succeed, the late entrants capture more of the target market. What we can conclude from this? Being successful does not mean you have to be the first, you just have to do it better.

Originals do productive procrastination. What is that? This is not about being lazy, it’s about waiting for the right moment. You keep your choices open until it you have the perfect timing.

Originals Culture

The question now is how to build an originals culture at work? How can be original ideas be generated? Naturally, people will have different opinions, point of views and such – encourage this to flow.

Keep the thoughts going and don’t shut it down. It’s okay to have a discussion on different views as well, who knows an inventive idea will come out of it?

Keeping Your Emotions in Check

It’s not easy being an Original. Understandably, you will doubt yourself at some points and realize your fears. This is where you should keep your emotions on check.

When you are beginning to doubt your idea, think about how far you’ve come already. Think of the progress of your idea. Any amount of progress is still progress.

This thinking will help you be encouraged because of the realization of the developments of your idea.

When you feel afraid, turn that to excitement. Give yourself a pep talk to rev you up and start on the tasks.


It’s hard to be an Original and many people won’t choose to be one because of this. However, you can be if you really want to. Challenge your “defaults” and ask yourself why you have been following that all this time. Break away, be an Original instead!




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