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Trying to be original

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I waste a lot of time and energy trying to be original. The thought of being mediocre, trite, or derivative in my actions, beliefs, writing, or anything fills me a sense of dread. Who will remember me if I’m boring and unoriginal? What can I say I have accomplished if I just retread ground that’s already been walked? How can I live with myself if I’m not a unique, individual self?

So I turn my head over and over about how I can take a position that’s different, how I can stand out, how I can do something that others will see as unique and remarkable. I wince when I realize a post of mine had already been said before. I grow upset with myself as I struggled to come up with something new and exciting.

Lately, I’ve begun to snap out of it.

Lately, I’ve been wondering more, what if I just stopped trying to be original? What if I stopped putting pressure on myself to be unique or say something new?

What if instead I simply tried to be useful? What if instead I oriented my work around how I can contribute rather than what accomplishments I can accumulate, or how I might be remembered.

I am beginning to realize that trying to be original is the least original thing I can do. It is doing what nearly everyone does, tie themselves up in knots over me, me, me; obsess over how I can be revered, remembered, seen.

No, I’m not going to waste time trying to be original anymore. I am going to try to contribute. I am going to try to make it all about something bigger and more important than myself.

Peter Schulte

Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA, USA with his wife, son, and cat.

0 thoughts on “Trying to be original”

  1. You are not original and you are entirely original, both are true. There are almost no entirely new thoughts. There also exists no combination of experience and genetics like you in the universe. This makes your thoughts original to you and that will be original to someone.

    We are the stone thrown in the water, we know not where the ripples will go but we are compelled to make them.

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