“But I don’t have any original ideas”

Right. Neither do I. Neither does anyone.

The idea doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to us.

Steven Pressfield pointed out that resistance is what gets us stuck. But resistance wasn’t his idea. He didn’t invent what it feels like to be stuck. Stuck creatives invented what it feels like to be stuck by feeling stuck. Then Steven Pressfield came along and used one word to express what it’s like to feel stuck. Resistance was only the word. The idea of being stuck belonged to the stuck creative.

Mark Zuckerberg didn’t invent the social creature. He didn’t invent a need to connect to other people. Facebook was his invention. A need for connection wasn’t his idea. It was our idea. We were social creatures before Zuckerberg came along. So Facebook worked.

We use Facebook because we want to feel connected.

We call it resistance because that’s what it feels like to be stuck.

We drink coffee because we don’t want to feel tired.

Original ideas are words and images that resonate with ancient feelings. Too often, the stuck creative focuses on the original idea first.

Humans have been around for a long time. You and I don’t have the omnipotence to invent a new need, personality trait, or desire. Nobody needs a $500 purse. Ancient nobility didn’t need a $500 purse, either. But what modern people and ancient nobility share in common is a need to feel luxurious. They need what the $500 purse will make them feel. The need to feel luxurious has been around since the age of kings and queens.

Is uniqueness dead? Are there no more final frontiers? Have The Simpsons claimed sovereignty over every new idea?

Of course not. You’re the final frontier. Nobody has expressed ideas in the way that only you can. Your idiosyncrasies are unique to you. Your personality is yours – nobody else’s.

The need to be original is why there’s more stuck creatives than unstuck creatives. The need to be original is a trap. We don’t have any original ideas. Opening up a gym so that people can get fit isn’t a new idea. We’ve been opening up gyms and getting fit since ancient Rome.

Instead of trying to come up with original ideas, let’s come up with unoriginal ideas instead.

Here’s some questions that’ll help with that:

What do you see that we don’t see?

What can you offer that nobody else can?

What’s your take on this?

What are your assertions?

Why is this so important to you?

What can you articulate that we find hard to express?

What would happen if you walked up to someone on the street and said, “Hey here’s my original idea”? What would they say? “Thanks, but what’s in it for me?” They’re not being selfish. You’d say the same thing. People want unoriginal feelings. Connection, luxury, status, alliance, anger, tension – those aren’t new feelings. They’ve been around forever. To disregard these essential elements of human nature is to be negligent of how people work.

You’re a person. You know how people work. Getting in your way means that you’re focusing too much on what you need.

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