And I quote, “It’s day 4 of Humility Week at the NDD”
I fancy myself a pretty good thinker. But considering almost all my napkin drawings start with a quote that I myself did not make up, it would be disingenuous of me to say I come up with nothing but original ideas. That, in turn, keeps me humble.
However, I do like to think I am unique thinker. A unique thinker isn’t someone who thinks up something out of the blue. Instead it is someone who takes these ideas from others and combines them, mixes them, bakes them into a uniquely stated idea. Not necessarily a new idea, but an idea that has been thought through by one unique individual and come out the other side with something no one else can give it, the perspective and expression of that one person.
I think a lot of young people who are unformed in their own identity don’t understand what this means. I see it all the time on reality TV shows like American Idol. The judges say to the young person, ‘you have to just be yourself’ or ‘you have to put your own spin on it’ or ‘you just need to find your own voice’. And the least mature of the singers look blankly back at the judges, having no idea what it is they are talking about. They don’t know yet how to take another idea, (another song in this case) and make it their own because there is no ‘own’ there yet. They are doing their best to imitate a great singer but they don’t know yet how to become a great singer themselves.
The originality of your ideas isn’t what you should have pride in. It is what should endow you with humility. How you take what is given to you from the outside and transform it into something uniquely yours, THAT is what you can have true pride in.
Drawing by Marty Coleman, who reads in bed.
Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who also read in bed.