It’s Been Done Before
As a communications major, I was looking forward to the advertising class despite the fact that it was three hours long and on Monday nights. The professor (who did not look like Don Draper) was from J. Walter Thompson, one of the largest ad agencies in the world1. A been-there-done-that-seen-it-all guy, he was rather crusty in imparting his real world experience. The night he declared, “There’s no such thing as a new idea,” it landed on me as unnecessarily cynical. All I could think was: Really, we’re just going to go out into the world and churn out the same stuff?
But midway into the semester’s team assignments, I grasped his intention. He wanted us to avoid becoming blocked in our creativity. Without the constraint of having to come up with the idea that’s never been done before, we were free to just do it (advertising pun intended). Instead of wasting time chasing Most Original, we concentrated on selecting our best ideas and executing well. Interestingly, that’s when our originality showed up.
It’s Not Rocket Science
That your ideas are “not rocket science” can hold you back. Take me writing this ezine. Who do I think I am? Tony Robbins? Aristotle? My supporters remind me that it doesn’t matter. There will be people who benefit from the messages I share, in just the way I’m expressing them, and at a particular point in time.
Creativity, brilliance, and insight come through individuals, generation after generation. There is humility in that as well as the freedom to share our ideas and talents. Maybe what you have to offer isn’t new or flashy, but the world critically needs it.
Does that sound unlikely to you -- that the world could critically need what you have to offer? I think that most people don’t realize the extent to which this is true. It takes humility, courage, perseverance and maybe, as the quotation below suggests, it takes a certain madness to believe you’re here for a purpose that only you can fulfill.
This Week’s Call To Action:
- If it didn’t have to be new or “never been done before”, what would you do more of or express in a bigger way?
“The essential support and encouragement comes from within, arising out of the mad notion that your society needs to know what only you can tell it.”
1JWT, previously known as J. Walter Thompson, is a marketing communications brand headquartered in New York with offices in 90 countries. It consistently ranks among the world’s top agency networks.
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