Nothing is New, and That’s A Good Thing

One of the ideas that inhibits creativity is the notion that it must always come as a flash of genius or an amazing “aha!” moment where they discover something totally new and unheard of in the history of mankind. They sit at their desks all day, trying to will their muse to magically appear and inspire in them an otherworldly idea, and when nothing new or inventive enough comes to them, they feel frustrated and grow more and more convinced they are simply not cut out for creative work. Eventually, they abandon all attempts at trying to lead a creative life, leaving it to the artists, inventors, and “true creatives” to do the hard task of coming up with something totally original, preferably a masterpiece of sorts.

But here’s what those great artists, inventors, and creatives have known all along: nothing is completely original. Every new idea has roots from somewhere else or is an outgrowth from a more primitive “parent idea.” What we call “original” actually came from preexisting themes and ideas that have only been reimagined or combined in new ways. Yes, we might even use the word derivative.

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