Community//

Is Originality Possible in the Digital Age?

Following the crowd is easy, but staying true to yourself takes courage.

In the age of constant and instant information, it can be hard to practice true originality. With the round-the-clock bombardment of “knowledge and wisdom” that plenty of us willingly consume, are we even capable of having original thoughts and ideas?

I find this especially true when trying to create content for my business

Sometimes I wonder if my ideas would be different if I wasn’t always absorbing so much of other people’s information. I end up not creating anything at all because sometimes it seems like the only ideas I get are ones that I’ve already read or seen somewhere. 

The conversation in my head usually goes something like this:

“Oh, that’s a great idea. I’ll write about that!”

“Oh, no wait, I can’t. It’s already been done.”

“No, you can do it. Just do it differently.”

“Yeah, Ok. I’ll do that”

“No. I can’t. It’s been done!”

Then, I have nothing except an inner voice urging me to try to come up with something completely original, or it’s not worth it.

But is total originality even possible?

When you’re being spoon-fed concepts and ideas non-stop, it’s easy for your brain to give up its own thinking and just adapt whatever is being dictated to it. 

And that’s not OK.

So how do you practice authenticity in the age of Instagram filters, spun articles and reimagined content?

Imitation vs. Inspiration 

There’s nothing wrong with being inspired by the works of others, especially in the technological age of 24/7 connection that we’re living in. Inspiration enables us to create works of our own, but we need to know where to draw the line so as not to become complete imitations of the things or people that inspire us.

But what’s the difference between imitation and inspiration? Copying is almost a primal thing for us humans, it’s how we learn to do things. Especially in the age of digital marketing and online entrepreneurs. It’s so easy to just copy other people’s ideas instead of coming up with our own.

You’re probably wondering, “How does authenticity exist then?”

Well, I have no idea.

While it might not be as easy as it sounds, allowing yourself to be inspired while staying original is definitely possible. Since most of us are attached to some type of device at all times, we are always taking in ideas and thoughts from other people. What would happen if we put the devices down and allowed our original thoughts to surface?

Knowing yourself is the start of being authentic. And it’s hard to be authentic when we don’t spend any time alone with ourselves and our own thoughts.

Break the Mold

It has become commonplace to feel the need to “fit in” and do as society says. Breaking the mold can easily be regarded as a bad thing and it’s very rare for people to get praised for “breaking the rules”. And while it seems like the safe choice to keep doing what everyone has always been doing, this route usually only gives short-term satisfaction, especially if you’re masking your own ideas.

So, go against the grain. It might be a little uncomfortable, but doing so can lead to some much needed growth and progress. And don’t forget that every single time someone wanted to create or start anything great, they had to challenge or disrupt the status quo somehow.

We shouldn’t be afraid to do the same! 

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.