January 22, 2024•547 words
Originality is a polarizing topic. I've said in a previous post that originality doesn't materially exist, it's just an idea. It's a combination of habits and experiences that you've accumulated over the course of your life. The experiences you have, whether they happen to you or that you cultivate yourself, embed habits in your subconscious that about 95% of the time dictate what you do in your day to day life. It's only when you consciously choose to go against your subconscious habits that you can retrain how your subconscious behaves. The tricky part is making the right choice when that 5% comes around to test you of your systems. Your willpower will disappear, systems don't. Any goal without a list of actions that explains how to get there will not be fulfilled. You're only as strong as the systems you put in place, so don't bet on yourself to make the right choice only when the moment comes that you need to make a snap judgement - plan your actions ahead of time according to the outcome of the habit you desire, and then do the actions when the time arrives. Eventually you'll be a different person and you'll no longer have to plan to be a certain way, you'll just be that way.
This applies to originality, but nobody talks about it, which is frustrating because it mystifies the process at how one becomes more original than they already are. If originality is a combination of habits, I've explained above how to cultivate new habits. But then there is the experiences part. If you're an artist, go out and seek new art that you've not seen before. If you're a personal trainer, always be researching the development of fitness research. If you're a web developer, go find websites that inspire you and study how a website was built. The key here is to attain information from outside your established reality.
Then, take a piece of information you've collected and combine it with different pieces of other information. They don't have to be from the same section of discipline by the way. You can combine art you found from a dada artist with how to build a house. The combination of opposing information/ideas/experiences will indeed be original, but that doesn't make that originality aesthetically pleasing or desirable. Combine information in a vast amount of ways, then choose from those combinations which are the most likely to align with what your spirit tells you. It's hard to describe what I mean by 'what your spirit tells you' because it's a very intuitive feeling that can't be translated through words. It's like feeling Tao or speaking to God, if you believe in that - the point is I can't feel it for you. There's a book called "The Book of Five Rings" that explains life/death strategy from the perspective of a master swordsman named Miyamoto Musashi that goes into detail with what I mean by 'spirit'. Once you feel spirit, you will see it in all things. For me, it's creating art and weight lifting. The strategy of combining opposing information will be original, but it won't feel original unless spirit is present. People will know if it's not there so don't try to fool anyone.