October 18, 2021

Who would crawl out from under the obscure?


Originality is source dependent.

Only by casting our creative lines unexpectedly into the waters of obscurity can we do something truly innovative.

As my mentor once told me, if you want to create something nobody has ever seen, you need to search for inspiration where nobody is else is looking.

Most people, however, play nothing but inside baseball. They spend all their time incestuously studying the current state of the industry, lingering too long on the fruits of other people’s creativity. They’re so focused on the world around them that they send out too much imitative energy.

It’s no wonder they produce safe, derivative, reheated and unremarkable work. Everything they make is just another copy of a copy of a copy.

Bezos knows that there’s no point in wasting his valuable energy on that struggle. He says that if we are obsessing over our competitors, then we have already lost out. The real goal should be to keep our competitors focused on us, while we stay focused on innovating for the customer.

In my experience after three decades of publishing my own work, it all starts with the source material. Becoming more promiscuous in our listening. Making our senses entirely open and vulnerable to every shred of stimuli that crosses our path. Even allowing for some emptiness so there is room for unexpected gifts.

That’s where the juice flows. And so, ask yourself this.

Are you reading and listening and watching and engaging with the exact same recycled drivel that everyone else is binging on, or do you flood your brain with a chaos of inspiration that is uniquely interesting to you?

Are you uncovering hyper specific source material that is completely out of the ordinary but surprisingly relevant?

If so, you work won’t be able to help itself from being original and innovative. Don’t allow your slowly diminishing circle of reference to become a reinforcing dark star.

Go out daily and nightly and feed your eyes on the horizon. Sit down before the feast of life, consume it all, and then see what kinds of magic you can poop out.

How much of your creative energy is channeled in the wrong direction?