What is an Original Thought?

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Principles Series
Last Edit
Apr 3, 2022 01:48 PM
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In a world with seven billion people, it’s hard to say that anything is an original thought. Even something you come up with has certainly been inspired by others and almost as certainly has been dreamed up in one of those other seven billion minds. Not far behind those certainties, it’s almost as likely that it’s already out there on the internet in one form or another.
So it is with this content. I will always note cases where an idea shared here is a direct rip of someone else’s. But in other cases an idea or concept is likely to exist somewhere. Indeed, even a thought as ridiculous as yesterday’s “Reality is like a lava lamp” analogy is at least somewhat found in a random blog, though they take a different angle to it.
Creativity is necessary but not sufficient for originality to exist.
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Maybe it’s an odd existential question for one to worry about. But I do. Working on a startup also makes me keenly aware of the sheer volume of ideas that exist out there, as well as the sheer number of businesses and products (many failed). If almost no thought is original, what’s the point of, well, thinking? Or this column?
Honestly, I’d love thoughts on that. What can I do to make this valuable? Right now my focus is to surface good ideas that are broadly applicable and translate them into succinct and colloquial bites.
Even that may not be unique. But as with a startup, you have to make a jump at a point. Just as is the case with startups, many languish in the shadows because fewer people step up to drive them forward than they should. So it is with ideas – many are simply floating out there but still need advocates to bring them forward.