As business people, we are taught to find someone who is doing what we want to do and copy them. If our goal is to have a business that makes money, this is excellent advice. Why would you want to reinvent the wheel? However, if your goal is bigger than that, you have to think differently and provide an idea or service that has never been done before. This isn’t easy, but all the great ones are originals.
The need to be original will become more important in the future. With AI, robotics, and sophisticated communication technologies proliferating in the coming years, original thought will become even more valuable. Teaching by Zoom isn’t going to go away when COVID rescinds, it will only get better. If you haven’t yet subscribed to Master Class, you should. It’s pretty amazing and it’s a glimpse into the future. Everyone can learn directly from the best in the world. The world’s best writers, musicians, doctors, entrepreneurs, and artists are on Master Class, sharing their techniques with anyone who wants to learn from them. Why would you listen to someone who emulates Tony Robbins, when you can learn directly from Robbins himself? Some cover bands are almost indistinguishable from the original artists, but is it the same? Why do you think people are willing to pay $1000 to see the Rolling Stones in concert, but won’t pay $10 to see a clone of theirs? The same will be applied to almost everything we do. In the future, if your business provides something valuable and unique, customers will seek you out. If it is a carbon copy of someone else, people will seek the original – and technology will make it easier for them to find the original. In the coming decades, the laws of evolution will be accelerated 100-fold, and only the best and most original will survive.
Originality requires deep thinking, another skill most people have lost. How long can you work without looking at your phone or allowing your mind to drift? Prolonged focus is the key to deep thinking, and deep thinking is the key to originality. Understanding who you are and what you believe in is the best starting point because it forces you to think authentically. You can’t create or think originally if you are trying to be someone other than yourself. Once you figure out who you are, then you can think about what you have to say or what you have to offer the world. Marlon Brando, one of the greatest actors of his generation, once said that every time he delivered a line in a film, he tried to do it in a way nobody else would have ever thought to do it. I always thought that was impressive and I never forgot it. The most original among us are also the most valued.
Here is a list of 40 books to unlock and boost your creative thought.
Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to speak at the T3 Conference in Florida…I surprised the audience when I explained how the issue of diversity has been framed incorrectly, and has for the most part alienated the business community.
Elon Musk dropped by the Real Time with Bill Maher show recently for an interview with the host. Maher, who considers himself a liberal is an obvious fan of the CEO of Tesla and Space X. The centerpiece of their conversation was their discussion regarding what Musk called the “woke mind virus” or what I prefer to call “cancel culture”.
People sometimes get me wrong. They think that because I talk a lot about giving back and living modestly, I must not care about money. On the contrary, I care a lot about money because I understand how our system works.