I’m big believer in the concept of original thought. While I admire people who can run a business, play an instrument, or perfect a process, I have always been more interested in people who write the music, invent new technology, or essentially have the ability to create something that is totally original. Some of us have been taught that whatever it is we want to accomplish, there is somebody who has already done it, and rather than “reinventing the wheel”, we should just model ourselves after someone who has already accomplished it. Some people believe there is no such thing as original thought and that all ideas are derivative of something that has already been done. I don’t totally disagree, but there is definitely such a thing as originality and it’s unfortunate that we don’t do more to encourage creativity. The greatest contributors to our society are the ones who bring original expression, new business models, and fresh solutions to our lives. They are also among the most successful. Two books that I like on the subject of business creativity are The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry, and Zero to One by Peter Thiel. Making money is important, but I firmly believe if we dedicate our careers to solving problems and making other people’s lives better, not only will we be more successful, we will be happier in the process…
Discover why happiness comes from solving problems.
A farmer and his son had a beloved stallion who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbors said “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!”. The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.” A few days later the horse returned home, leading a few wild mares back to the farm as well. The neighbors shouted out “Your horse has returned and brought several horses home with him. What great luck!” and the farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”
I’ve written about this in other iterations. I’ve talked about finding your rhythm, and the importance of letting things come to you, not forcing things, and then riding the momentum when you have the wind at your back. The point of it all is that success is not linear. Progress doesn’t follow a straight line. For most people, the journey is long and winding. It looks more like a stairway or a hockey stick.