I used to enamored by the idea of being a thought leader. A pioneering trailblazer carving the way to new fields of revelation, bringing swathes of thankful followers with me. But today I’m content instead to be a thoughtful follower. It’s often the best way to show the way…
A thoughtful follower? Sure!
Most of the words that I speak or the words I write are inspired or prompted by something I have heard or read. Observations on something I have seen. Not one original, uninitiated thought.
Even the ones that seem to spring from unadulterated genius are generally the fruit of a conversation with God in prayer. Not in a heavens-opened-up-and-angels-delivered-a-world-changing-message way, just a plain old conversation in prayer way, where I give myself the privilege of shutting up for five minutes to let Someone far more intelligent than me do the talking.
So today, I want to slap an objection to the ground that many would-be creative entrepreneurs pull out of their why-not-bag.
Originality. Or rather, un-originality.
Are not all the best ideas already taken?
The simple answer is yes, and no.
Even in the 9th century BC, we find Solomon pointing out this high tech truth:
“That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9 NKJV)
The reality is, humanity is wrestling with the same fundamental problems they always have. Seeking security, significance, and a sense of purpose.
The means of answering those questions may have evolved and morphed over the centuries, but the itch that they scratch has not changed.
As men and women of faith in the marketplace we’re not looking for new, never before seen problems to solve. We are simply coming with new eyes, informed by our history, experience, and learning to offer our own unique take on the answers we believe will help our fellow travelers.
That’s where the uniqueness comes into play. You are the magic ingredient that turns a plain old information-pie into a deliciously original meal.
Thoughtfully follow the desires that God has placed in your heart. Let your history inform your present. What are the threads that weave through the fabric of your journey so far? What are the things that others come to you for advice and help on? What are the incessant promptings in a particular direction telling you?
As I have said so many times, mine is an almost obsessive fascination with words. Not in a scholarly way, but in a common, very ordinary I love to dig into a subject and scratch below the surface way. A delightfully curious want to communicate way.
For sure there will be a host of other folks doing similar things to the ones you propose.
Don’t get caught up in trying to be original.
The fact that there will only ever be one of you in all of history and eternity takes care of that gnarly problem. The fact that it is you picking up the diamond and turning it your hand will always shine a new light on a facet of the subject you are tackling.
Billionaires may be jostling for their market share in above the stratosphere right now, but most folks would be more than happy to just figure out how to live their feet-on-the-ground existence better.
Whether it’s wealth, health, relationships, or spirituality, there will never be a day when answers and leaders are not sought by the masses. You can be a leader in any one of those multifaceted spaces, bringing great value to the table.
Thank God we don’t have to build a spaceship to discover ourselves and our destiny.
Extraterrestrial life already landed on the planet, in a stable in Bethlehem a little over 2000 years ago. He guaranteed your success and is shaping you for glory. He’s here now by His Spirit to help you step into your purpose on earth (and possibly even in space if you become a billionaire with little more to conquer below the clouds!).
Let faith not FOMO (fear of missing out) guide your steps. Even if your ideas seem unoriginal, and your intellectual merchandise somewhat unremarkable compared to the other stallholders in Vanity Fair, do not fear. Keep carving your way to your core, and you’ll discover that you are an original.
Seek only to share sincerely, whole-heartedly, and without such harsh self-criticism, and you’ll be surprised at how many seemingly never-before-seen-or-heard ideas spring from your open heart.