You worked for hours, days, years, only to suddenly find that someone else already has your idea. Don’t quit so soon!
How many times have you come up with an idea for an article, product, game etc. only to find that as soon as you start putting it into action (writing the article, developing the product or game) you suddenly find someone else almost the same say or just the day before has published it.
It’s incredibly frustrating knowing that someone has beaten you to the punch.
Yet, it’s entirely common.
The reason simply is because our minds are now open for seeing what we didn’t see before. Psychology is at play.
It’s likely your great idea was already out there somewhere anyway, or at the very least in the provess on someone else’s mind, yet you wouldn’t know because we tend to not see things until we start looking for them.
Then suddenly, bam, it’s everywhere, almost like common knowledge. We wonder if we were just slow, but no. We just see what is on our minds at the time. If it wasn’t before we likely miss it, but then as soon as we make it the focus we notice it a lot more.
Yet, maybe our big idea was truly unique. It might be to us, but there are almost 8 billion people on the planet so clearly, someone is going to be thinking of the same thing at some point.
Even if no one did and you published it then it wouldn’t be long at all before it became common knowledge or someone copied in different words etc.
So, what to do?
Why you should keep going with your idea
Firstly, don’t worry about it or quit on it.
If you’ve invested a lot or time, energy or money into something then it’s better to continue and tweak rather than crash and burn. If you’ve hardly invested any time then you have more leeway to choose what to do, but just because someone has beaten you to the punch it shouldn’t mean throw in the towel.
Yet, there’s an important distinction to make first as to whether the idea is truly original to you.
There’s a huge difference between someone who comes up with an original idea using their own imagination and experience that then happens to already be out there, to someone simply searching for inspiration and more or less copying what they’ve found.
Even your unique idea will have been formed from experience and from different material you have read before, but it still came from creative curiosity rather than from plagiarism.
As long as you aren’t simply copying someone else then you really shouldn’t give up on it because if you’ve come up with the idea yourself, say for an article, then your mind is in a very different place to those who simply copy.
Firstly, you are actively putting your imagination to work, and cross-dividing creative output and logical reasoning together to come up with words from your own source – your mind.
This means you will be able to come up with many more ideas. When your mind is in a creative flow like this you become able to find inspiration anywhere, not from copying an idea already there, but from spotting other needs that aren’t so apparent and applying your own solution to it.
Well, you mind is actively seeking to expand to problem solve and provide value.
That is a flexible mind. It’s diamond thinking. It’s entirely different from a mind that is in copy mode.
On the flip side, if you only come up with an idea from copying others and slightly changing it to make it sound original, you will only be kidding yourself as you won’t develop the capacity to escalate ideas and find a flow of mental exploration that comes from ‘creatical’ thinking.
Why should you think originally?
There’s many people in this world who get through life by learning from books, gaining grades and fitting in. That is fine for some people, yet it also leaves many to feel unfulfilled in their jobs and lives.
When you come up with original solutions that just so happen to be out there already, but without your prior knowledge, then you are still adding value to others as you are seeing it from your own experience and perspective. Don’t feel bad about pursuing it.
We are in an ever changing world with disruptions happening all the time. To hear the same message again by someone else isn’t uncommon, and more to the point, isn’t actually a bad thing. It can be refreshing, as it’s can reiterate what someone was thinking, just from your own unique perspective.
Think about the basic principles of exercise, nutrition, money. There’s countless articles, companies and other resources around these subjects.
Should one personal trainer quit because another personal trainer started earlier, had more of a following and has similar content?
No. Absolutely not. Let’s say this is you. You still have value to give. You still can teach them how to workout or enhance their body, and even if the content and subject sounds the same you might well have a different take on how to do it.
What you don’t do is just copy the popular material and make it your own. That gives you no edge and leads you playing catch up constantly. Instead you can think of adding better methods, emerging trends, you own style to the teaching.
Why we think we have to be the best?
If everyone gave up when they suddenly heard there was someone else out there who had the same idea, article, product then there would be a hell of lot of people giving up.
We may have been brought up in a monopolized world where we are led to think that if we aren’t at the top we are nothing, yet this is really poor advice to believe.
The mountain top approach to life creates a perfectionism attitude that will lead you to be trapped in life. You will never release anything if you will constantly worry if it’s good enough, and if you finally do then you likely have waited so long that others have come up with it long before (it’s old news now), and have taken the thinking to a whole new level.
It doesn’t mean rush it just to get something out first, as first shouldn’t matter. Adding value matters though, so if you are genuine in what you produce and if you hold back the perfectionism critic within, or the expectation on the outside, then you begin to create a body of ideas or content that will have some value, somewhere for someone else.
If you think of the people who become well known for a particular field, they simply didn’t give up. They might have talent, but so might you. Generally what deprecated them was they didn’t give in. They didn’t quit because someone else had the same idea. They didn’t seek to copy others to make their way either. If they did then they would just be the same as everyone else.
We live in a globalised and diverse world today and that is a great thing. In such a world it can feel hard to be original but if you think from within then you are original as no one else has the same experiences and background as you, and therefore you have different stories, knowledge and perspectives you can bring to the table.
Also, you might think your work is too similar to someone else but that’s because you are looking for the similarities rather than the differences.
When you think originally you won’t find it hard to come up with new ideas or content. You will always find a way to make your ideas stand out differently in the long run. You will find ways to add an angle that is unique to you and most importantly, adds value to what others need.
Remembering that will help you. If you just copy and seek to make something that simply fits the current trend, and has no passion or originality to it, then you will likely quit anyway before long.
So, how to think originally?
Firstly, which we know by now, don’t copy.
Secondly, drop the perfection and just create from the heart and seek to solve problems out there (whether someone else has or not).
Finally, embrace being adaptable and diverse in your thinking as the more this world disrupts and produces a fusion of content, information, and ideas the more your originality in how you think will matter.