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How to discover what makes you unique

One of my college philosophy professors had a saying:

“Truth is more important than originality.”

The message he intended to convey was that it was best for us to espouse ideas which accorded with our convictions, rather than follow ways of thinking merely because they seemed fashionable or unique.

What is true of Philosophy is also true of Art and Life.

Most of us have encountered individuals who behaved, dressed, and spoke in certain ways just because they wanted to be different from everyone else. There are people in this world who will refuse to like a song or movie if it already has a certain measure of popularity. There are artists who choose not to express their ideas simply because they don’t want to create something that’s already been done before.

The problem with such an attitude is that the desire for originality comes at the expense of self-authenticity. In an effort to be different, we often end up denying who we really are, what we really think, and how we really feel. Ironically, in doing this, we become the uninteresting and uninterested caricature that we were afraid of becoming.

The thing to be realized is that we already are unique. Originality isn’t something which has to be sought. In fact, the very act of searching for it only reinforces the illusion that it is separate from us. The illusion collapses, however, when we embrace the idea that we are inherently indispensable, inimitable, and irreplaceable.

The quest for discovering what makes one’s self unique begins and ends with honesty.

The uniqueness has always been there. Honesty is the force that allows it to flow freely through you.

C.S. Lewis said it best:

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.

What are your thoughts?

T.K. Coleman

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