Originality is overrated. (use it to your advantage!)

Written by Arno Jansen

Ever wanted to share your unique ideas with the world but then didn’t because you doubted yourself? “Is this truly original? Am I just copying someone else’s stuff?”

It’s a common struggle, especially for creators and artists. Today, I want to help you break down that barrier and give you a new perspective to help you get comfortable sharing your work. Let’s look at 3 examples in modern day music, that were built on existing melodic ideas.

There is also a video version of this article available:

video preview

Breaking the Myth of Absolute Originality

As you may or may not know, besides coaching and training, I am also a musician. I get a lot of perspective and inspiration from making music, so let’s look at some musical examples to help you unleash your creativity.

First example is from Lady Gaga’s song “Alejandro”. Imagine her sitting down to compose that song and the captivating violin melody in the intro starts playing in her mind.

(Click here to listen to the violin melody in the video version)

Guess what? That melody traces its roots back to Vittorio Monti’s “Csárdás”, a classical concert piece for violin. Lady Gaga didn’t just copy it; she reimagined it, added her twist, and crafted something entirely unique around it, making it her own.

Lesson 1:
 Your ideas don’t need to be 100% original to shine. Embrace the inspiration, remix it with your unique flavor, and let it become a new masterpiece.

Finding inspiration in others

Now, let’s listen to “All by Myself“. Originally by Eric Carter, but made famous by Celine Dion. Its a heart-wrenching song that echoes the soul.

Would it surprise you to know that the iconic melody of the verse is borrowed from Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 2?

Listen to it, its clear as day!

These artists didn’t shy away from building upon the genius of those who came before them.

Lesson 2: Draw inspiration from various sources, let them harmonize, mix and mingle and create a unique composition that resonates with your voice to your audience. And let your voice be inspiration for others.

From Symphony to Rock Anthem

The third and final example is “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes. The song opens with the super catchy riff that makes the song instantly recognisable.

Listen to the “original” theme here. You’ll hear that it’s not a copy-paste job; it’s a transformation, a rebirth of that classical theme into a modern day song.

This song is a gritty rock anthem, but did you know that it echoes the power of Anton Bruckner’s 5th Symphony? That symphony was composed (almost) 150 years ago!

Lesson 3: Don’t let imposter syndrome silence your creativity. Your ideas, even if rooted in others, evolve into something entirely new through your lens. Embrace that transformation.

Your Creative Journey Starts Now

So, don’t worry about the origin of your ideas. To stick with the classical music metaphore: Instead, focus on the symphony that you’re creating.

Now, of course don’t blatantly copy somebody else’s work, and give credit where credit is due.

But do use what resonates with you and allow yourself to be inspired, remix fearlessly, and let your voice, your ideas be the guiding instrument.

Remember, your audience might not even recognize the original sources of your inspiration, just as you might not have known the classical pieces behind these hit songs.

What matters is how you use your unique melody to express your thoughts and ideas and how that can helps others.

Go ahead, break the chain of self-doubt, and let that inspiration out. Its what makes you come alive.

About that, lets end with a quote by Howard Thurman:

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs are more people who have come alive.”

The world is waiting to hear your unique tune!

You got this, I’m rooting for you! 🙌

Looking to get more productive, focused, and resilient?

Join my free Focus Finder email course to transform yourself from deeply distracted to fully focused.

    Looking to get more productive, focused, and resilient?

    Join my free Focus Finder course and go from deeply distracted to fully focused.

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