You Are Unique, Use This To Your Advantage

Tom Stevenson by davisco on Unsplash

One of the biggest traps to fall into when you’re in a creative industry is to feel like your work isn’t worthy of merit. Maybe you’re feeling low, or maybe you’re not convinced your viewpoint is worth sharing.

It’s this last point that I’d like to look into in greater detail. On the face of it, the point seems a fair one. If something has been done numerous times and by people who are better than you, then what’s the point in doing it yourself?

I’m not going to write a better novel than George Orwell, so why bother trying? Well, this line of thinking misses the point of what it means to be creative and, in this instance, a writer.

The aim is not to write a better novel than Orwell, the aim is to put your point of view across to the reader in a manner that they can understand and emphasise with.

You are the only person who sees the world the way you do. Just because someone else has done what you want to do before you, does not invalidate your view. Instead, it gives you an alternative way of looking at things that you can harness to bring your thoughts to reality.

It’s seductive to fall into this trap when you’re feeling low, or the creative juices aren’t flowing, but it’s a trap. The great artists of the past may have been in awe of their predecessors, but that did not stop them from creating their own masterpieces.

Nor should it stop us.

Say What You See

It’s true that most of what we experience is the same as our ancestors. If you read the writings of ancient philosophers such as Aristotle and Seneca, you’ll notice that many of the things they talk about we still experience today.

Seneca’s writings, in particular, are relevant to the world we inhabit today despite being two thousand years old. We have made numerous technological advancements in that time but we still have the same fears, troubles and worries.

It’s easy to think that there’s no point in writing about any of this, or painting a picture to explain your pain, joy or sorrow. But you’re wrong.

The great thing about being human is that there is no time limit or cap on insights. Just because someone expressed how you’re feeling today, two thousand years ago, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t express those feelings yourself.

If we followed this line of thinking to its logical conclusion, no new books would be written, no new concepts would be thought up, or no new art would be created. Why bother, when it’s all been done before? The fallacy in this thinking is that though those artists may have felt like us, or wrote something similar to how we feel, they do not possess your unique point of view.

Everyone looks at the world through a different lens. One person may see a beautiful waterfall, while another may see a river flowing down into a pool below due to the forces of gravity.

This is the beauty of humanity, our ability to look at the same thing from a different perspective. Just as there is one way of doing things, there is no one way of looking at things either.

Yes, it may have been written about before, someone may have painted a similar picture, wrote a song that expressed similar feelings, but they weren’t you.

You’re the only person who can express the emotions inside of you. These feelings are no less or no more worthy than anything else that is already out there. Don’t be afraid to express your viewpoint for fear of it already being done before.

Your insight may contain information that benefits someone. It may inspire someone that comes across your work. By not committing to expressing yourself creatively, you’re denying others the chance to hear from your unique perspective.

Embrace You

Every one of us is unique. We all have our foibles, mannerisms and a unique outlook on life. If you want to be in a creative industry you must use this to your advantage.

It’s easy to downplay how important your view might be but this misses the point. Your view is just as important as everyone else’s. The number of followers, the amount of money you make, or the position of power you hold, doesn’t make your viewpoint more or less right.

It’s the same as everyone else’s, the difference is that some people have a bigger megaphone than others.

Think of all the books that have been written. I remember being handed the reading lists for some of my history topics when I was at university. They were huge!

Pages and pages of books all related to one topic. No one can write a definitive account of anything because there is always more than one way of looking at things. Life is subjective, not objective. A historian writing today may have access to more information than those of twenty years ago, or they may look at that information in a different light.

Your uniqueness is your superpower. It’s what separates you from everyone else and makes you special. Far from deriding this, we should embrace it.

In creative pursuits, your viewpoint is the most important tool you have in your arsenal. Use it to your advantage, express how you feel, offer your take on matters.

The world may not be calling for your opinion right now but it may not realise it needs it yet.

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