It’s rare that someone comes up with something completely, unquestionably 100% brand new. Even the biggest creations of the last 100 years - the iPod comes to mind - are piggybacking off of previous inventions. Look at Thomas Edison, who many credit with creating the light bulb. Let’s put it plainly: he didn’t. He built upon what was already there. His work was important, of course, but it wasn’t completely original.
That’s okay! The advancement of science and technology is all about building upon what already exists. Entrepreneurs and inventors cobble together new devices that take ideas and inspiration from what has come before. Standing on the shoulders of others is one of the most trademarks of creation. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t come up with something that is completely new. You might not create the wheel but maybe you figure out a way to improve it.
It's also super important to remember that sometimes amazing creations don't always look how you'd expect them to. Do you know what one of the biggest, most successful, profitable, and life-changing inventions of the 20th century was? The Post-It Note. It's true, that tiny, sticky piece of paper radically changed the way people worked. And how many kids do you think grew up saying they wanted to create that? Yet in terms of lives touched and improved, few things outdo the Post-It Note.
See, it's all about perspective. So what if you don't make the next killer app or technological marvel. So what if you're not the first one to come up with an idea? As long as you put your heart and soul into anything you make, you're doing something special.
A poster containing a lit candle, a tungston lightbulb and a compact fluorescent bulb. "Ideation: and you thought you were the first to have a bright idea."
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