There is no doubt that originality is what finally succeeds and sustains. Everyone understands the need of being original but a large majority trip at the first opportunity they get to copy.
Training the kids….
From a very young age the kids are being unfortunately taught to be a copy. The biggest mistake elders do is to make comparison telling the kids ‘Why can’t be like so and so or if he can do it why can’t you do it?’ Even in schools the teachers demand similar answers. Agreed, in most cases the answer should be same, but the presentation can always be different specially in languages.
Students are encouraged to have role models and try to be like them. Unfortunately, most think that to be like a role model means to look, talk, and act like him/ her. The only thing it should mean is ‘to be good’ like him/her. Following a role model means to study their journey and not trying to copy the end product.
Innovation and risk taking cannot come easily to the mind which has been brought up in a ‘bounded’ environment where freedom of thoughts is not encouraged.
The basic aim of education is to teach the kids to question the status -quo, innovate, invent and grow.
My take on originality….
Originality should be in thoughts and behaviour. It is the quality of your thoughts which matter most. It is the basic trait of a good leader. You cannot keep expressing someone else’s thoughts and expect to succeed or be a leader. In any military operation surprise is an important element. Surprise is best achieved when the idea/plan is original.
Originality flows from confidence which is dependent on the knowledge and self-belief the individual has. You got to have depth to be original. People will listen to you only when they have faith in you.
It is generally the ‘fear of failure’ which hijacks originality. ‘It has always happened like this’ or ‘this is what the boss likes’ interferes obstructs original thinking. You should study how things have been happening in the past only to find new ways of doing it. If everyone thinks in a similar way and follow same norms the organizational growth is bound to stagnate.
Leaders can encourage originality by having tolerance for failures. Subordinates will be only willing to innovate when they are assured that failures will not be taken against them.
My experience in the army tells that most innovative operational plans at grassroot level are made by those junior leaders who generally do not tow the set line. They are not undisciplined, they only follow their heart and mind in the matter of operations.
Everything I have written thus far might have been said by so many people before me. Should that prevent me from expressing it again? Well, my answer is a definite NO. While many might have said whatever I have written in this article but what matters was how many were listening to them? I am very sure that a large number wouldn’t have heard/ read what the others. I am re-writing things all over again with the hope that some of the ‘left-out’ would read and get motivated by my work. I have expressed everything in my own way to keep the interest alive even for people who might have read all this before.