Every day, millions of artists share their creations with the world - programmers release new apps, designers release new designs, and writers release new articles.
And with each day the amount of available art in the world keeps increasing.
The sad thing is, while some of these works are original, most of them are not.
This is because most creators tend to take the easier route towards creating their art. And this easier route is nothing but to copy another successful work and just make something similar.
There are some very tempting reasons to copy another piece of work. It takes less time, less thinking, and less efforts to copy another product and make something similar.
And when it's so easy to copy another work why would anyone think of taking the difficult route of creating their own original work.
But there are still, and always will be, more valid and equally compelling reasons to do original work. And the most important one is this - products that remain successful for years, not just days or months, are often the ones that are original.
Sure, there are few exceptions when even a copied work becomes successful, but such products eventually fail. And when user's realize that they don't have the original product, they feel cheated and won't trust that brand again.
And even if you do succeed by copying other work, you'll never feel satisfied with yourself. Also, you won't be actually contributing anything new to this world.
If you want to create value in this world, and change someone's life in any way with your work - be it writing, designing, or programming - you should create original work.
And it isn't tough to come up with new ideas, you just have to think with an open mind and think about every possible way to accomplish a goal.
Already, there is plenty of junk out there that's polluting the internet. There are more copycats than creators, and that's why it's becoming more and more difficult to find the right product easily.
To see this in action, the best place to start would be the Apple Appstore. You can see that for most successful apps there are hundreds of copied apps.
Many developers make their apps simply by copying the looks or functionality of a successful app. But they fail to see the idea and the effort that went into making the original app. And that's why most of them fail.
They fail to understand that most apps that do succeed are original in at least one way - in giving a unique experience, a simple interface, or solving a new problem.
Copied work benefits no one. It creates an environment where consumers have to struggle to find the right product, and creators have to struggle to find the right audience.
It's our job as creators to clean this environment and provide real, useful information and products to people. If you are programmer, try to program original applications. If you are a designer, design original interfaces. If you are an entrepreneur, work on original products.
But does it mean that you've to reinvent everything on your own? Even those parts that have already been done?
No. You don't have to start from scratch every time, and you don't need to create every tiny part of your product on your own.
Many times, an interface or a programming module is so good that it can be used in multiple applications and designs. It's alright to reuse such resources that'll ease your job, and also work best for your customers.
When people are familiar with one interface they prefer to use other products that provide a similar interface. But remember we are only discussing the elements of the interface, not entirely copying the looks and feels of some other product.
Your product doesn't need to be hundred percent original, but make sure that it's based on an original idea and purpose. It's alright to be inspired by other work and make something to further enhance it.
Also, you simply can't afford to reinvent everything on your own. To be more efficient with your talent and skills you need to worry only about adding the uniqueness on your own. If other parts of your product have been done before, it's alright to use them in your own products.
But that still implies that you need to be original. You're using the earlier work just to ease your task and not do the same thing again and again. You're only using it because it's a basic part of your product and you don't want to waste your time in doing it, as you can better use this time in making your own product more useful and easier.
There is a certain fun and joy in creating original work. And the consumers too feel this fun and joy when they use such products. Anything that breaks from the regular stereotype and tries to make something simpler and easier is always welcome.
We love it when we can save our time, energy, or money in accomplishing our goals with a product. But we use only those products that we can trust.
And to gain your user's trust your work has to be original. If your user's feel that you simply copy some other leader, they'll follow that leader instead of you, and buy their products instead of your's.
This applies to every field. If you find that your favorite blog simply copies the content of other popular blog, you'll simply switch to reading the popular blog.
People love original information and products. Be it in writing, design, or application anything that gives them a unique experience is likely to stay in their mind for longer time. And if it stays in their mind for long time, they're likely to return again and again to use it or recommend it to others.
Sometimes, you can succeed for a short time by copying others. A good example would be to simply copy a popular paid application or service and give it for free or cheap. This way you can gain those customers that don't want to pay a premium price for the original product.
Many apps do their business in this way. But they fail to see the risk behind such approach. Unless you provide a great experience for that price, your customers will only stay with you as long as your products are cheaper than your competitors. But the day your competitor makes their service free or cheap, like your's, they won't think twice about switching to your competitor.
Your whole business can fail in no time. Is it worth building your business on such unreliable and risky foundation? Definitely not.
That's where leaders have advantage over their imitators. As a leader you have the advantage of seeing what's working and what's not, more earlier than your competitors. You are already ahead in understanding the needs of your customers.
And you can always try harder to keep up with their needs. If your users are totally satisfied using your products and services they won't even think of trying another one, and you can continue to lead them as before.
And what better way to lead them than to continuously create original and useful work.
But you may have a problem - how to create something new and original when everything already seems to be done?
It happens many times - you come up with an idea only to find that it's already been done.
But the key to original thinking is to think about more and more original ideas. It doesn't matter if anyone else has done it or not, you just keep thinking about ideas that are original to you. Don't worry about the implementation part yet, just keep working mentally on one idea after another.
When you think of new ideas everyday, it becomes a habit and you can come up with original ideas easily, and yes even those ideas that haven't been implemented yet.
But don't be original just for the sake of being original. Being creative is not enough; your products should be useful and solve the user's problem. If your users don't find your product useful, your original idea would mean nothing to them.
Just because your work is original doesn't mean it would be successful. If you look around you'll see plenty of examples of original products that were huge failures. Even successful companies like apple and google have produced original products that failed.
So it won't be any different for you. Being original is just the starting point. Your product should also be worth your user's time and money.
You have to maintain this balance of originality and usefulness while creating your product.
And as you keep producing original and useful work, you are bound to add more value to this world, and as a side-product, to your own life.
Whether programmer, designer, or entrepreneur let's not forget that we all are artists who bring new creations to this world. And just like a true artist, let's be original in everything we do.