Given our focus on original thinking and academic integrity at Ouriginal, it is only natural that we talk about originality. A simple discussion on the definition of originality made us realize that this simple term can mean so many different things to different individuals!
Take a look at some of the definitions that we came up with:
- Originality is the basis for creating something unique through independent and critical thinking.
- Originality refers to lending one’s personal uniqueness and style to an idea.
- Originality is the art of uncovering one’s own true voice by thinking out of the box.
- Using and overcoming learned facts, knowledge and skills, originality defines one’s own unique voice.
From this discussion, evolved the need to delve deeper look into the concept of originality – what it means, its importance, challenges, and ways in which we can help overcome them.
We decided to explore the different facets of originality through a series of blogs that our readers and customers might find useful in their pursuit of originality.
Below is the first one from the series.
What does originality mean and why is it important?
How does one define originality? As mentioned earlier, there is no one way to define this term. A simple Google search reveals a myriad of meanings and explanations for originality.
The Cambridge dictionary defines originality as the quality of being special and interesting and not the same as anything or anyone else.
This definition ties in perfectly with a quote from Dr. Seuss:
The quote more or less sums up the importance and value of originality in our lives. It begins with us – each one of us is unique and taking the path less trodden, not conforming to the usual, championing new ideas and bucking the traditional approach to things is a challenging endeavour.
But why is being original so daunting? It’s because the moment we try to do something different or new, we expose ourselves to the possibility of ridicule and judgement.
History shows that philosophers, writers, painters and religious men were violently punished and disregarded when they dared to think in new or different ways or propagated ideas that went against the traditional thinking of those times. However, it did not stop these visionaries from forging ahead. For example, Oscar Wilde was gay during a time when society refused to accept it. But he dared to include homosexual connotations in his plays and was constantly challenging gender stereotypes. If Salvador Dali had followed in the footsteps of all the painters of his time, he would never have created his surrealist masterpieces.
Few among us have the courage to stray from the norm and to challenge the status quo. But for those of us that do it, the rewards are highly satisfying and worth fighting for.
The importance of original thinking
The challenging path towards originality begins very early in our lives. The initial school years tend to be the most defining years for most. Hence, it’s crucial to understand the concept of individuality and foster it from the very beginning. But why is originality important?
It helps us develop our own style and personality
Rather than trying to be like someone else, we should always hone our personal traits and strengths. This will allow us to develop as a unique and interesting individual.
It helps letting go of insecurities
When we decide to be original and follow the road less travelled, we don’t let the opinion of others bring us down. We let go of the fear of judgement and embrace who we really are.
It is the key to success
By knowing who we are and following our interests rather than the road decided by others, we will be able to excel in what we do.
It is the basis of all innovation and creativity
Only when we allow ourselves to think independently and outside the box, can we hope to create something truly unique. By being non-conformist, we can set new trends and define new ways of doing things.
In conclusion, what we must remember is that originality is not the domain of a few ‘gifted’ people – in fact, most people are capable of it. We just need to foster an environment that encourages and promotes unique, innovative and free-thinking in individuals. We need to create a culture of non-conformity.
In the upcoming blogs, we will take a deeper look at the different facets of originality and examine some of the challenges faced by educational institutions when it comes to fostering it.
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