What is Original Thought?

Posted by Mike Kaaks

10 October 2012

I love reading, sometimes for pleasure (I'm a crime story fan) and sometimes, and more often the case, for learning. On the learning side I see anthropology as the umbrella over my reading choices. Anthropology; it's a high sounding word which simply means the study of mankind. The common theme of my reading is how we work, how we live. This reading fuels my desire for understanding of self, and for insight into how things happen when WE are doing things together. At some point I may write my own book on the subject.

The first time I tried to write such a book, I encountered a barrier in the issue of originality. I had a strong feeling that for the book to be authentic, it had to unearth a previously unseen, unknown insight into life. A friend with whom I shared my problem helped me to see that what was interesting to her and those who know me is the unique way I see my world, helped me see that this is where the originality lies. The unique insight not previously exposed. And so it is for many if not all of us that our creativity is not necessarily expressed in world first discoveries.

Our creativity comes in many forms. I am reminded at this point of interviews I had with two psychologists when I launched into coaching in 2003. In the notes provided later, both described me as one who is happy, perhaps even happiest, when enabling, facilitating the thoughts of others. I've reflected on this many times in the intervening years and i now see it as an element of my purpose; to share the view of life which comes to me naturally and fluidly. That is where my creativity lies. It applies when I'm coaching, when I'm facilitating, or just when I'm assembling insights from the world around me to share with my friends and colleagues.

I love it when a thought I've had recently, and maybe started to share, also appears from another source. When someone else has had the same insight around the same time, likely responding to the same impulses which sparked my mind. We all experience this. The key is for each of us at such times to see ourselves as beings capable of original insights about life and the world around us. Not to discount our thought because it has emerged somewhere else as well. In fact I think that reinforces the worth of your thought.

Now, rather than lament a lack of original facts in my thoughts, I celebrate when I find those thoughts of mine being expressed by others, from their own original source. It's the greatest collaboration.