This picture hangs in our bathroom right above the toilet. Sometimes when I have drunk a lot of water, I will stand there for a bit (I won’t illustrate further) and look at all the rocks. Yes, every one of them is a rock. Yes, they are all a shade of brown. But they all have their own shape and contours. It reminds me how great it is to be around unique and interesting people.

Thwarting Conventional Wisdom

I love when the conventional wisdom is thwarted with facts. This usually happens about the time someone questions a commonly held belief, actually applies some science to it, and then discovers the truth backed by proof.

Ironically, these facts are considered controversial whereas the conventional wisdom that came from opinion and groupthink is held as the norm. So what does this have to do with being unique?

We are what we think. Our perspective on the world. Our beliefs. The truths we hold all combine to make us who we are.

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”

3 Steps to Being More Unique

When it comes to art and creativity, it’s even more important to have your own voice. Your art should represent you as much as you represent your art. It’s hard to be creative when you’re thinking the same way, like the same things, and follow the same routines as everyone else.

1) Consider the opposite
Train yourself so that when everyone is thinking the same way, you consider the opposite.

There’s a danger here that needs to avoided. Don’t be a contrarian. Just because everyone loves something, you don’t need to hate it. No one likes to be around negativity like that. Treat each person’s opinion with respect even if you are considering the polar opposite. Buck the trend, don’t take a flame thrower to it.

2) Don’t censure yourself
When you see the white rabbit running in a different direction, get off the path and follow it. Don’t be afraid of the woods. See where it takes you. Don’t stop your creative burst by censoring yourself. We all have inhibitions and beliefs that cause us to do the same things over and over. Take a break from the routine and see where it leads you.

3) Think, analyze, empathize
Think about alternatives. Analyze why you believe what you do. And above all else, really listen to others and empathize with what they are feeling. Put yourself in other shoes.

Although I have a bunch of techniques for being more creative, the three above are my tried and true “go-to” methods. They’ve gotten me out of more than a few creative jams.