On Being Different

Day 172 Week 25 Q2 Thursday, June 22, 2023

You cannot be better if you were the same. My ex boss, Amar Bose, the founder of Bose Corporation used to illustrate this by taking two bills out of his wallet of the same denomination that look the same and asking which one is better.  Many people who worked for him in the past, began to use this example when addressing others, and it still holds true.

If you want to strive for excellence, and to be better than the main stream, then you also have to be different. It does not matter how good of a copycat you are, if you don’t write original material, you were just a cover band. I’ve heard it said, there are currently 5000 Grateful Dead cover bands right now and the United States. This could be fun but what an insane thing to do if you want to earn a living.

There are so many copy cats in art, music, literature, theater, and in television. And why does anyone want to do this at all? Because it seems less risky to do something already popular. I cannot imagine as a creative person, wanting to do any of those things, because they had already been done, and what’s the fun of that.

I guess people think if they do the same thing that has already done, they will be safe, avoid risk and life will be smooth. I’ve never craved a smooth life. I’ve craved an interesting life.¬† This may not be the most sensible thing to do, but for me, it has much greater meaning than spending my entire life recapitulating what somebody else is already done.

I guess this is why, as a creative outlier, I eventually became an involuntary innovator. The very act of bringing into the world new manifestations, of new concepts, is what gives my life meaning. For me, imitation is not emotionally relevant. Therefore it is not emotionally engaging. I am disinterested in engaging what does not matter to me.

I do not think that it makes sense, for one to work to be different. You either are different, or you are not different. For me, I would have to work to be the same. Being different is an effortless part of my DNA. Just because you were different, does not mean you are better. In fact, most of the time being different, means being worse. It is extremely demanding to be both different and better at the same time. But it can be done, because everyone who has made it big in the world has done this.

Take the road less traveled. When you come to a fork in the road, take it. When faced with the repetition of zero risk, avoid it.

And finally have a point of view.  Preferably one that is different.