Am I Original?

From the time we're young, we're taught to "be ourselves." This vague platitude often triggers many a ubiquitous eye-roll. We're taught to be leaders and not followers, to use our own ideas instead of plagiarizing from well-respected sources, and to do things in our own time. We don't have to get married just because all of our friends are doing it. We don't have to travel to the ends of the Earth just because it's the "in" thing to do. We just have to "be ourselves."

How do we know if we're "ourselves" enough? Originality isn't something that one can be, purely. The definition of being a human is giving and taking. That's how we're influenced by art, people, and thought.

Instead of striving to be "original," strive to practiceoriginality. Like meditation is not something that can be achieved, but practiced, so is our journey to originality.

Here are three originality challenges to put you to the test:

1. Make a fun collage out of clippings from the most boring magazines you can find.

2. Cover your hand in paint, make a handprint on a piece of paper, and pretend your handprint is the map to a city. Design your new city. (Add glitter.)

3. Come up with an entirely new alphabet, each new letter corresponding to those of your own native tongue, and try to write the first page of your memoir in your new language.

If you're not the most original person in the world, don't worry. No one can be completely original, but you can practice creativity in your everyday life. Think outside of the dodecahedron.

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