Inspiration: To Thine Own Self Be True

Imitation is Suicide. Insist on yourself; never imitate.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Inspiration: To Thine Own Self Be True... Know yourself - Embrace your portrait

Embracing Our Divine Idea…
Do you know what your divine idea/calling is? Where do original ideas come from? Do we know when we have an original idea? When was the last time you felt connected to your divine/original idea/calling? I chuckled when I saw the quote above by Emerson. It is a quote that I have permanently on my sidebar; a reminder to myself to “do me,” and one of my all time favorites. When I first read the #Trust30 prompt for today, I was actually thinking of the foundations of creativity and genius; the origins of new concepts and ideas and how/where those inspired works of art, music, architecture, fashion, and literature spring from. Initially, I was thinking in line with the question: Where do original/divine ideas come from? Opinions vary, some say original ideas come full blown without prompting, while others suggest they come through innate talent, intelligence, via our muse, through focused consistent effort, in our DNA, or through prayer. I reconsidered and looked at another question.

#Trust30 is an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge. The #Trust30 Prompt: There is a “divine idea which each of us represents” – which is yours?

Do you know what your divine idea/your calling is? The more I thought about it, the more I found myself leaning in the direction of our personal calling to creativity and originality; something more in line with the quote by Barbara Grizzuti Harrison “There are no original ideas. There are only original people.” It is true that each of us is uniquely made and that, perhaps, our divine roles/ideas are encoded in our psyche. But do we know, without a shadow of doubt, what that calling or potential is? Each of us comes into the world with special gifts…some acutely aware of those gifts or talents and others less so. I’ve often wondered why some kids know, at an early age, that they want to do a specific thing while other kids spend a lifetime searching…

How do we know what is ours to claim and what isn’t? Using my own experience as a frame of reference, as a child, I was drawn to certain things; art, music, dance, writing, literature, and biblical stories, but I had no interest in other areas; in certain things that mattered to my siblings and even my parents. There was a prompting within; an attraction or a calling to specific interests, and it was up to me to follow through and reach my potential in those areas. How about you? More below. :-)

“Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.” Howard Aiken

Inspiration: To Thine Own Self Be True... Cognition-Libido and our origins

Do we know when we have an original idea? This is an interesting question because I immediately started thinking of inventions and new social media; the many changes we’ve experienced in the fields of science and technology over the years. I would attempt to suggest that when we produce a new object, a treatment, a gadget, anything that meets and fills a gap and a need in the marketplace, originality is attached to that idea. But what about those fleeting ideas we get and brush off or bury because we are afraid or don’t know how to go about manifesting the idea or creating the tool? Unless an idea is tested, explored, used for a purpose in the public arena it is hard to determine or claim its originality. or is it?

By the same token, do we always stand by our views, our vision, or belief in ourselves when tested or are we often swayed by the views or expectations of others? If we talk about authenticity and then go against our own pronouncements when tested, what does that say about our claims of originality or about our character? To thine own self be true… I would say that our flaws, our strengths and our weaknesses are facets of our true nature and do indeed add to our uniqueness; therefore, originality isn’t limited to good and godly ideas or things, it includes our character; the bad, the ugly, warts and all. What do you think?

“An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.” Victor Hugo

Inspiration: To Thine Own Self Be True... Originality, divinity and its sources

When was the last time you felt connected to your divine/original idea/calling? I think that while some of us make a conscious effort to reflect and connect to the original or divine source of our calling/gifts within, others live their gifts by doing their work. When we show up daily to honor our gifts by sharing our skills, our knowledge, and ourselves with other people and the world, we are connected to our calling and representing our divine idea. Our divine idea guides us to stay true to who we are…. to serve, to heal, and to help others. What are your thoughts? Do you know what your calling or divine idea is? What trait or skill do you have that is uniquely you? Do share! Thank you. ;-)

This post was inspired by a prompt from RalphWaldoEmerson.me: There is a “divine idea which each of us represents” – which is yours?

Positive Motivation Tip: As long as we are living our lives from a place of excellence, the best way we know how, and with authenticity, we are living up to our potential, up to our divine ideas.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: Photo of Art portrait collage, Cognition-Libido , Kairouan Mosque via Wikipedia

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

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41 responses to “Inspiration: To Thine Own Self Be True

  1. For the life of me I don’t know if I have ever had an original idea and I am still searching for my divine idea that is me..but I so admire those that are original!

    • Hear, hear! You are an original BB and I know it from reading your hilarious posts. Perhaps, it is not a bad thing to be unsure… it keeps us working hard. ;-)

  2. I get so many ideas, I joke that I should sell them. Even if I lived to be a thousand, there’s no way I could bring them all to fruition. I’ve had several original ideas — a few I acted on and many I didn’t because of a variety of reasons but it probably boils down to one: fear. Just recently, I heard that someone was doing something I thought of doing (and wrote a concept paper about) several years ago. I believe we are given the idea but we have a certain amount of time to run with it. When we don’t, it’s ‘passed’ on to someone else.

    A long time ago, an astrologer told me I was here to bring beauty to the planet — which only got me more confused. I knew early what I liked – words/ideas, images, music, food, art/design, etc. I never liked the sciences or math — too rigid. In my world, there isn’t just black and white, there’s also grey and there are times when 1+1 doesn’t always make 2. I’ve worn many hats, sometimes simultaneously, but I think they all were preparation for my life’s work.

    I do believe though, that if we don’t do what we’re supposed to, if we don’t honor the gift we’ve been given — that we can become physically ill, miserable, unhappy and spread that unhappiness to others around us.

    Whenever I see children display certain skills or talents — I encourage them especially when they’re doing something that’s unconventional.

    This is a great post, Elizabeth. You seem to hitting on some of the themes I’m grappling with at the moment.
    Thanks,
    Marcia

    • Thanks Marcia and I love that idea of original ideas being passed on if we don’t jump on them. I’ve seen things I imagined come to life elsewhere… then I marvel and say, I shoulda coulda and … then move on.
      I’m fascinated with the creative impulse and how it works… Some say that the harder we work, the closer we get to the creative source… All valid.
      Thanks for your feedback and I have to say that the #Trust30 prompts are giving me food for thought too. :-)

  3. Hi Liz,
    What a timely post. I just finish watching Charlie Rose interview David Brooks about his new book entitled “On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense.” I highly recommend going over to the show and listening to the interview. Brooks had done a lot of research with scientists on the processes of the brain centering on how we think and where our emotions, thoughts, ideas originate from. The question of creativity and originality was discussed. One point that David made and I tend to agree with is that we are interdependent. That how we perceive things is in part a reflection of a learned stimulus from others e.g. we know what a glass is, however we learn something about the object and the motivation of someone depending what is done with the glass (to take a drink or to wash it).
    It is rather difficult to understand the deeper elements of who we are and why we do the things that we do i.e. create, learn, love one person and not another etc.
    Originality, I believe is a continuing construct of mankind that is the synapses connecting all of us.

    • Thanks Walter, I love Charlie Rose and will go find the interview on PBS and watch it… Interesting idea from David Brooks.It makes sense that we are interdependent but how do we distinguish ourselves from others…? or rather what gives some of us the impetus to set our world on fire with original stuff while the rest continue the humdrum?
      I had a ton of questions while writing this post and I will sit and reflect some more on the subject. I love all the feedback I’m getting as each person is giving me insights on the subject… fascinating. ;-)

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  5. I have many dents in my forehead from banging my head against the proverbial brickwall. I’m frequently trying to bring ideas into play way before anybody is ready – it’s a lonely path.

    Very nice post Eliz!

    • I hear you and that is why I like that quote: “Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.” Howard Aiken
      It is true that many of the original concepts, ideas, products, we enjoy today were derided by many who pop poohed them… I even think back to Socrates and Galileo.
      It takes great courage to stand by an unpopular, original idea… :-)

  6. Jackie Paulson Author

    Hey Eliz, you are my inspiration for a lot of things. You have posted a comment to my blog since day #1~ Thank you as I appreciate your efforts as you so divenly write these nice articles. I have no clue what I am suppose to be doing for a living right now (unemployed) taking one day at a time. I love to read and am taking a new avenue to do book reviews and researching that aspect. I believe we are all called to do something as in the book The Cause Within by matthew barnett. I envy those who do what he does. I admire you Eliz, since day one you have been faithful with your inspirational posts and well done photo’s and quotes. I do see all that you do for all of us here – Thank you very much. Jackie, your fan….just one of so many.

    • I could not have said it any better Jackie. It is true Elizabeth is invaluable and yes she has commented on my blog from day one as well :)

      Good luck Jackie in all of your pursuits. You are quite gifted and will achieve whatever your heart desires.

      Peace Love and Light
      Walter

      • Thank you Walter… I enjoy reading what y’all write and I look forward to responding.
        Yes you are both gifted at what you do… Blessings :-)

    • Jackie,
      Thank you so much AND the sentiments are mutual. You have been a wonderful, caring blog buddy and I am grateful we are connected. These are difficult times globally but, like you, I believe our gifts and calling are divinely inspired and spirit will not let us fail;even as we struggle to get on with life and its daily demands.
      I just thought you should know that what I write helps me with my challenges as I have them too, and the feedback gives me faith to continue writing. Through it all, I have gained a better sense of God’s grace and blessings in my life.
      You will be fine Jackie; we will all be fine.. TY! :-)

  7. Real food for thought in this one.

  8. I love the art collage that you picked to illustrate your point, especially with the creature on the lower left hand corner taking his rightful place nonchalantly as part of the Self Portrait. It had me laughing with his big smile and straight on pose !

    • Hi there,
      I’m glad you cottoned on to the collage and the wonderful way it helped me address the topic. The animal’s ( the mythical Nian in China) confident look and direct gaze made me smile and wish we could all be that clear about who we are and what we stand for… I loved it. Thank you!
      I checked your gravatar and there is no blog attached. If you have one, do come back and share yours so I can support you.
      Thanks again for stopping by! :-)
      Elizabeth

  9. Elizabeth, your thoughts on this prompt are profound. Is there such a thing as original thought? Today is my last day in NY and while I was here, I learned about some important original thinkers (artists, activists, writers, etc).

    One thing that I couldn’t help notice was how many Broadway plays are based on either old television shows or old movies. Is there anything original in that? I am not sure because the playwright may be putting his or her own stamp on a known theme.

    I am probably putting too much into this, as I am tired and ready to go home. Thanks for a great post! Miriam

    • Hi Miriam,
      I wondered about that too… Where we get original thought and how much of it we see today in the theater is a great question.
      I’m glad you enjoyed your time in NY and I’m sorry we didn’t meet; perhaps next time. Get home safely and thank you for stopping by. I enjoyed reading your posts on the #Trust30 Challenge. :-)
      E

  10. First of all, I completely agree with Jackie and Walter that you are an inspiration to all of us here and you have an amazing talent to lure us all in and give you details of each of us while making us deeply reflect on who we are. I am very grateful for you, Elizabeth!

    That said, I love it where you say our “flaws, our strengths and our weaknesses are facets of our true nature and do indeed add to our uniqueness; therefore, originality isn’t limited to good and godly ideas or things, it includes our character”. Originality, to me, is not about sticking rigidly with a particular idea or even an occupation. It’s about staying true to the code by which you live in an ever changing world. Ideas come and go and have a usefulness in their time over history but faced with any predicament, choosing to do what is right in your mind is always going to be an original decision and the uniqueness of who you are.

    I don’t worry about struggling to find that great “light bulb” idea or “perfect job” and rather just live each day by the morals and beliefs I have chosen. That, to me, is the only way of maintaining originality.

    • Thank you Karen, the sentiments are mutual… I agree with you on the way we often choose to live our lives; to just live each day by our own moral compass. Ideas come, they go, they return and we can capture them or let them fly… :-)

  11. Sometimes it takes too much energy, too much work to be original. I guess that’s why we hold it in such high regard, because each of us knows how much effort it can require. How often are we REALLY inspired? Not often enough, I’m afraid. Life gets in the way. (Oh, I’m so due for a vaca!)

    • Interesting observation… Yes, it take a lot of effort but sometimes it comes full blown after years of work/reflection.
      In terms of inspiration, I have noticed than even on days when I’m not feeling particularly inspired, the act of writing something down helps me find a way and ideas to finish the task… A real eye opener for me.. I need that vaca too. :-)

  12. We are easily influenced and manipulated . . . especially if we are not mindful of the choices we are making:

    To be nobody but yourself ~ in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else ~ means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~ e.e.cummings

    Like you, I’m amazed with folks like Mozart who find their paths so early in life . . . and make the most of their journey.

    But I’m equally amazed with folks like Grandma Moses who unearth latent talents later in life.

    • Yes there is so much to sway us in the world… from within and without, and it takes self knowledge to say No to things firmly. I admire those who embrace their calling later in life too… and success in later life can be the sweeter berry. I’m all for being a late bloomer… :-)

  13. Picasso said “Bad artists copy. Good artists steal.”
    I think that leaping forward from the ideas of other people is a natural flow of creativity. For example, the wheel! Another example is FB. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t invent social media. There was Friendster, MySpace etc. before Facebook. But Facebook took it to the next level…
    I wish I knew exactly what my calling is… but I think I’m headed in the some good directions!

    • Sure, ideas are re-cycled all the time and even refined. We see that everyday in business and art. With social media, I tend to look at innovation in that arena as independent of each other; they each serve a unique purpose and demographic. As new platforms arrive, we will see adjustments in how we use the medium. Social media was around well before Mark and Facebook showed up. In my opinion, Twitter is truly an original concept.
      TY! :-)

  14. I think conditioning, including schooling, contributes to the need to conform and not stand out.
    Like you said, it takes courage, hard work and a level of masochism to push through and shine.
    Even our mainstream media reports the news with a certain expected slant; by taking a populist view. Rarely do we see mainstream media defend an unpopular position.
    We all want creativity, originality, and positivity but jump and run when it comes calling. Those who stick it out reap the rewards or pay the ultimate price when naysayers attack.
    I live everyday to do me. I don’t want to do anyone else and yet, some will say do this thing or that other thing. Adjust. Belong…
    It’s not easy being me… Kermit was right and your post is helping sort through my thoughts on the subject, thank you!
    B

    • True and as we become entrenched in our rigid conditioning, we are less inclined to rock the boat or endorse innovative ideas. … it’s not easy being green, or me…. I love that Kermit reference as its an accurate struggle for many of us. :-)

  15. A
    we can’t hunt for ideas, to have one.
    we will not find any idea with such a method.
    the ideas find us!
    +
    said by? Nietzsche, Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher.
    +
    B
    my personal methods: my home is my castle.
    aim: to make my home comfortable.
    problem: when I leave my home to be in other cities,
    I have the fear that I can’t find any idea no more.
    But, surprise: they still find me.
    must be there millions on the road.
    +
    P.S.:
    C
    had a flight today from Duesseldorf to Munich -
    your live traffic feed noticed that :-)
    maybe today I am not writing out of my own.
    maybe I copy your idea completely?
    maybe copied: A + C
    my own: B

    • Good points.. though research can help find/refine an idea for a paper. Every day, I wake up wondering if I’ll have enough juice and yet, somehow, we do…
      Keep it up and have a safe return home from Munich. :-)

  16. thank you for inspiring me too.

  17. I believe each of us do have our own originial gifts, but its hard to vision its concept and the whole being of this gift. I use my gifts, accoringly to express myself and for gaining insights to my thoughts and actions in life. We can be easily influenced and manipulated by those around us, but it takes a strong character to establish what is the true nature of one’s self and remaining true to self.

    • I’m with you on that as there is so much to distract us from our goals and views. I believe that as we mature and trust in our gifts, we can focus on doing the work and leaving the other “stuff” at the door. All comes together in God’s good time. :-)

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