In Originals (2016), Adam Grant taps into the field of original thinking and explores where great ideas come from. By following unconventional rules, Grant gives us helpful guidelines for how we can foster originality in every facet of our lives. He also shows that anyone can enhance his or her creativity, and gives foolproof methods for identifying our truly original ideas – and following through with them.
Look in any dictionary and it’ll tell you that originality is the quality of having a unique or singular character. But what’s an original? In today’s context, originals are people who not only dream up novel ideas and shake up the status quo, but who also take the initiative to make their unique vision a reality.
Even the smallest things can identify an original. Economist Michael Housman discovered in his research that a certain percentage of customer service employees stayed in their jobs far longer than others. Seeking clues, he discovered a surprising link between how long someone kept their job and their choice of internet browser. Sounds crazy, right?
Get this: employees who installed browsers other than the default Internet Explorer were not only more likely to keep their jobs, they were also more likely to take initiative, confront challenges and find new solutions. In the end, the tendency to install Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox was tied to problem-solving abilities that, in turn, allowed these employees to stay in their jobs an average of 15 percent longer.
As for the other employees who simply used built-in browsers, they approached their roles in the same conventional way as they used the internet. They accepted the standards given to them and were unable to solve problems, which eventually made them sick of their jobs.
If you want to survive in the working world, your best bet is to become an original. The good news is, anyone can do it. Though we might not all be able to found our own companies, compose a musical masterpiece or alter the course of history with a stirring speech, we all have unique ideas with the potential to improve our work, our communities and our relationships.
Putting new ideas out there requires courage and the determination not to back down when you want change to happen. The first step toward becoming an original is overcoming your fear of taking action and standing up for your own ideas. But how? Find out in the next blinks.