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Everything Has Been Done But Mine Is Better!

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You’ve heard the expression: “Nothing is new under the sun,” haven’t you?

I believe, for the most part, it’s true. There are very few things that are completely original, and so what?

As one of my graduate school professors said, we all stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us. This is a happy thing, because who wants to reinvent the wheel, every day?

Recently, in a London courtroom, a lawsuit asserted the story line of the “DaVinci Code” is strikingly similar to a work that preceded it. The response of the defendant, in so many words, was of course! We’re all influenced by what we’ve read, seen, and heard!

I think the idea that something has to be truly original to be meritorious is foolish and it introduces an impossible standard into the realm of creativity. Can you think of a theme that hasn’t been the basis of a novel or a motion picture in the last 100 years?

It would be very difficult to imagine one, and even if you did, there’s no guarantee that its mere originality will make it appealing to an audience.

What every creative person has to be willing to say, to the assertion that his product isn’t original or new, is this: “Everything has been done, but mine is better!”

Nearly every artist paints a tree, but have you seen Van Gogh’s? They’re unbelievable, yet trees have been done before. To insist that he or any artist find something utterly new to paint would be absurd.

Approach a company or a school with an idea for a seminar, and hear them say, “We’ve done that before.”

If you take them at their word, you’re both mistaken.

They HAVEN’T done IT before, because they haven’t done YOURS.

You should have the gumption to say, even if the content, pricing, and other details are exactly the same, you’ll be offering the program at a different time, and my style is unique.

The creative person says here’s my take on this theme, my spin, how I view it, and even if my work is a slight alteration from the commonplace, it is a difference that makes all of the difference, in quality!

Dr. Gary S. Goodman, President of, is a popular keynote speaker, management consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books, including Reach Out & Sell Someone® and Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Customer Service, and the audio program, “The Law of Large Numbers: How To Make Success Inevitable,” published by Nightingale-Conant. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide. A Ph.D. from USC’s Annenberg School, a Loyola lawyer, and an MBA from the Peter F. Drucker School at Claremont Graduate University, Gary offers programs through UCLA Extension and numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. He holds the rank of Shodan, 1st Degree Black Belt in Kenpo Karate. He is headquartered in Glendale, California, and he can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at: [email protected]


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  • Posted On November 7, 2006
  • Published articles 283513

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