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Originality does not exist.

When something is called original, the sources are unknown or ignored.

Nothing is original.

Even human beings aren’t original – we are the product of a genetic lineage that stretches back millennia.

We aren’t born with identity; it is created by copying others; we pretend to be our heroes and act like them. How many small girls wanted to be Barbie? How many little boys dressed up like Batman? As we get older, we copy other heroes.

I’m not into idolatry, but I do follow people that I respect.

Ali Abdaal is a doctor and Youtuber who is the embodiment of someone who copies mercilessly. He admits it. His unfair advantage is that he can systematise the information he imbibes and create new methods to disperse it to his audience. By taking a few paragraphs from a book, a few sentences from a podcast and one tweet, he creates genuinely engaging content that I find very valuable.

Ali recommends several books and Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon is one of them. It is a fantastic book. I read it in 45 minutes, and it has changed me. The central conceit of the book is this:

“A wonderful flaw about human beings is that we’re incapable of making perfect copies. Our failure to copy our heroes is where we discover where our own thing lives. That is how we evolve.”

The essence of creation is merely embracing influence (copying) and making it yours.

I genuinely think that ideas create real wealth, especially in the Age Of Information. Five billion people are connected, and they all want something from it, and you can give it to them.

Many people don’t want to create content out of fear. What if my mom watches it? What is a future employer sees it? What if I am taken for an idiot?

None of that matters, people really don’t care. They’re focusing on themselves, not on you. The upside is massive; the downside is your fear. This does not only apply to being a creative person on the internet; it is more universal than that.

There is no pressure when you’re unknown. Do things for fun. There is nothing to distract you from getting better.

Embrace being a beginner, show how you work, share that process with others. I learned most things from other people who started the same way I did.

I didn’t start my Youtube career with a blank page. I copied others and added my personality.

Please, I am not telling you that creating things on the internet will make you wealthy or the only way to become wealthy. I am just applying the principle to the field I know best. A reminder of the principle:

The essence of creation is merely embracing influence (copying) and making it yours.

Fundamentally, the ability to generate income on the internet by sharing hobbies, stories and interests is within reach of everyone reading this.

So start creating, copy your heroes, make a dent in your niche. It isn’t too late; the Information Age has just begun.

Roman Cabanac

Roman Cabanac

Founder & Managing Director of The Morning Shot. South African conservative political commentator and media host.

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