Has excellence got you down?

Has excellence got you down?
I’ve been reading a few excellent books lately. How do I know they’re so good? Because as I read them, I found myself thinking, “What? That’s my idea!” In fact, as an aspiring author, I was planning to write THAT. VERY. THING.

Of course, it’s tempting to say they stole my idea, but that would be neurotic, self-obsession and no one would take me seriously anyway. Maybe I can just spam their Amazon reviews with negative comments. Nah, that’s too much work.

Instead, I’m more tempted to get discouraged, my enthusaism waned by my envy of their great contribution to the world. Concluding my book is no longer needed, I’m tempted to put my pen to rest, even if my heart will not.

I suspect that’s true with any assignment God has given us. When we see another practicing excellence, our heart is stirred and we have a choice. We can be inspired or envious. One pushes us along. The other crushes.

But consider, how much of what we find popular or excellent is truly novel? How many books, for instance, have been published on diet, exercise, or follow the damsel in distress story line? Or how many companies that were first to innovate a product remain leaders in their market today (think PCs, mobile phones, shaving cream, you name it)?

The world is not done consuming ideas. None have yet surfaced to fully quench the thirst for more.

Your idea is needed. My idea is needed. Now is not the time to stop working because of another’s excellence. It’s the time to draw on the inspiration of their success, do the work, and by so doing, proclaim that your day is yet to come. Then someone else can say, “Hey, that was my idea!”

Comment below. How has the excellence of another inspired or hindered you?

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6 thoughts on “Has excellence got you down?

  1. Well said, Leary. Someone has said that there are only a few stories in the world, only a few foundational truths. Our task, as you have said, is to say it again, with originality and sparkle. Thing about writing is, you’ll DIE if you don’t do it. So stay alive and keep writing. We have to be willing to bleed and be vulnerable. Eventually, God will birth what’s in our hearts.

    • You’re absolutely right Jean. “Stay alive and keep writing.” Death comes from not doing; not only does the writing not come to life, but something else inside dies too. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Very well said, Leary. Often times, when I hear other motivational or inspirational speakers talk and make certain key points, and I want to scream out loud at YouTube and say, “Hey, wait a minute! That was *my* idea!” But, it’s at that point I realize that ‘great minds think alike.’

    And it also occurs to me that having two youth speakers say the same thing cannot be such a bad thing. I mean, after all, our audiences still benefit from the same point – we just say it a bit differently. And, even though I might sound like I copied the other guy (or he copied it from me), we still bring our own unique story to the stage. For me, the point is not who gets credit for it, but that our message has an impact on our audience and that we have motivated them or inspired them to change. That will be the true litmus test of our excellence as youth speakers.

    Thanks for giving me this perspective. I appreciate it.

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