Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, studies original thinkers – thinkers who stand out. In the talk below he talks about some unexpected habits of originals.
Original thinkers are late to the party – they start off with an idea really quickly and then they stop and avoid the task, for example, Leonardo da Vinci took 16 years to finally finish his masterpiece the Mona Lisa. He felt like a failure but the diversions he took made him a better painter. He changed and doubted and changed the painting over and over again. Procrastination or thinking about a task allows you time to be open to new possibilities. New ways of solving the task.
To be original you also do not have to be first. Improving on original ideas reduces the rate of failure. So you just have to be different and better rather than first.
Originals have fears and doubts. But instead of saying that “I’m crap” they say that “this idea is crap”. The first ideas are not great but it is possible to improve upon ideas! Originals also fail the most, the more output you create and the more ideas you have the higher the chances are that you will have a great idea. Adam says “You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones.”