Sponges and stale bread perform one common action: soaking up liquids.
If there is one metaphorical phrase I can’t stand it’s: like a sponge. As in, “She’s a smart kid, she soaks everything up like a sponge.”
Why does this phrase irk me? Because sponges soak up dirty water and when you wring them out, you still get dirty water.
Who in their right mind would ever want to be like a sponge?
We are an interconnected society. We are able to learn from, connect with, and influence others around the globe.
But too often I see young people trying to be something they are not. They soak up what’s around them and wring out the same old dirty water. Instead of being new and original, they end up becoming cliche and musty.
A Delicious Alternative
I’d rather be a piece of stale bread. Hear me out on this one.
When you allow a piece of stale bread to soak in a concoction of eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and then apply heat… Voila, you get delicious French Toast!
Sponges and stale bread do the same thing, they soak up the liquid they are immersed in. Yet, when you add pressure, one becomes a sloppy mess and the other a delicious meal for fancy folks to enjoy.
In a way, we are all immersed in a mixture of culture, science, art, religion, commerce, etc. that influences who we become and what we create. But are we careful to understand what we soak up and care about what we wring out?
5 Ways to be Completely Original
I want to become a respected writer, blogger, and content creator. To do so, I’ve been studying the masterminds of this field.
Jeff Goins, Michael Hyatt, and Seth Godin have garnered a lot of respect and success in this field. Sure, I want what they have. Yet, the quickest way to failure (or worse, mediocrity) is thinking, “I want to be them.”
I don’t want to be Jeff, or Michael, or Seth. I want to be me, Declan. And you need to be you.
I’ve always advocated learning from a mentor as the best way to grow. But how do you learn from others – soaking up what they have to offer – by still remaining original? I’ve mulled this over and came up with a list of five easy ways:
- Draw from your past experiences – Your entire life is unique to you and you alone. What has happened in your life that others may learn from?
- Listen to feedback – How we think of ourselves may be a lot different than how others view us. When given feedback, really listen to what others have to say about you. They might bring to light something you never knew about yourself.
- Find your voice – You are the only person in the world with your voice. Harness it.
- Don’t fear rejection – Sometimes people don’t like weird or unconventional. Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries and accept the rejection that may come of it.
- Speak the truth – C.S. Lewis once said, “Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring two-pence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” I’ll leave it at that.