The first is of a performance by Taylor Mali, a former teacher (and New Yorker, so he's that much cooler, in my opinion) turned poet, discussing the idea of speaking with conviction:
In the second, a student named Ronnie Bruce utilized Taylor's poem and produced a kinetic typography video:
There are two things of note I want to point out. The first is this: We must be better at speaking with a clearer sense of conviction. That's not to say that you should not leave room for doubt or inquiry. But it's easy to "soften" your words when you believe that it's necessary in order not to not hurt someones feelings, or prevent someone from being angry. Many people's biggest verbal crimes, however, is oftentimes talking just for the sake of talking. Silence is a wonderful thing. Instead of filling the air with "uhms" and "you knows," allow for a pause to let your words sink in. It's also a good way to give yourself time to reset and continue on with a conversation. Make your words worth something.
The second thing of note: Don't be afraid to steal. As I mentioned before, Ronnie Bruce created a piece based on Taylor's poem. What I didn't know at first was that he created and posted the video without asking permission first. However, instead of suing or requesting that Ronnie take it down, Taylor posted it on his own site. Taylor's statement, "but what would you do when the result is so good?," says it all. The quality and uniqueness of the work enables it to stand on its own.
This holds true professionally as well. When you adapt another organizations best practices, when you are inspired by what you learned at a conference, when you do a Google search for templates that you can modify to your organizational needs, these are forms of theft. You may not think about it as such but there it is.
I want to be clear that I don't advocate wholesale theft. Rather, what I'm suggesting is that you take what others have provided and add your own unique perspective to the work. Take it and make it better, whether it be for yourself or for others. Equally important is that you acknowledge your influences and provide proper credit. For example, the hyperlinks I provide in my blog posts serve as a way to reference source materials I use. In addition, the ongoing 'Notes, Acknowledgements, and Thanks' posts I write serve to further clarify what motivates my writing at a given point in time.
"we all understand on a deep intuitive level, but our creative egos sort of don’t really want to accept: And that is the idea that creativity is combinatorial, that nothing is entirely original, that everything builds on what came before, and we create by taking existing pieces of inspiration, knowledge, skill and insight that we gather over the course of our lives and recombining them into incredible new creations."--Maria Popova, brainpickings.orgThis concept of having to be unique and not being able to steal another's work is something I see quite often when speaking with people about social media. One of the most common concerns amongst those interested in getting involved is that they don't believe they have anything original to say. I try to convince them that there is very little that's original, except for the person. How they perceive and create content, whether it's a tweet, blog post, or other digital item, is where the value lies.
This post is a form of theft. I took several pieces of video art, stuck it on a page, and added my perspective. The basics--copying and embedding links, typing the words onto the page, formatting and scheduling the post--is not terribly complicated. The real trick is having the conviction, the belief that what I have to say matters, regardless of how many people may choose to read this, let alone allow themselves to be impacted by it as I was by Taylor and Ronnie's work. My goal is to create something of worth, and in that respect I've succeeded simply by creating this post.
If you believe in what you're attempting to do, go out and do it. Be respectful of your sources and strive to create something of worth. Whether or not you succeed depends on a variety of factors, but I'm convinced you'll be better off for the attempt.