Do you strive to always be original, or are you content to always follow the status quo?

The matter that trips people up here is the word “always.” There’s actually a time and a place for everything, and this shouldn’t be a binary decision.

My personal take is that there is no reason why you should always follow status quo; however, in some instances it is more cost/time/resource efficient to follow agreed conventions as a means to another end.

It’s simply not efficient to break conventions at all times. This is the only way cultures can strive: A critical mass of people agree to do things in a predictably common way in order to advance more fundamental matters of society.

At the same time, innovation takes a step forward when one or more individuals decide to engage in a radically different behavior pattern, but the key element here is that they do so *from within* the conventions, not from an outside position of utter chaos.

Pablo Picasso once said, “Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.” What Picasso didn’t say in this quote was that in order to “see what could be” and ask “why not,” he first needed to observe “what is’ at a given time.

You can see this clearly by following Picasso’s own evolution through many different styles, all the way until he turned into the pioneer we all remember him as.

When confronted with the question of whether you should be original or stay within what everyone else is doing, you can just safely reply “yes” and “both.”

You’ll have a much better chance of producing something truly meaningful.