Shoulders are great for a lot of things. They help you lift big things. They help you finish a body check. They’re pretty good at holding up the sleeves of your shirts.
But shoulders are also a dangerous thing to have. You see, as soon as fear creeps in, you start to use your shoulders to make hard decisions. Instead of thinking about what you should do, your shoulders sell you out. They tempt you to peek at your competition. You look over one shoulder and take some notes. You peer over your other shoulder for a bit of “inspiration”.
You revel in your final product, because of its creativity. You know it’s creative because your most creative competitors did it first. You love the camera angles; you know they’re artistic because your most avant-garde competition did it first. Your new thing can’t fail, because you’ve eliminated all risk. You’ve blended the most important aspects of what everyone else has already done. The problem is, it can’t succeed either.
The blending starts slowly, but the effects are long-lasting. Projects become templates, canvases become photocopiers; we all become average.
Take a step back from your industry, and have a look around. Don’t wait for a movie parody to point out what should already be obvious. We’re surrounded by grey and safe and predictable.
From now on, your shoulders have a new role in your decision making process. They stay out of the creativity part. They stay out of the strategizing. They hold your head up high, because your new idea is yours, and yours alone – and it wasn’t even close to average.