Are There Any Original Ideas?

It’s Two For Tuesday!  This title is a question that has plagued my mind since the very first week I launched my blog.  I thought I had great original ideas.  I thought I was “so clever” in my approach to spiritual topics and every day life.  I thought my recipes were creative.  Then I hit the “publish” button.  Social media has been so kind to let me know that my thoughts are not all that original and I’m not nearly as creative as I once believed.  Do I forge ahead and risk being a copy cat?  Do I change my approach?  Do I throw in the towel for fear of a “been there, done that” audience response?   That’s our topic for today,  and of course we will have two recipes for Tuesday.  Note–I may receive small compensation from advertisers and affiliate links found on this blog.  For further information, please see my terms and disclosure page.

Food For Thought  I grew up being told I was creative and imaginative.  As I went through college, I was told I had great ideas.  As an adult, friends and family still have asked for suggestions in teaching, cooking, baking, and crafting.  So I thought I had original ideas.  As soon as I took my ideas to the internet and social media, however, I quickly began to reassess my creativity.  My very first recipe for Strawberry Lemonade Cake seemed somewhat inspiring to me.   I knew that turning lemons to lemonade was not a new form of encouragement, but I knew I had my own spin on the topic.  As soon as I pinned my work to Pinterest, however, I began to receive lots of similar topics and ideas coming through my news feed.  Not so unique after all.  Well, that’s okay, I have plenty of other ideas.  But what I have noticed over the past few months is a pattern of similarities between my writings and others.  The last thing I want to do is copy someone else’s work, even if unintentional.  When I do get ideas from somewhere or someone else, I try to let my readers know that it’s not my own original idea, but I have likely tweaked it to fit my personal preferences.  So all of this sameness has got me to thinking…are there any original ideas left in the world?

Throughout the generations it is highly possible that people all over the world were having like thoughts.  What we didn’t have through the generations, however, was an easy way to share these ideas with people, both near and far.  Recipe ideas were likely passed through word of mouth through the family and neighborhood, with some being written down in heirloom script and passed to the following generations.  People with intriguing philosophy and enough gumption to present to editors and publishers might be lucky enough to get a book deal, which then might be read by a few, or millions depending on a variety of circumstances.  The average person, though, would most likely keep their great ideas within a tight circle and no one ever knew that so many people were thinking of the same great ideas.  With the official launch of the worldwide web in August of 1991, sharing ideas has never been the same.  The first social media sharing site soon followed, called “Six Degrees,” in 1997.  These platforms allow each of us to share our ideas with the entire world.  Every person’s opinion about any given topic is available with a few key strokes.  So all of those recipes and crafting ideas we’ve learned through the years are suddenly available to everyone.  We see ideas, try them out, and then share our successes or failures.  I think that the ease of access to the sharing of ideas has made the current generation think that everyone wants to know their opinions and ideas.  See?  I just shared my opinion about sharing opinions, crazy right?  But then older generations, mine included, want to get in on the action.  We want to say, “hey, we have good ideas too!”  The next thing you know over 70 million people are using platforms like Pinterest, pinning ideas to over a billion different boards!  As of 2015 there were approximately 50 billion pins on this highly popular site (and a personal favorite of mine, too!)  Among those 50 billion pins, there are bound to be ideas that are the same.  My original dessert recipe is not so original.  My fall craft project has already been done, repeatedly.  My interpretation of a spiritual concept or verse has been seen and heard before.  That fun and successful reading lesson I used with my kindergarteners?  Turns out someone actually made money off of an idea that I thought was mine!  

So back to my original question, are there any original ideas left in the world?  I have a very unhelpful answer of maybe.  Schools and corporations alike keep talking about innovation and being creative problem solvers.  Products are still being invented and new trends keep showing up all the time (have you seen “hula hoop wreaths” yet?), so there must be some new thinking coming from somewhere.  The tricky part is, how many other people around the world were also thinking of that new invention or innovative concept before it was launched?  How many people have already tried those “latest” trends in their own homes without fan fair or credit to their name?  There may be no real way of knowing, but I see no signs of slowing this society of “pin, copy, and share.”  In the meantime, I didn’t mean to “steal” your idea!

Note-social media facts were found at Bing Answers and were accurate as of 10/17/17.

Today’s Scriptures  Working on this topic got me to thinking, does God care if we have original ideas?  I know he doesn’t want us to steal, and I’m sure that includes intentionally taking someone’s ideas and not giving proper credit.  There are even passages about being “like-minded” in Philippians 2:2.  But are there any verses about being “original.”  Here’s what I think:  If God wanted us to all be alike, including our thoughts and ideas, he would have created us “clone like” and not as the unique individuals we are.  I believe each one of us was created with a special purpose according to God’s will and plan.  I don’t think He intends any two people to lead the same lives, and with that thought, I believe we do have unique ideas.  Even if my recipe looks like someone else’s or my craft project turned out just like yours, there is some element of uniqueness, whether it be in the end result or the process that got me there.  I rarely follow a recipe or project exactly.  I may make small changes for reasons of practicality or creativity.  We take ideas and grow them into our own because we are all unique individuals.  Here are some scriptures about being unique creations of God.

Psalm 119:73  “Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.”

Isaiah 64:8  “Yet, O Lord, you are our Father.  We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand.”

Ephesians 2:10  “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Today’s Recipes  I desperately wanted to come up with some decidedly original recipes to share today.  Sadly, the recipes I’m sharing have likely been done before.  The first recipe is Steak and Chicken Fajita Rice Bowls.  “I” came up with this when I found out how much I love rice bowl meals.  Using brown rice is a healthier alternative to flour tortillas.  Serving our meal in bowls also keeps our portions down.  So it’s a two-for-Tuesday win for healthy eating!  But I have a good idea that lots of people have served fajita-style meat and vegetables in a bowl of rice before.  I just didn’t use a recipe or see a picture of this anywhere before I started making it, so I consider it original in my house.  Maybe I can get originality points for adding strips of zucchini with my peppers and onions.

The second recipe is “my” solution for making a diabetic-friendly dessert for my husband, who loves cakes and cobblers.  I also was looking for something quick and easy to satisfy our sweet tooth craving while working long hours at school but still wanted a dessert for my family.  The Berry Cherry Cobbler Cake was born as the solution to these two challenges.

Steak and Chicken Fajita Rice Bowl

  • 2 small ribeye steaks
  • 2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 large red onions
  • 2 large bell peppers (I like red, but you can mix and match your colors)
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 packet of fajita seasoning mix (try to get low-sodium, if available)
  • 2 TBS canola oil
  • 2 cup cooked brown rice
  • Fajita condiments, such as salsa, sour cream, guacamole, cheese, and hot sauce (get what your family likes!)
  • fajita steak
    Trim steak of any large amounts of fat. Slice into thin strips.
    fajita chicken
    Trim chicken of any visible fat and slice into thin strips.
    fajita vegetables
    Slice onions, peppers, and zucchini into thin strips.
    hot skillet
    Heat oil in large electric skillet. Add chicken.
    cooking fajita meat
    After chicken has cooked 3-4 minutes, add steak and half of seasoning packet. Toss to coat.
    cooking fajita vegetables
    After meat has cooked 3-4 more minutes, add vegetables and remaining seasoning. Stir gently.
    fajita rice bowl
    Serve fajita meat and vegetables in bowl with cooked brown rice. Add condiments as desired.

    Berry Cherry Cobbler Cake

  • 5 ingredients or less
    You will need a Pillsbury sugar-free yellow cake mix, the oil, water, and eggs to mix the batter, a bag of frozen mixed berries, and a bag of frozen dark sweet cherries.
    frozen fruit
    Dump frozen berries and cherries on bottom of 9×13 baking dish coated with non-stick spray.
    cake batter
    Mix up cake batter according to package directions. Pour over frozen fruit.
    baked cobbler cake
    Bake at 325 degrees for 65-70 minutes.
    cobbler cake with topping
    If desired, serve with sugar-free Cool Whip or no-sugar-added vanilla ice cream.

    Recommended Products  I highly recommend the silicone mats and knives I used to prepare the steak and chicken fajita rice bowls.  Having separate mats for each food item decreases the chance of cross-contamination of germs or bacteria.  High quality sharp knives make slicing thin strips of meat or vegetables a breeze!  These are the products I used (links verified 10/17/17 at 1:55 pm, CDT):