As a very green newspaper reporter, I was once assigned to go to a press conference scheduled at a nearby air base. A general had something to say ... I forget the topic. And as I rode out to the base with several other reporters from other news organizations, we all chatted idly about the aspects of the upcoming event. I had come up with my own question to ask and I told the others in the car what it was. Others chimed in with their questions, I seem to remember. But when it came to the Q&A section of the press conference and before I had a chance to open my mouth, the Associated Press reporter got in his question ... which was pretty much word-for-word the question I had outlined in the car.
It left me speechless and pissed me off: He had 'stolen' my idea.
As the years went by, I came to find that those around me often had no compunction about stealing ideas they had no capacity to formulate on their own -- my ideas. I didn't mind as long as I was given credit, but saying someone else came up with the idea that comes out of your mouth lessens the impact and ego-boost of pretending it is original as stated.
The whole thing pisses me off less today than it did once. It's human ... and it lets you know what sort of person is co-opting your ideas. It's just another ego-tripper who lacks the capacity and willingness to think for himself.
The flip side of this coin is also interesting: Is there really any idea -- any idea at all -- which does not owe fealty to someone else's 'original' efforts? No there is not. From Einstein and Edison to Joe the Barber ... we're all living on food that others have chewed. It's not a matter of whether this is the case, but rather that it is the case. The word 'original' overstates the case by quite a lot.
Perhaps the only sense in which "original thinking" has any meaning is in the uses to which anyone might put someone else's leavings. Are such leavings used as a means of parroting and self-elevating or is there some honest nourishment within?
Before you ever imagined you had an original idea ... what originality is this?
Your life, your choice.