Here’s a quick little thought game. Think of the best burger joint in your town. The place you’d take someone who was visiting saying “You’ve just gotta try this burger!”. The kind of place you’d want them to go back home and tell their friends about. The kinda place they’d be DYING to go back to the next time they come down to visit.
My guess is that the burger joint you thought of wasn’t a Burger King or a McDonald’s. Ya see, just that quickly we can draw a clear distinction between what we know to be most popular and what we consider to actually be the best. And the difference between the two is our taste.
Our taste is what sets up apart. It’s not what keeps us in lockstep with everyone else.
A buddy of mine back in the day used to order his burgers “plain”. LITERALLY. That would be part of his order because he hated condiments. I thought that shit was some twisted form of self deprivation. But really it was just his taste. He liked what he liked, as simple as that, and he leaned into regardless of the eyebrows it raised. And the truth is we all do this. We have our movies we like that our peers or family scratch their heads at. It could even be something as simple as a shirt everyone else things is ugly. But whenever you put it on you feel confidant and comfortable.
Your taste says something about you. For instance, I think every rap fan should have a favorite Tupac song. Regardless of what people feel about Tupac as a rapper/cultural figure, it's an objective fact that he’s one of the most prolific and divergent artists in the history of Black music. There’s something there for everybody. From the most conscious and enlightened songs, to the most hostile and raunchy. My personal favorite Tupac song is ‘Who Do You Believe In’. It’s far from the most obscure Tupac record, but I certainly wouldn’t call it one of his more “popular” songs”. But if I have a choice to listen to anything Tupac related. That is my go to.
What is your go to!?! If your given a set of creative options, and you have to pick one and eschew all other choices, what do you pick!?! Your taste is about getting specific about your choices. And your choices are motivated by what stands out to you.
So let's go back to the burger joint recommendation. What stands out to you about your choice!?! Did you choose it because that’s the only place in town that uses relish on their burgers instead of pickles? Do they dip the burger in a signature sauce before putting it on the bun? Do they hand mold the patties and serve them up on slices of Wonder Bread so they taste just like the fresh made burgers your granny used to make when you were a kid?
Study your choices. Identify what makes your taste YOURS. And consciously OWN it. Know what options you're choosing and why. Because ultimately, when it comes to creativity. The most important ingredient in the recipe is you!