"You are the only person on earth who can use your ability." - Zig Ziglar
"Each of us has been put on earth with the ability to do something well. We cheat ourselves and the world if we don't use that ability as best we can." -- Gracie Allen
One of the themes I talk about in my Creativity for Entertainers trilogy is the limitation of imitation. When somebody creates a routine, they capitalize on their abilities and compensate for their inabilities. When you copy their routine you are accepting their limitations and ignoring your own abilities. A routine that you create yourself will always be superior to one that you copy because it will utilize your abilities.
That does not mean you have to start every routine from scratch and can't use a routine created by somebody else. In my shows I perform a routine called Zone Zero created by Jerry Andrus. I selected it because it matches my abilities. In fact, I originally learned it because Ralph Huntzinger, a friend who is a magician, suggested that it fit my style and abilities. I perform Andrus's moves exactly the way he created them. However, I have changed the presentation. In his routine Andrus talks about Zone Zero, another dimension a ball travels through as it appears and vanishes. The basic prop is a sheet of plastic with a hole in the center. Andrus created a version of the board with a vortex pattern surrounding the center mimicking a black hole that serves as the portal to Zone Zero. That presentation does not fit my style. I decorated my board so it looks like a bean bag toss game with a clown face. I introduce my version of Zone Zero by performing the classic invisible ball caught in a paper bag routine. Then when I have somebody toss the invisible ball through the hole representing the clown's nose, the ball suddenly becomes visible to everyone's surprise, including my clown character.
How do you learn your abilities? Ironically one way is to learn and perform routines created by others. You will discover that some of them don't work very well for you. That will show you your limitations or where you don't have abilities yet. (You can develop some abilities through practice.) You will discover that some of them work very well. That indicates abilities that you do have. Then you can begin to create routines that take advantage of those abilities.
Comments from others will confirm your abilities or limitations. I never considered myself much of a singer, but that limitation was confirmed when I offered to sing a lullaby to one of my grandchildren and they begged, "No, Grandpa! Don't sing."
I spoke for the first time on stage when I created my Tramp Tradition Show where I recreate routines by famous or significant tramp clowns. Many tramp clowns performed verbal routines so I had to include them. After Cheri Venturi saw me perform one of those routines, she commented, "You have a wonderful speaking voice on stage. I wish you would do more spoken routines." So, I gradually have been adding more verbal routines to my repertoire.
Another way to identify your abilities is to look at what you do outside of entertainment and find ways to incorporate that into your performances. For example, I like to fold paper so I have created some routines combining magic and origami. I also make origami give aways.
Some people believe that creativity means being different from everyone else. That is not true. It is probably an impossible goal. I created an original magic routine with Multiplying Balls. I had never seen anyone perform it before. Then as I studied more about the history of magic I discovered that it is actually an old routine called Perpetual Balls that was performed by many famous magicians of the past.
The goal of creativity is to become more true to yourself. It is to use your abilities to their fullest. There are things you can do that nobody else ever will. What abilities do you have? How can you develop them to their fullest? How can you use them to their best as an entertainer?