I decided to comment here in response to this post from 2013: Musings: Do You! rather than on their blog. Two years gone by and all… Anyway the quote was another by Emerson: “Imitation is suicide. Insist on yourself. Never imitate.”
Most of us have heard that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? But what’s usually going on when people say that to you? Isn’t it usually in response to someone having imitated us and it made us mad? It can be as simple as someone getting the same haircut, or as complicated as someone competing with us for the same job.
What prompts imitation? Is it a lack of self confidence? A desire to be accepted by the crowd? Honest self examination is necessary. Now this is not to say that we cannot be inspired by others, after all this post has been inspired by the Emerson quote. Yet, there is a big difference between inspiration and imitation. Inspiration is a spark that ignites individual creativity whereas imitation suppresses that creativity. We become copyists. I believe I’ll file this quote away and return to it when I need to remind myself to be myself and not somebody else.
Big thank you to Tim Gatewood for suggesting this quote!