Be Yourself: Imitation is Suicide
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It’s one thing to seek out people who are ahead of you in achieving something you want. For example, if you want to reach a six figure income, working from home, it makes sense to find someone who has done that and to learn from them the systems they used. That’s smart. But what I see so many of my clients do is compare themselves to others and declare that they come up short.
I love Ralph Waldo Emerson’s writings. He lived in the 1800’s and was a philosopher and essayist from Boston. In his essay, “Self-Reliance”, he says “there is a time in every (wo)man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better for worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.” I believe he was not speaking literally here about farming…but rather telling us to “till” the life and gifts given us in order to tap into that endless good.
He also says “trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. Accept the place the divine providence has found for you” and… “nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind.”
A coach once gave me some great advice that I embraced. She said “flaunt your quirks.” The quirkier the better. What this means is that all the qualities and characteristics that make you unique are part of your essential, true self. And when you are being true to yourself you are attractive to others. You will attract just the right people into your personal and business world. Think of someone who you consider successful. Can you name some of their “quirks?” Chances are you can.
Being authentic doesn’t happen in one fell swoop. It happens daily in the choices you make – if a decision is based on what you imagine society thinks you “should do” or when you make a choice based on what you think will impress someone else…that’s probably not authentic.
When you have defined what’s important to you –where it is important to expend your time and energy on this planet –and you make your choices guided by that…you’re being authentic.
Learn from others. Sure. Take what you like from them and integrate it into who you are. Don’t imitate…that makes your soul wither…let your unique spirit shine in the world!