I stumbled across a quote yesterday by Samuel Johnson;
“No man was ever great by imitation”
and I thought… well isn’t that profound. We are taught too often that imitation is a form of flattery but when you work really hard at making something your own and then someone comes along and puts in minimal effort at the same thing and just uses what you’ve done then it’s not all that flattering is it?
I’m sure you’ve all had some sort of experience in your life where you were copied. Perhaps by a sibling who looked up to you and just wanted to be cool or by a classmate who was too lazy to do their homework or by a colleague who couldn’t be bothered to think on their own and come up with something impressive. No matter how it happens, being imitated is really annoying.
To put a positive spin on things, I always believe;
“I’d rather be a second-rate version of myself than a second-rate version of someone else.”
Thank you Judy Garland for that gem. I’ve spent my entire life fighting to be who I am so I am completely baffled when someone else tries to be me instead of being themselves. My entire blog is based around the idea that you should always be true to yourself and this extends to all areas of life. Stand up for what you believe in and walk your own path. It’s not always easy being original but it’s always so much more rewarding to know that you did it first.
Here are the other 8 of my favourite quotes on originality.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” – Dr. Seuss
“Be yourself. The world worships the original.” – Jean Cocteau
“You’ve got to be original, because if you’re like someone else, what do they need you for?” – Bernadette Peters
“A poor original is better than a good imitation. – Ella Wheeler Wilcox
“Remember always that you have not only the right to be an individual; you have an obligation to be one. You cannot make any useful contribution in life unless you do this.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Learn to… be what you are, and learn to resign with a good grace all that you are not.” – Henri Frederic Amiel
“Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and to gain applause which he cannot keep.” – Samuel Johnson
So if you take one thing away from this post, I hope it’s that nothing is more important than being true to who you are. I think Dr Seuss sums it up ever so nicely…
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” – Dr. Seuss
If you want more inspiration on being true to yourself then read this post; Be Unapologetically You or this one; The truth about honesty . If you’re having a hard time following your heart because of the pressure that others place on you then read Seeking approval for a kick in the butt to get you started on living for you.
Do you have any personal favourites about being an original?