We all have other people we admire. When looking at the thousands of people we come into contact with, it’s easy to see a lot to appreciate. One recent experience showed me that in some ways, all of us are born copycats.
I was sitting on the couch, while visiting my daughter and her family, when I looked over to see my one-year-old grandson doing exactly what I was doing. He was carefully watching my every move and then doing his best to imitate. We all thought it to be very cute. But, at the same time, I thought, “I hope he doesn’t become too quick to copy me in every way!”
It’s natural for all of us to see someone we admire and then try to copy their path thinking that they’ve discovered the secret for a more successful life. But the challenges and opportunities each one of us face individually are different than those of any other person, so we ultimately discover the need to find our own answers.
My grandson’s proclivity to mimic my actions was sobering. He allowed me to discover the Copycat Trap and face two of its truths: First, I’m not a model of perfection. Second, should he be caught in the trap, his many beautiful, unique attributes could become easily and tragically lost. So how can we benefit from the good we admire in others while also recognizing and embracing our individual, unique gifts as well?
Denise Warren described such personal opportunity when she said, “It’s really important to understand what differentiates you, because that’s the only key to your success.”
How can each one of us best discover our personal opportunities? Start on your pathway to newfound success by asking yourself two questions: What makes me different from everyone else? And how do I use these differences to get what I want? Asking those two questions will force you to think about who you really are and what you really want. They force you to think about your uniqueness, as an advantage, and will push you away from becoming nothing more than a mimic.
I was sitting on my daughter’s couch thinking of how cute it was for my grandson to be copying my behavior. Then I thought, I hope he doesn’t copy everything I do! Finally, I realized that the best way to avoid the copycat trap was simple: You and I can be more than a mimic by avoiding the Copycat Trap. Let’s figure out what makes us unique and what we want to go after.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.