The topic that’s been floating to the surface lately is imitation versus original. This has unfolded into an exploration of the way this occurs in the creative world as well as the business world.
Beginners in any creative medium often learn by imitation. They copy their immediate teachers, other experienced artists or in some case, the masters themselves. Imitation, while being a form of flattery is also an indicator that the artist isn’t mature enough to create something original, is afraid to tap into the unknown or doesn’t know how. Some artists never learn to access their own original voice and are satisfied with creating mashups of other peoples’ work, perhaps adding a touch of their own signature on it. Art created this way is short-lived and empty of any real substance or meaning.
Original work, on the other hand, has a fresh, universal feel to it. It never really goes away because its creator has tapped into the genius of infinite intelligence that is the source behind all original creations. The creator has also bypassed the limitations of the small self/ego/mind.
The small self/ego/mind focuses on the outer world and borrows its ideas from that place. This leads to imitation and repetitive thinking which is limited and superficial. It’s a safer, more comfortable way to create something. People do this in business as well. Instead of using the word stealing, copying, imitating or borrowing, they use the word “repurposing”. In the same way as the artist, they add their own signature, spin or slant to it. But it’s not unique or original—it has come from the limited world of the external, which by its nature is made up of what has already been created.
Of course, it’s wonderful to be inspired by another person’s ideas or work, but eventually we must access our own well of ideas. It’s scary trusting something new and untried. What if it fails? What if no one cares? It can feel so much easier to create something similar to what we already know has succeeded.
It takes courage to be original.
It might fail. It might be rejected. It might be ahead of its time. That’s okay. How much more rewarding it is to birth something brand new! Perhaps it will be received over time—maybe even after we’re long gone. It may also last much longer and be appreciated more deeply than just another copycat creation.
Personally, I’ve been all over the map with this issue. In the early days of my business and creative writing, my ideas were heavily influenced by my external world, mostly because I hadn’t discovered my own voice or learned to trust it. I still go through stretches of self-doubt. However, once I discovered how to get my small self/ego/mind out of the way and allow my Muse to work through me, my need to imitate faded away.
Why settle for another’s ideas when you can tap into an infinite well of your own?
Working with my Muse is a joyful process because in addition to showing up and writing, I also get to witness the ideas coming through as they are coming through. There is no planning or forethought to what I’m going to write about. Rather, I receive an inner nudge from my Muse to focus on a specific topic and off we go!
In the past, when my ideas were still stimulated by the external world, writing was more of an effort. I wanted my ideas to fit what would be acceptable or what was popular or the stage of life I was living. I felt I had to control it more.
Now, I simply let go and see where the words want to flow.
In business, it's far more difficult to put out original ideas and trust that there is enough of an audience there who will find value in them and pay you to share them. It's so easy to fall into the trap of people-pleasing and playing it safe when your livelihood is dependent on selling your ideas. Being brave, taking risks, staying true to your values and passion isn't easy. But the only one that will truly feed your soul and sustain you is the one where you authentically share your truth and your essence.
Why do you think compromise is the world of work is called selling your soul? It's because you've given away the most precious gift your have: YOUR UNIQUE AND ORIGINAL VOICE!
Your voice is NOT for sale! It's your best shot at helping yourself and others live as sovereign, integrated, enlivened human beings. We are all needed, which is why compromise is such a loss for all of us.
I invite you to trust your inner voice, to be a fearless, brave soul warrior and to stand in your truth so that you're available when called upon to guide another through the wilderness.