On Copycats

They say that “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”
For example, you invent something and your invention becomes a hit. Think of the Apple IPOD. 
First and foremost, the IPOD is a music player. It’s similar to Sony’s Walkman, except that you don’t use tapes and carry a full stash of them in your car so you can switch albums from time to time. It’s certainly a lot different from the DiscMan since you don’t have to carry bundles of CDs around to listen to your mixes. 
With the advancement of technology, companies have learned to accept the fact that people were ready to let go of laser discs and tapes. Although CDs are still doing very well, most IPOD owners rip their CDs so they could bring their music with them. Given that, a lot of electronic manufacturers followed suit. Now you see music players offered by different brands that go by the same concept—store and play music on-the-go. Still however, the IPOD is unique and a class act on it’s own. No matter how other brands try to copy or carry the same concept, they cannot fully clone an IPOD.
This brings me to today’s random rambling—on copycats.
I’m sure you’ve encountered some at least once in your life. I kid who copies a classmate in school would be considered common or unalarming because:
a. The child wants to be like his/her classmate. Either the child thinks highly of the classmate he is copying or thinks the behavior is cool
b. Children wish to be accepted by their peers. So they copy the popular actions/behaviors or they try to sport a certain look to belong to a group.
c. Youngsters are still searching for their sense of self. They could be at that stage of finding who they are in the world.
As kids, we have our parents, older siblings & cousins to look up to. Come adolescence, the horizon expands to include celebrities, models and sports superstars who are on TV, magazine covers and the internet. We see so much of their glamourous life, wishing deep inside that we could be like them. And so little by little we dreamt of becoming like our “idols”. When we go past the teenage years, we come to that point in adulthood where we realize our true identity and embrace who we really are.
Have you seen the movie “Single White Female”?

It starts off this way. Two different girls.

 It’s about female room mates who start off well as friends. The story gets creepy when Hedy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) starts copying the way her room mate Allie (Bridget Fonda) dresses, the way she wears her hair and even the way she looks. 

And transforms to this… notice how she wanted to look so much like Allie?
Later in the story, the simple copycat has spiraled out of control as she murders Allie’s boyfriend Sam and Allie’s client Mitch Myerson.
Maybe the Single White Female story is rare, but copycats are very common.
As much as it isn’t a life-or-death issue, you have to admit that when you’re faced with such, it can get annoying. You come to work wearing a blouse and the next day you notice a colleague wearing the same thing. You could let that slip. It could be a coincidence so you laugh it off.
How about a favorite accessory like a belt or a necklace perhaps? Or your favorite color?
How about styling your hair a certain way and then you notice the copycat sporting the same look? Applause! You seem to be the trendsetter, so give yourself a pack on the back.
How about life philosophies and interests? When you want to attend a Spanish class, let’s say and then copycat expresses interest although you know full well that it wasn’t something she was interested in to begin with?
How to deal? How to deal? You know what, it’s tough but based on personal experience, I’ve learned to pray and be silent although its an issue that is not easy to ignore when it’s screaming right in front of your face. Pray that the person would find her own identity and personality (including life philosophies, dreams and aspirations) so she doesn’t have to go to great lengths to become like someone she is not.
I solidly know who I am. I know what makes me unique. I know that God knew me and who I’d become even before I was formed in my mother’s womb. [Psalm 139:13-14 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”]
There is no use trying to become someone else when God has destined you to become someone in your own right. In the book Talent is Never Enough, John Maxwell says that most people waste so much of their time wanting to become someone they are not or wanting to excel in things they aren’t gifted in.
It’s like a chicken wanting to become a dog. No matter how much a chicken tries to act like a dog, the chicken won’t be a dog. The chicken can’t grow fur, can’t bark and can’t give birth to puppies.
BUT Chickens can lay eggs. Do I need to explain how important eggs are?
What am I saying here? We sometimes try so hard to become someone we’re not destined to be, than work on who we really are as God has designed us. People are gifted differently. There are some who are better singers, better managers, better directors or better organizers. Just because they excel in their field does not mean we have to go running after their destiny. There is nothing wrong with wanting to become successful, but keep in mind that you will not reach your destination if you try to travel on someone else’s path. We all have our own journey to carve out and follow.
Embrace your uniqueness. Don’t live life trying to be a carbon copy of someone else. In the words of Judy Garland: “Be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else.”

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