Thoughts On Imitation

Flattering, isn’t it?

I try to be the best I can be. I hope it’s not arrogant to say. I know I can always be better and try to learn from everything that happens how I can achieve that.

But what I try very hard not to do is copy anyone. I follow my own instinct. It’s my way of following the advice I had as a teenager about how to get a girl to like me:

Just be yourself,

I got lucky, because I was told the second half of that advice: “…because if you’re not yourself, it’s not you she likes.” In my life, by being myself and being honest about my desires, my instincts, I’ve attracted people who are attracted to someone like me.

Honestly adapting and taking on a change if you see something that you admire in someone else, something that you feel should be a part of who you are is to be applauded, of course. I made a change like that a few years ago and my life is better for it. I carry around far less anger now, but the change I made was only to work on something I wanted to do anyway, to take an existing characteristic and build it. But just changing how you present yourself, or what you claim about yourself is deceitful, unless you change the substance, too.

So when people tell me that someone has done something or said something that I’ve said or done, that they’re downright copying me (my avi for instance) I wonder who they’re trying to impress, and whether they really think the deception will be sustainable. I also realise they’re dooming themselves to misery, because they’re trying to attract people who’d prefer me to them, and not attracting people who’d prefer them to me, or someone else).

If your instinct is quite different from mine, then why try to masquerade as the same? You’ll only attract people who you’re not right for, and be constantly disappointed. When you and I talk to the same person and they realise who’s genuine and who’s a try-hard, there’s nothing to be gained by trying to say that you’re more like me than me, perhaps by suggesting that there’s a lesson in trust to be had – portraying me as the one that can’t be trusted – when it’s you that have shown consistently that you’re untrustworthy, that you’re engaged in a masquerade. You only dig your hole deeper.

Change your avi when I write a blog about branding, change it again later to one like mine, study my blog and pass off phrases from it as your own, try to pretend to be like me… After all, you’ve changed, right? Always changing. At least, that what you hope people will think.

Do it all, but sooner or later your instinct will come to the fore. Your deception will be obvious, the person you’re talking to will have a Necker Cube moment. Unless they’re very easily led, of course. But if they are, then you’ve no need to copy, you can just do your usual manipulation, can’t you? After all: You’ve changed (again, and again, and again…)

Seriously, if you keep having to tell people you’ve changed, had yet another epiphany, then you must know you keep messing up, know your behaviour and style aren’t working for you. Why not be true to your instinct and find people who it’ll work for? Or actually change.

Or maybe that’s too difficult. Maybe that’s a change too far.

Just be yourself, because if you’re not yourself, it’s not you she likes.

Unless, I suppose, you’re just deeply unlikeable and you know it.

© Charles Rochester 2016


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