When many of us were younger, being a copycat was not particularly a good thing to be although it was difficult not to want to be like at least one person around you or with whom you had contact. In our society, there is a lot emphasis on individualism and being unique-being your own person.
On the surface, it is difficult to find anything problematic about that. In fact, it is what many of us grew up hearing and then passing on to children, nieces, nephews and others. It has often been a lesson taught to us in order to steer us clear of following peers who were not making good decisions and to keep us from becoming involved with the wrong crowd so to speak. So, the intentions were and are well-meaning.
However, when we think about it a bit more cautiously, we might find that this idea should be challenged. It is not possible to be a part of a culture and not be influenced by members of that culture.
A class of freshmen students in high school is one example of a culture that most people can remember being a part of. Whether negative or positive, there were always examples of ways of being and the choice was up to us to determine from which we would take our clues. Nonetheless, we were still being influenced, still following someone else or something(s) about someone else. And, if you chose positive examples of ways being, then good for you because there is nothing wrong with being a "copycat" when it will serve you well.
It makes no difference what your age or goal in life is, if you want to accomplish something in particular, find yourself a person who has already accomplished that thing and then copy them. Be a copycat, unapologetically. Read what they read, model how they carry and present themselves, learn their language-be a student of the person's mechanics. By this, I mean study their process and methods, you are not the same person, obviously, and some things will be different for you, but arm yourself with a map of their mechanics so that you have a useful guide by which to follow.
We should embrace those who have had the kind of successes that we want for ourselves in any area of our lives from marriage/relationships and parenting to career/business and finances. If there are people in your community who you can reach out to, make an effort to do so. Attempt to set up informational interviews or lunch meetings to discuss your goals and how you feel you could learn from them.
We cannot be so caught up in the idea of reinventing the wheel and being so individualistic that we fail to use the resources that have been placed around and about us. Learning from someone who has achieved what you desire to does not make you any less unique, intelligent, or talented. We are not separate entities without dependence upon one another; we are a part of a system of interconnections in which we are all interdependent. Less emphasis should be placed on being better than or more than the next person, and more on working with one another for the advancement of the whole-that is, our community and our world. Be a copycat so that someone can copy you.
Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.