Constantly imitating leaders that we admire can actually do you damage. Yes, the damage can be so deep and devastating, such that it erodes your true nature and leaves you as a duplicate of someone else.
One can’t be genuinely influential by attempting to emulate others
To be influential and to have a great impact on people’s life, there is the need to be one’s true self, to be real and original. Being original means giving that which is intrinsically ours, stamped with your trade mark and bearing your imprint.
When we so imitate others, we stop been original and real. We become banner carriers, flagging off other people’s imprint and trying to conform ourselves to other’s trademark.
People imitate others in style, content and strategy. Sometimes you come across speakers, preachers and commentators who sound exactly as their “hero”. They have adopted the same style, same approach, and even cadence in their voice as the leader they imitate.
People who so imitate others so vigorously become copies of those they imitate. As mere copies, they can’t be genuinely influential. Other people see them as untrue and fake, for even in their imitation, they cannot achieve the perfection of those they imitate. Why seek a mere copy of a thing when you can get the original?
Of course you can learn from your role models’ success/failure
Imitation is not totally a bad thing. Learning from great leaders can make you a better person. No one is island of knowledge, we definitely need the shoulders of others to climb high and attain our goals.
When someone else has done something better, it is good to make do with their materials and approach. Look at their success and their failures, and use the knowledge gained to better yourself. However imitation should not be persistent and completely whole.
Try to unearth your true genuine self
Everyone is a unique and special being. There are no two persons with the same qualities, gifts and talents; not even twins. The peculiarity of every living person is so profound that there is no one having our complete and specific qualities/likeness before or after us.
There is something in each one of us, that something which is God-given and unique that is inside of us. However, there is the need to reach down and unearth our true self in order to be useful to us.
Unearthing your true self is the first step of actualization. As potential beings, we move towards our genuine actualization. This is the journey from the crude self to the refined self.
It involves a pledge to keep evolving yourself
What we don’t know is that greatness is inside of us. That unique quality is the deposited greatness that must be tapped and enhanced every day. It is not a day’s job or a once in a life time activity; it is a continuous work of evolving yourself, becoming a new and improved model of yourself daily.
The people that we imitate didn’t get to where they are because they imitated other people. What we are imitating is native to them; they created and recreated who they are, what they represent and what they give out.
Truth be told, they got to where they are because they developed the gifts that God gave them to their fullest capacity. You need to do the same too. You just have to.
Dedicate enough time for yourself and your skill
I hear people say they don’t have talents, gifts or skills. This is not true. We are not clean slates without residual contents. We all have natural gifts and skills. Truth is that they are hidden. They gradually present themselves to you and it takes careful examination and interest to recognize that which is natural to you.
The reason you find it hard to recognize yours is because you have become envious and got yourself stuck to another person’s gift. Yes! All you want is what the other person possesses. You feel your world would be complete if only you have it.
Once you idolize someone’s gift and push all your being towards imitating it, you will neglect and forget your own gift. Do not think you are incomplete because you don’t have something someone else has.
The man who has toothache feels everyone who does not have toothache is happy; but it isn’t true.
Infuse your character and faith into the core of what you are doing
In all, we cannot underestimate the influence of a firm faith and character in achieving the desire state of life that we want. The strength of our character and the depth of our faith will push us forward greatly.
Character, the peculiar quality or sum of qualities by which you are distinguished from others. It is that stamp impressed by nature, education, life and habit which defines us. This sum total of who we are and not what others are, is what we put into actualizing our potentials. Blessed are you if you truly have a strong character.
Faith is desired, faith in God who is the ground of our being and faith in ourselves and our abilities. Faith makes the impossible possible, the unreachable reachable, and the unsurmountable surmountable.
Negatives from constant Imitation
First, imitation when it becomes hard and persistent strips us of genuine content and innovation. It robs us of true in-depth resources.
Second, Imitation makes us constant followers, because we are always waiting for the new next thing from our leader to copy. Thus we are always few steps backward. We receive and then put our energy into copying what we receive instead of trying to invent and be ahead.
Third, imitation makes you lose touch with your creative side. If you are not creative then you cannot bring out something new and fresh. Creativity is always the product of your inner capacity.
Fourth, too much imitation makes us cling to all that our hero gives. It affects our ability to act outside what we imitate. Thus we are always insecure without the latest innovation of our mentor.
Fifth, every time you imitate, you are projecting someone else’s voice not yours. It means your voice is completely silent or lost. So one is just a property of another. A medium to showcase someone else. That itself a pity because you have a unique voice and your voice and person should be heard.