I remember when I was in 6th grade. Everyone in the grade got a notebook. I think it was a notebook anyway, maybe it was a folder. Anyway, it was black and there were letters spelling out the school name in white. It was pretty standard and basic.
One day I was sitting in class and I saw another girl had colored the white letters in with highlighters. It was bright and colorful and I liked it. I wanted to do it to my own. But, I was in 6th grade. The girl herself was nice. I didn't think she would say anything. But what about the other kids? They would know that I copied her idea. They would tease me for copying her. So I didn't do it.
I waited at least two weeks. It may have been longer, I don't remember. But then one day, I did it. I colored in my letters with colorful highlighters too. And suddenly my plain black and white cover was alive and bright. I loved it! I went in to school ready to be ridiculed. And guess what? No one ever said a thing about it . . to my face anyway.
Do you want to know what I learned from that? Well nothing right at first, I was just so relieved that no one teased me! I got teased a lot that year; but not that day. Later on when I thought about that cover though, I thought about the weeks that I wasted not doing what I wanted out of fear of being called a copy-cat. What a waste!
I shared this story today with my child who was afraid to do something that they liked for fear of what others would say; since there was already someone else who had done the same thing. There is so much pressure sometimes to be be "an original" that we forget that not everything in life should be original. There is so much to learn from watching others. I mean, hey, everything we learn in school is new to us, but someone else knows it and does it. Everything we learn, we see, and we do has most likely been done. That doesn't make it any less ours when we take it in as a part of ourselves.
Such a fitting lesson at times I believe.
I've spent a good part of this last year with goals to make some business plans originally mine. I have learned in this past year that I don't know enough to make my own original success story here. As I mentioned in last night's blog, I have ordered some books from people who have had success in what I want to do. What am I planning on doing here? I want to learn and copy some of their ideas. I won't be a true copy cat though. I'll be incorporating their ideas in to what works for me. When I colored my cover with highlighters back in middle school, I didn't copy her exact color scheme; but I liked her idea. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. It is also a good way to learn from others without having to have every single idea be an original in life. If I had to learn everything in life by myself, on my own, I wouldn't be where I am today by any means. And where I want to be in five years is not somewhere I can be by myself, with my own limited original ideas.
Tonight I am thankful for the ideas and knowledge that is to be gained by others in life. Whether it be a pretty 6th grade colorful cover or ideas to grow a business in an untapped market; there are ideas out there just waiting to be heard and utilized! Sometimes my adult life and my childrens' lives are going thru similar things, on different levels. So we rally together! I will learn and emulate good business plans and my child will embrace the style that draws them in! And we will both be happier with our lives and with ourselves for making decisions that are true to ourselves!