Copying others is fine; if we don’t want to create value
I used to copy people all the time. I still do it now.
Watching my sister admiring Whitney Houston made me jealous. I also wanted a music inspiration myself. I was 8 and my sister was 10. She had the Greatest Hits CD of Houston, the one where everything is white and she’s on the stairs holding a screwdriver. She chose it from the CD collection that my father has in our living room. We don’t have many books at home. But we do have lots of CD’s. Specially, a classical music collection. I didn’t listen to any of it. Just to Chopin. To understand what it all was about. And because at some point in the future I got obsessed with the Pianist and I had to listen to Chopin.
So on the left drawer of CD collection we have the classics. On the right, there’s the contemporary artists. The range goes from The Police, Beach Boys and Dire Straits. But it also included guilty pleasures like Alejandro Sanz, Robbie Williams and Britney Spears.
People fascinate me all the time. Even people that is fascinated by other people. I want to be fascinated as well. So in order to be fascinated, I had to choose my own CD from the collection as well.
“Take one and bring it into your bedroom.” encouraged me my Mom.
So after lots of browsing and thinking, I chose Mariah Carey. I loved butterflies. And almost every cover from her had a butterfly in it. It is safe to say I had my first girlcrush on Mariah Carey.
After making the choice I had to ask my father for permission. He paid for the CD. Now I was technically going to steal it from him.
“But it’s mine” he said.
“I will listen to it so often that it’s convenient to have it in my room” I said. Or something slightly less mature.
“Fine. But don’t break it” he replied seated in his sofa.
I remember him like that in my childhood: sitting on his sofa while zapping all the possible channels from the TV. It was a loop: he did not waste more than 7 seconds per each channel. I sort of thought that he wanted to gather all the information around the world until he made up his own story of the reality.
He was probably tired from his work and he wanted to switch off by switching channels constantly.
Did not seem to work.
Back to Mariah Carey
She was my inspiration. Her voice was like an angel.
I learned by heart all the lyrics I could understand. Because until then, I thought that the Spice Girls were singing in Spanish.
But anyway, Mariah Carey had something different. Her music was so unique: no one but her could reach her vocal notes. Or so I thought. I didn’t wanted to be like her (partly because I knew neither my voice nor my looks were half like hers) but because I was inspired in other ways.
But there’s something else she taught me.
No matter who we copy. If we copy, we will never create value.
We would go from 1 to n instead of from Zero to One (great book btw). That’s why I don’t need to copy anyone. And you shouldn’t either.
Yes, we can be inspired. We can even question our entire moral scheme or even personality, because of other people. That’s good because it means we are questioning things. But we never have to lose ourselves. Because when Mariah Carey got a nose surgery, she lost her vocals, and with that, her entire music career.
Letting her insecurities overcome her true personality, brought her to a not very bright future career. So the challenge for me is to see when my personality begins and when other’s peoples personality ends. Because sometimes I want to absorb so much from other people, that one can get easily confused by what’s your own.
Another thing to differentiate from is being inspired from other people or being totally influenced by them. If I didn’t copy my sister back when I was 8, or my first boyfriend’s sister when I was 12 -listening to Good Charlotte and My Chemical Romance-, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
Relationships are important: while you are discovering yourself and the others around you, you still have to care for each relationship made with them. Keeping in mind what inspires you from them and what motivates you copy from them.
But choose yourself first.
And all I can say to important relationships is this: Fine. But don’t break it.
ps: pictures are made by my amazing mom. I texted her at 23.40h to ask her about the pictures. She answered back 3 minutes later with them. Amazing.
ps2: I live in a different city from my parents. That’s why I had to text her.