This article was submitted by Igbayemi Daniel Akeremale, a PhD student in Building and NUPSA’s Research Representative.


In the immortal words of Leo Buscaglia, “The easiest thing to be in the world is you, the most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don’t let them put you in that position.” According to Webster-Merriam dictionary, ‘imitation’ may be defined as ‘the act of copying or imitating someone or something; the quality of an object in possessing some of the nature or attributes of a transcendent idea’.

On the other hand, ‘limitation’ is ‘a limiting rule or circumstance, restrictive weakness; lack of capacity; inability or handicap.’ Imitation in its entirety tends to be found more on the negative end of the spectrum rather than the positive. I am of the belief that we are supposed to stand out, not blend in because it is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. “My mother said to me, if you become a soldier you’ll become a general, if you become a monk you’ll end up as the Pope. Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso,” said the great artist.

Resolve to be yourself. The opposite of courage is not fear, but rather, conformity. The most exhausting and frustrating thing in life is to live it trying to be someone else. Imitation kills creativity and a living thing is distinguished from a dead thing by the multiplicity of the changes at any moment taking place in it.

Beware of imitators. They are people who not only strive to remain static themselves, but strive to keep everything else so. Be your own gauge. Be a thermostat and not a thermometer. A thermometer only responds to its outside environment to determine what direction to go, but a thermostat determines its own temperature. Don’t imitate; give the best of what you have to the highest standard you know. Imitation is like standing in the middle of the road – which is very dangerous, because you can get knocked down by traffic coming from both directions.

Martin Luther said, “Every man must do two things alone. He must do his own believing and his own dying.” Making comparisons is a sure path to frustration and it is a total waste of time and energy when you compare your life to that of other people. Happiness can be found by doing what you do best and not worrying about what the other person is doing. Do you say, “I’m good, but not as good as I ought to be,” or do you compare and say, “I’m not as bad as a lot of other people.” If I compare myself to Frank Lloyd Wright, I’ll never design another structure, but if I compare myself to Adolf Hitler, I’ll think I’m a saint.

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