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RAF Inspired: The Copycat

February 11, 2016


RAF Inspired: The Copycat
By Carolyn Stiles

I’m a copycat.

Did an image of your younger sibling, obnoxiously mimicking you pop into your head? Culturally, the word copycat or copy, has a rather negative connotation attached to it. According to your typical English dictionary, I just stated that I’m an imitator, an impressionist, a mimicker… though urban dictionary uses more choice words to describe the term. Those words are not often attached to images of creative, unique, fresh work. But perhaps the idea of copying simply needs to be redefined.

Here’s what I’m getting at. For me, to copy doesn’t mean literally copying word for word or design for design what someone else has already created. It means being stimulated by the work of others and using their ideas as a foundation to build upon within my own work. When I think about what inspires me (which is the premise of this post)– it’s people. People are incredibly fascinating and there is so much knowledge to gain by engaging with others. Different people are attracted to different things, start different initiatives, and view the world in differentways. A good conversation about another’s aspirations and accomplishments can really fuel my inner energy, because learning about the ideas others are pursuing inspires me to achieve my own ambitions in new ways.

To copy is such a natural thing. It’s how we are taught to learn in school. Great works of art and brilliant solutions have been based off others’ ideas. Our endless pursuit of novel, exceptional concepts might be remedied by a simple copy– When we’re inspired by someone else’s work, it often ends up threading through our own work. By applying fresh perspective to someone else’s idea, it can become new.

So, if you’re inspired by someone else’s work, don’t be afraid to copy. But don’t be lazy about it either. Because blithely taking someone else’s work is not the right approach. Rather, take time to observe others, engage with them, ask questions and learn what makes them excited and inspired. Take the time to listen and actually internalize what they’re saying (yep, this can be hard with the myriad distractions of today). Yet, I know that when I do just that, I feel more motivated and more inspired with my own work.

#RAFInspired #BeACopycat