I have this constant fear to stop doing something just because someone else is doing it. Case-in-point, start blogging or start writing a book. I have a fear that others will think I’m trying to copy them or worse, steal their ideas.
I’m just going to say it out loud for my own good, because most of the time it’s more so in our own heads than in reality. Screw all of our high horses. Screw all the credit claiming. If anyone thinks they can claim something, they’re truly as arrogant as Christopher Columbus staking a flag into America claiming he discovered it first, as if nobody else was already living here. <!–more–>
Funny thing is, I think part of my personal struggle may be due to me being Chinese. There’s a common stereotype towards Chinese people (and I feel like, in-turn towards me) that we don’t innovate and we just copy everyone’s shit. But that’s a high horse mentality, as if every single human being on this earth doesn’t imitate, copy, or build upon the knowledge of someone else, every… bloody… day. And as much as I logically know that everyone copies off of everyone else, whether they are aware of it or not, I still find it hard to get over the thought that someone’s going to think, “Hey, you stole my idea,” or “Hey, I did that first!” But if we just look around us, in America and everywhere else in the world, we’re constantly copying off of one another and other cultures. It’s how humans learn and grow. It’s only our arrogance that makes us feel all high and mighty. Hoarding our ideas as if we were the first and only, and not willing to share with people to collaborate and progress faster.
Granted, I understand that some people may feel direct copying and selling isn’t innovating, but I beg to differ. The same thing touched or interacted with by someone else is a completely new and different thing in this world. It’s one thing to build something, it’s another to sell it or get it into the hands of the world. If someone can do it more successfully than you or reach markets you’re not reaching, they’re doing something different from you. Sure the product may be the same but if they’re marketing and selling more than you, they’re doing something better, if not more innovative, than you. Just because your pride can’t accept it, doesn’t negate the fact. A product is really no different from an idea. If it doesn’t reach anybody or help anyone, it’s just as significant as a raindrop in the ocean.
<h3>Protecting Against Progress</h3>
I try to remind myself that nature existed, then came us trying to build upon that foundation. But, again, it’s hard not to get caught up in a society trying to claim rights to things. That’s the society we’re bred into, living in a world of endless patents, and copyrights as if we all really invented this shit and we can stake a flag in it.
Why do we play this game? Ego… really. Ego and profits. We’re conditioned to think this way purely because we get so damn caught up in our own egos and the need for protected periods of profiting.
It’s really stupid. I know some people will argue that patents and patent protection encourages people to invent and innovate, otherwise there would be little to no incentive to do so. I call bullshit. If anything, it makes us lazy and stagnant. You invented something? Well keep improving it and outsell your competition, instead of having a government organization mother you. It’s like having bullies go around the block shutting down other lemonade stands because you opened yours first.
Patent laws are only there to say “Alright, good job on claiming you did it first, now you can kick back for awhile to enjoy your monopoly, so we (the government) can collect fat taxes.”
I really believe this type of thinking is strictly against innovation and human progress, and at its core, against survival of the fittest instincts. Mother nature never said, “Oh hey you discovered the fire… great, here let me give you the rights to fire so you can monopolize on anyone wanting to do anything with it for the next 20 years.”
The truth is, create something so valuable, and sell its value so well that people will only buy from you. That’s true innovation working to protect you. Those are the laws of nature, and they’ll sure in hell serve you better than some man-made laws.
<h3>Imitation Is Glorious</h3>
I’m really writing this to help myself break out of this mentality. Some may say imitation is suicide… well those people clearly are delusional and self-centered. I’d like someone to show me something that wasn’t built upon the foundation of the people or the knowledge before us. You’d have to be quite arrogant to not recognize the precedents our foundations are built upon. Creation is simply the improvement of something else if you dig deep enough, whether you’re willing to admit it or not.
I think the better adage is that imitation is truly the highest form of flattery.
I think the important lesson here is that everyone will try to claim rights to something, anything. That’s just human nature. However, don’t get it stuck in your own head or up your ass that anything truly belongs to you. Because if you do, you start building up a sense of entitlement and a false sense of accomplishment that hinders your personal progress.
From this day forward I promise myself to stop caring about people who live in the past and feel like other people should give them more credit. Start living for today, where the road ahead is fertile and we walk forward proudly imitating and improving upon the knowledge and efforts of the world before us and this day.
I just need to really let it go, because I’m realizing it’s one of the things that’s really holding me back. I fear it may be holding other entrepreneurs back as well. Anything you touch is inherently different than if someone else touched it. Don’t be afraid to do something just because other people are doing it. The truth is, there is ALWAYS someone out there doing the same thing, it’s just that you don’t know them.
Just do what you want to do, get it done, and try to make the world a better place.