“It’s better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” – Herman Melville
We will all face a time when our ideas are stolen and repackaged with another name. It doesn’t matter what genre we work in or what product we produce, at some point someone will copy you. Someone will take your hard work and originality and try to brand that idea as their own.
And it sucks.
It hurts. It feels like a betrayal.
In this climate of reaction via social media, it’s tempting to take this public, to follow instinct and call the person out.
Don’t do it. Wait.
Go for a walk, listen to music, have a shower.
As Innovator Brian Morrow said at What If, Dominican Republic, there is an abundance of ideas and an abundance of people who will flock to your idea.
And the truth is, there isn’t much you can do about this, barring out and out theft of your actual work (images, design, written word, etc.). Sadly, you can’t protect an idea or even an event from duplication. Too many people seek a shortcut, a path previously traveled by another. They want to walk in the footsteps of others, not lead the pack.
They choose imitation. They choose derivation.
Originality is more important – creating something uniquely yours is more valuable. You may fail, but you do so on your terms, learning the necessary lessons as you go. No matter what the outcome, the fact that you did it…
YOU DID IT…
matters more than anything else.
They will take your idea and claim it as their own. That’s not cool, but that’s what will happen (not might happen – will happen) when you dare to stand out and create something remarkable.
Get mad if you need to. Get more determined if you can. Use this experience to empower your creativity, to develop more original content, and to LEAD THE WAY without apology or looking over your shoulder.
Yes, they will follow, they will copy, they will find “inspiration” in what you do. So what? They will never be you.
Remember this: “It is the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” – Paulo Coelho from The Alchemist
Go. Follow your path. It’s worth it.