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Copy Cats Are Boring. Why Is It Better To Be Original?

Copy Cats Are Boring. Why Is It Better To Be Original?

Plagiarism is rampant on the internet. It’s so easy for people to copy, paste, and claim an idea as their own. Unfortunately, lots of people get away with it. Some even thrive on the labors of others. They may be able to skate by, but what are they really getting out of copying someone else’s work?

The simple fact is, you can’t learn and grow if you don’t put in the effort.

We’re all on a quest for originality

Everyone wants to be unique. Originality showcases talent, and it gives you a competitive edge. People don’t want to buy an idea that has been repackaged. New ideas sell.

The pressure to be creative in a world in which everyone is creating and sharing all the time is enormous. To complicate matters, modern life doesn’t often allow us to have the time and focus that we need to innovate. When this happens, many people have a hard time coming up with new ideas and ways to solve problems.

At the first sign of a creative blockage, people may turn to the work of others for inspiration. Sometimes this is enough to get them on track, but they may also be tempted to copy someone else’s idea so that they can get their product out on time.

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Over time, a person can develop a habit of repackaging someone else’s work instead of coming up with fresh ideas. Operating in this fashion may provide short-term relief, but it’s a formula for failure.

    Plagiarism is like skipping levels in a video game

    Imagine you’re playing a game, and you get to a challenging level. Your friend is an expert at this game, so you hand the controller off to him. He easily completes the level, but when he returns the controller to you, you find the new level almost impossible to play.

    Video games, like life, are designed so that you can only advance when you get the skills that you need. Until you are ready to move on, you won’t be able to beat the level.

    Copying is like handing off the controller. You never actually learn how to do what you need to do because someone else did all the legwork. You miss out on developing any real understanding of whatever you’re trying to do when you just copy, paste, and make a few minor adjustments.

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    Just like you won’t have the skills to make it to the next level if you let someone else do the hard work in the game, you won’t have the knowledge to carry out future assignments if you don’t put in the time on the one in front of you. You’ll be stuck living in the shadows of others’ greatness. When you’re in over your head, you’ll be more tempted to continue plagiarizing in the future.

    You can’t copy the spirit of originality

    When someone comes up with something entirely new, there’s this beautiful process that brings it into being. Their experiences combined with their skillsets produce this innovation. This is an invisible but ever-present force in new ideas.

    A copycat won’t be able to give an idea new life because they don’t have the spark. They don’t understand why a material behaves the way it does, or why this model will work for their customers better than that other one.

    The depth of understanding that comes with going through the process of discovery just isn’t there. There’s no substance, and there’s no way to grow. It’s like trying to grow a tree by starting with the trunk instead of beginning with a seed and a root system.

    Copycats can never be first in anything, either. Someone who copies has to wait for somebody else to come up with the original idea before they can remix it for themselves. No matter what you make, it’s always going to be one step behind. It’s the knockoff– the less desirable version of the original. It’s a miserable way to live.

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      Accept nothing less than your personal best

      In The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, Twyla Tharp states:[1]

      “Our ability to grow is directly proportional to an ability to entertain the uncomfortable.”

      Instead of panicking and copying someone else’s work, embrace your discomfort and be original! It’s fine to be inspired by others’ works, but you don’t have to plagiarize. You have to believe that you can come up with your own one-of-a-kind idea.

      From the outside, there can be a fine line between being inspired by someone and copying, but if you’re the one completing the project, it’s easy to tell if you’re copying. If someone else is doing most of the work, your idea isn’t original.

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      Finding inspiration without resorting to plagiarism is not difficult. Diversifying the places from which you draw inspiration helps. Talk to others working in your field, read lots of books, and continue to consume content related to your work. This builds your frame of reference so that you can create something different.

      Becoming this well-informed is time-consuming, but it’s what will make you an authority in your field. As you learn more, you can learn to ask the right kinds of questions. Knowing what to ask leads you to come up with your own ideas.

      Plagiarism is a cop-out

      You are capable of doing profound things, but you have to give yourself a chance. No matter how tough it seems, keep striving to be an original. In the end, you’ll hold your head high knowing you’ve done something nobody has done before.

      Featured photo credit: Fancy Crave/ Minimography.com via fancycrave.com

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      Leon Ho

      Founder & CEO of Lifehack

      5 Tips To Stop Feeling Overwhelmed And Overcome Procrastination How To Make A Vision Board That Works 35 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2020 Updated) 7 Tips for Overcoming Challenges in Life Like a Pro What Should Be Your End Goal In Life Above All Else?

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      Last Updated on August 10, 2020

      How to Set Short Term Goals for a Successful Life

      How to Set Short Term Goals for a Successful Life

      Change begins with the hope of what’s possible in your life. Hope leads to a sense of expectancy Combine this with setting short-term goals, and the likelihood of being more happy and successful moves from possibility to reality.

      Short-term goals, when created with well-formed criteria, offer incremental steps towards successfully achieving your bigger goals.

      In this step-by-step guide, you’ll discover the secret to creating short-term goals that will set you up for success and help you sail past challenges of staying motivated easily.

      What Is a Short-Term Goal?

      Short-term goals are ‘short’, meaning the time frame can be as short as 10 minutes, a day, or as long as a week or a few months. Well-formed short-term goals begin with the end in mind.

      Quick tip:

      Write down the specific result you want to achieve and the date when it should happen. Then, work backward from this date, describing what you’ll notice yourself doing (and achieving) until you take the first step.

      A short-term goal is the smallest step you need for you to reach a bigger goal centered around achieving something you passionately desire.

      Passionate desire‘ is the key.

      As Tony Robbins says,

      People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them.[1]

      Having passion when setting goals means getting your mind and body activated to fuel your energy and focus. Each time you achieve a short-term goal, your body celebrates by producing and releasing chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin oxytocin, and endorphins (feel-good neurotransmitters).

      Ian Robertson, a cognitive neuroscientist and author of The Winner Effect: The Neuroscience of Success and Failure, says,

      Success and failure shape us more powerfully than genetics and drugs.

      The regular release of the body’s natural chemicals supports brain change at a neural level, building your confidence, and renewing your goal-oriented focus.

      The Benefits of Setting Short-Term Goals

      Regardless of the area in your life where you set your short-term goals, it will have a ripple effect across all your life domains.

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      • Improve your career prospects and your sense of identity also shifts.
      • Improve your body shape through managing food intake and your energy improves in a way that’s noticeable at work and home.
      • Improve your mindset and your attitude changes around how you engage with others.
      • Improve your health and your desire for self-improvement lifts.

      6 Steps to Success With Short-Term Goals

      Setting short-term goals will lead you closer to a happier and more successful life, but can you achieve that?

      Take the following steps and you will start achieving your dreams:[2]

      Step 1: Know Your Best Hopes

      Try this process yourself by thinking of an area in your life that you’d like to improve.

      For example:

      • What are your best hopes for your finances?
      • What are your best hopes for your relationship?
      • What are your best hopes for your career?
      • What are your best hopes for your health?

      This process involves ‘chunking up’ your ideas to imagine the results more clearly. In this process, you try to achieve not only the goal and the outcome it gives you but also the changes in your behavior and mindset as a result of achieving your goal.

      Step 2: Notice What’s Different

      The next question to ask yourself is: “What would you notice that was different from the way you usually did things?”

      ‘Noticing’ helps you build a vision of what could be possible. The richer the description you can build around the tiny details, the more ‘real’ your preferred future becomes.

      Step 3: Ask: ‘What Else?’

      Most of us know there’s a hidden reason or a long-buried hope beneath why we want something.

      Often, our ego gets a little defensive about it and protective of it. But if we dig and resurface the truth, then weight can be lifted, allowing you the freedom to move forward.

      Step 4: Ask: ‘Who Will Notice the Difference?’

      Relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and your partner are important. Seeing the change they’ll notice helps put another perspective on the differences they see in you.

      Imagine what they will notice about you that would let them know something changed about you as a result of achieving this goal.

      Step 5: Imagine a Miracle Happened Tonight

      Imagine that if you went to bed tonight and a miracle happened; and you were the very best version of yourself and that you had achieved your best hopes.

      When you woke up tomorrow morning after the miracle happened, what would you notice that would tell you you’ve achieved the change you’re seeking?

      Step 6: Describe Your Day as If the Miracle Had Happened

      Go through your day, moment by moment. Begin with what time you would wake up and then describe the differences you would notice in every tiny action you do.

      Notice in detail what’s different about this day – a day when you are at your very best because you’re living your best hopes.

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      How to Track Your Short Term Goals Success

      When you set a short-term goal, establish a measurement system to track your progress:[3]

      1. Create a Running Tally

      One of the best devices to keep your short-term goal setting on track is to keep a running record or tally of the number of days in a row that you’ve sustained your goal.

      For example, if improving your health is important to you and you plan to reduce your weight by 5 kilos by not eating any foods containing sugar, then set up a simple chart and track how many days in a row you can do this. Aim for 5 days, then 10, then 20 days in a row. If you have a small diversion and eat sugar one day, simply start again.

      Once you feel confident that you can continue with this step, add another such as taking 5,000 steps per day. Again, set up a simple tally chart either in your diary or somewhere visible and enjoy marking up one more day that you’ve achieved your short-term goal. It won’t be long before your goal of losing 5 kilos is met.

      2. Keep a Journal

      Maintaining a journal will help you focus on identifying the things that are different because you’ve set a well-formed short-term goal.

      Aim to complete the journal at the end of each day and recall in detail the things that you’re noticing. This helps keep you connected with your desired outcome and the transformation you’re experiencing in both your behavior and mindset.

      Take a look at this guide if you’re starting out journaling: Writing Journal for a Better and More Productive Self (The How-To Guide).

      3. Share Your Progress With a Trusted Friend or Coach

      By voicing the change and expressing how far you’re noticing yourself move towards your goal, you’re reinforcing the power of change you’re experiencing.

      And you’ll be activating the feel-good neurotransmitters that are so important for bringing your confidence, motivation, and positive changes to your brain to succeed.

      Here’re more reasons why you should get yourself a life coach: 7 Reasons Why You Should Find a Life Coach to Reach Your Full Potential.

      4. Visualize Your Progress

      Before you go to sleep in the evening, visualize your tomorrow. See yourself continuing to do the things that support your change.

      Walk yourself through the tiny details that add up to the changes you want to see yourself doing, including the time you’ll wake up. In the morning, re-activate the visualization and then ‘step into’ your day.

      Short-Term Goal Example: A Career Short-Term Goal

      How to advance your career with short-term goals? Specifically, you will need short-term goals to help with your career. This is also how many people want to utilize short-term goals.

      Start by Planning Your Career Visually

      Walt Disney was sacked for lacking imagination. Oprah Winfrey was told she’d never make it on television. Careers are destroyed by naysayers intent on keeping you small. The successful person designs a career goal and then creates incremental steps to ‘ladder up’ with short-term goals.

      Justin Dry from VinoMofo, a successful Australian wine distribution company, always begins his goal-setting process with visual planning. He says,

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      I need to see it all in front of me like a puzzle I’m putting together. It kind of looks like the workings of a madman with lots of weird and wonderful shapes and lines connecting the words.

      Whether you use masses of post-it notes that cover a wall, large sheets of paper to spread your ideas on or a journal to map your path – messy planning gets your ideas out of your head so you see different possibilities and pathways available to you.

      Begin this process by asking, “What are my best hopes for my career?”

      Write them down and place them somewhere you’ll notice them every day.

      Make You Think Like a Start-Up Entrepreneur

      While successful career planning starts with a messy and random process to let those ‘idea gems’ – the embryos of well-formed short-term goals rise, the next step is taking these nuggets and using them to set your direction.

      Think of yourself (and your career) as if you’re the CEO of your successful start-up – one with a clear vision of what you want and how you’ll get it. Rather than waiting for a boss to give you goals, be proactive, and set your own.

      Karen Lawson, CEO of Slingshot says,

      Set a vision, and be focused on the intent of these goals. Create actions which not only build on those of yesterday but also improve what you do tomorrow. Your pathways will need to be flexible, challenged, and accountable.

      Begin by listing the bigger steps needed to achieve your goal. Then chunk these down into smaller steps with specific actions needed to achieve them. These action steps are the workhorses of your short-term goals.

      Create a specific time frame to complete them and maintain accountability – as if you’re reporting to your ‘higher up’.

      Begin this process by asking yourself: “What difference will I notice when I take these steps?” Then ask: “What difference will my boss/es notice when I take these steps?”

      Establish ‘Triggers’ for Your Daily Habits

      Twyla Tharp (born 1941) legendary dancer and choreographer, maintains an exacting routine designed to trick her mind into a daily exercise habit.

      I begin each day of my life with a ritual; I wake up at 5:30 A.M., put on my workout clothes, my leg warmers, my sweatshirts, and my hat. I walk outside my Manhattan home, hail a taxi, and tell the driver to take me to the Pumping Iron gym at 91st street and First Avenue, where I workout for two hours. The ritual is not the stretching and weight training I put my body through each morning at the gym; the ritual is the cab. The moment I tell the driver where to go I have completed the ritual.

      It’s a simple act, but doing it the same way each morning habitualizes it — makes it repeatable, easy to do. It reduces the chance that I would skip it or do it differently. It is one more item in my arsenal of routines, and one less thing to think about.[4]

      To do this list, create a trigger point – the smallest step you’ll do that will catapult you into taking action as Twyla Tharp did. What will be your ritual of ‘getting in the cab’?

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      Get You to Talk About the Future

      Melanie Perkins CEO of Canva, a thriving design and publishing solution, is known for ‘frequently talking about the future’.

      Orienting your thoughts towards a future-focus reinforces how important your vision and goals are to you. Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, “You are what you think.”

      • Make it a habit to read your goals daily.
      • Think about what you’ll notice that will be different in your life when you achieve them.
      • Express your goals to someone important in your life.
      • Whisper them to yourself throughout your day.

      Future-focused conversations (both with yourself and others) establish a pattern of expectancy, which continue fueling not only your desire but also the expectation of achieving it.

      Manage Mental Resistance

      When you begin with ‘hope’, you activate a sense of ‘expectancy’. A belief that what you want is not only possible, it’s within reach. Hope and expectancy are two powerful motivators in propelling you forward to a successful life.

      When you’re ‘moving forward‘ with hope, you’re orienting yourself towards your desired future. When ‘moving away from‘ something you perceive as painful you’re activating ‘fear’, which can also be a strong motivator helping you avoid pain; for example, losing your job if your quarterly performance scores don’t improve.

      Sarah, a manager at a busy merchandising company saw her doctor because she was feeling tired. After a thorough examination, the doctor advised Sarah to lose 15 kilos as this was contributing to her tiredness. The news felt overwhelming as Sarah worked long hours and rarely found time to shop for fresh food, so she relied on fast food to keep her going.

      For Sarah, the doctor activated her fear by describing what could happen (heart attack and/or diabetes) if she didn’t manage her weight by shedding 15 kilos.

      While ‘moving away from’ motivation can be successful, a way of amplifying positive motivators that will see Sarah begin ‘moving towards’ her goal is by talking about what outcomes Sarah would notice by losing 15 kilos.

      For example, managing her weight may see Sarah being more efficient at work, getting out more socially, or feeling more able to manage work pressures and deadlines.

      To do this with your own goal setting, think about what’s important to you about achieving your goals. Write down your answers. Ask: “What will you notice that will be different in your life when these changes happen?”

      Summing It Up

      Change is possible. Short-term goals that build upon each other are the stepping stones to achieving your best hopes.

      Using your creative imagination by noticing the small differences occurring daily offers a positive way to create practical change in an easy and doable way.

      Above all, make sure your goal is powered by ‘passionate desire’ so you achieve your desired outcomes.

      More Tips About Goals Setting

      Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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