It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. – Herman Melville
Many people live motivated primarily by safety. They find routines and approaches and rarely step outside of them. Many work that corporate job every day following the orders, finishing the work, and earning the raises. It all seems well, except there is a one glaring feeling in the background.
Everything is being done right but dissatisfaction reigns.
This discontent arises from succeeding at imitation instead of our original purposes. When you take a path and choose goals to impress other people, you are merely reflecting what you believe is expected of you. It comes from wanting to fit in. Imitation is safe. You know it works and acceptance is imminent and so, it continues. Negative emotions linger and we shut them out for the sake of conformity and comfort.
Being original and true to your purpose is threatening. Those entrenched in imitation will not like to see you break free. Moving beyond previous expectations and formulas often ends in isolation.
In the end, it becomes better to define your purpose and follow it, rather than live for expectations. Think critically about your choices and how you really feel about them. Is pushing paper at a desk every day what you wish to do? Does it at least help finance other life passions?
Chances are, if you are working hard for another raise only to go home and sit catatonic in front of a TV, while ignoring once-loved hobbies, you may only be living for another person's dream.
Find opportunities to step out of your comfort zone and embrace authenticity. Even if you take a risk and fail, it is better than always wondering if you could have been happier.