Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Imitation is limitation

Imitation is limitation
By The Post
Wed 26 Dec. 2012, 14:20 CAT

We don't think it is necessary for us to torture ourselves too much with the issue of role models.

Dr Chileshe Mulenga, our permanent secretary for Southern Province, says "our society is close to being rotten because professionals are no longer role models". It is not the issue of role models that really matters. What matters is the inspiration we draw from the thoughts, actions and lives of others.

We don't need to torture ourselves to be a Kenneth Kaunda, a Levy Mwanawasa or a Michael Sata. There will only be one KK, one Levy and one Michael. We can strive to be inspired by KK's honesty, by Levy's discipline and by Michael's tenacity, but there is no need to try and make ourselves carbon copies of these best sons of our homeland.

We see some people trying very hard to talk and act like KK; trying very hard to be like Michael. It is not possible for anyone to be like these comrades. We see some people who take Oprah Winfrey as their role model trying to look like her, styling their hair like her, wearing make-up like her, dressing like her, trying to talk like her. It doesn't work. It actually makes them look foolish because they will never be another Oprah. There is only one Oprah and that will remain so. But there is some inspiration that can be drawn from Oprah's work and life. That is what is important.

In this day of peer pressure, trends and fads, we need to realise that each person has been custom-made by God the creator. Each of us has a unique call. We should be ourselves. We must be the persons God has made us to be.

You and us can always find someone richer than we are, poorer than we are, or more or less able than we are. But how other people are, what they have, and what happens in their lives have no effect upon our call. In Galatians 6:4, we are admonished, "Let everyone be sure that he is doing his very best for then you will have the personal satisfaction of work well done, and won't need to compare himself with someone else."

God made you a certain way. You are unique, one of a kind. To copy others is to cheat yourself out of the fullness of what God has called you to be and to do. Imitation is limitation. And at The Post, we have a slogan which we carry at the bottom of our back page: "While others imitate, we originate".

Stand out; don't blend in. the majority, many times, is a group of highly motivated snails. If a thousand people say something foolish, it is still foolish. Truth is never dependent upon consensus of belief.

Don't be persuaded or dissuaded by group opinion. It doesn't make any difference what anyone else believes; you must believe. Never take direction for your personal life from a crowd. Never choose to quit just because somebody disagrees with you. In fact, the two worst things you can say to yourself when you get an idea is "that's never been done before!" and "that's been done before!"

First Peter 2:9 says of Christians, "You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, his own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." And Romans 12:2 exhorts us, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Christians live in this world, but we are aliens. We should talk differently, act differently and perform differently. We should stand out.

There should be something different about you. If you do not stand out in a group, if your life is not unique or different, you should revaluate yourself.

Choose to accept and become the person God has made you to be. If you are not, then who are you going to be? You won't be a KK, a Levy, a Michael. You have to be yourself. And if you are not yourself, you are nothing.

All people are born originals; but there are some who die as copies. Those who succeed are those who remain the way they were born - originals. Those who fail are usually those who die as copies.

Therefore, the call in your life is not to be a copy but to be an original. Draw inspiration from the best citizens of our homeland, of our world but still continue to be yourself. Don't try to imitate KK, Levy or Michael. You won't succeed and you will die a failure because the people you are trying to imitate are originals and there can only be one original. The rest are copies. The choice is yours to remain the original you are and make the best of it and succeed or to be a copy and remain a copy and be a failure.

"Our society is close to being rotten" not because our professionals are no longer models but because they are not trying to be original, they are copies of others. Societies which encourage originality create more and more things and consequently prosper.

Let us be inspired by the works and life of KK without trying to be KK. Let us be inspired by the discipline of Levy without trying to be Levy. Let us be inspired by the political tenacity of Michael without trying to be Michael. In that way, we will remain ourselves and at the same time be able to draw some valuable inspiration from these heroic comrades and push ourselves further and further. In this way, we will become more creative, more enterprising and even more inspirational to others who follow. If we become more creative, we will inspire others to be creative in their own way. This is what is needed to move ourselves and our country forward and not this sterile role modeling we seem to be torturing ourselves about.


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