Russell Turner

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It's Okay To Copy

2018-12-16

We learned it in school: it's bad to copy is bad. And now we're convinced that everything we do must be original. And when we can't be original we think we're worthless.

The ability to copy is probably one of our most human abilities. Would you tell a baby to stop copying you? "Come on little Balthazar, say something original." And then as he learns to write, "Don't trace those letters, be unique."

Copying lets us learn and explore faster, it saves us from reinventing the wheel, it enables us to build and rebuild and rebuild (practice).

It's only because of the process of copying that we could be lucky and discover something new. Something we missed the last time we built. Something new we put on top.

If you can't think of something original, you're not broken. Just copy instead. Copy whatever you like, whatever inspires you, whatever sparks your curiosity. Copy with intent and determination. Maybe you'll discover something, but either way you're just being human.

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