mimicry

My cats are all about monkey-see-monkey-do.

  1. Roxy observed how my cats liked to sit on our porch furniture. She went ahead and claimed a spot — just like the big kids.
  2. Roxy likes to poop at a particular time of day. Now Jake wants to poop at that same time.
  3. Emma uses the scratching post before she eats her noshes, and now Roxy does her nails before dinner.
  4. Molly loves treats, and so Roxy loves treats. Do those treats taste good? Who knows!

It’s a constant cycle of écoute et répète in my life, and it’s delightful. My house is a tiny ecosystem, and feline behavior is contagious.

I see the same pattern in the HR ecosystem, too. Just a few weeks ago, Jennifer McClure wrote a blog post about the five things that speakers shouldn’t do on stage. I promoted the hell out of the post. I shared it broadly across all of my social channels.

Then I blindly wrote an article with a similar title and theme. Seriously. I had no idea that I was mimicking her. A week later, I realized that I was a copycat! 

My only comfort is that there is no new art. Nobody is coming up with groundbreaking theories on how to change anything. Most of us in the world are reading the same websites and watching the same TV shows. Our politics may differ, but our news sources are consistent.

So if you ever feel like someone is copying you, they probably are. And you’re probably copying them, especially if you’re writing about the Microsoft acquisition of LinkedIn. And Roxy is definitely copying Emma, who copied my dearly departed Scrubby, who copied Molly, who copied Jake, who copied my dead cat named Lucy.

Our lives are smaller than we think, and our ideas aren’t as unique as we believe. For all of our unique capabilities and interests, most of us are influenced in subtle and not-so-subtle ways by homogenized sources of media and art.

Instead of worrying about mimicry, I choose to celebrate influence. Thanks for influencing me. I hope I influence you, too.

Now let’s get back to watching my cats mimic one another.