The phrase "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" originated from Oscar Wilde's famous quote, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness." The phrase has been used by many authors as early as the 18th century, but Colton's variation is the one English speakers still use today. While flattery can influence a person's opinion, it is not always flattering. In the world of commerce and intellectual property, such "flattery" can get you in serious trouble.
Oftentimes when a sincere person has the time and energy to put forth creative efforts, over time others may imitate those efforts. For over twenty years I have devoted my time, creativity and energy into all sorts of promotion and support for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. If you are familiar with this blog, then you also have read this website and you know all the projects I have involved myself with for this breed. Let me highlight just a tiny percentage of what I have accomplished for this wonderful breed below.
From my earliest days I did not wait for others but instead I created ways to raise awareness for Breed Specific Legislation, raised money selling anti-BSL bracelets and fought to change laws, attended hearings, written letters, made calls and helped those caught in the middle of such bad legislation.
I created forums and websites with educational material about Staffords.
I promoted health testing in the breed, including being involved with SBTCA getting blood draws needed to locate markers for L2-HGA and HC and shipped to UK.
I published books and magazines about the breed.
I ran Responsible Dog Ownership events. I taught inner city dog owners how to live in big cities responsibly with their dogs. I taught handling lessons on my property and other locations.
I was immediately involved with Stafford rescue not just raising money but actively pulling from shelters, visiting hoarder situations to pull dogs, fostering and transporting, as well as vetting new homes. Many claim to be ‘involved with rescue’ when they only raise money or talk about it but never get their hands dirty. This is also needed but don’t inflate your involvement while putting down others who get in there and do the hard parts.
I have served on just about every club committee, have created a committee (Sunshine),
I started SBT Mentor. Sadly, after ten years I closed it down due to lack of interest. I was having trouble finding people willing to mentor and new people to this breed didn’t think they needed mentors. Thanks in part to social media, they knew it all already.
I have helped rewrite our COE and By-Laws to clarify them and I served on the BOD.
I helped create and edit an Illustrated Breed Standard and a Seminar and donated all the proceeds to rescue. My work is the base for the parent clubs book and seminar. I created The Stafford Knot, Inc 501(c)(3) and I run 3 online stores all with Stafford gear with proceeds donated to rescue I have imitators who mimic my work and put the money in their own pockets who could help by making small donations but instead put our work down in order to promote their own. My designs have been stolen and used worldwide!
I did all of the graphics, marketing, design, social media advertising, fund raising, trophy making (actually physically making them), did promotions, got sponsors, and I did much of the organization for one of the breeds largest National Specialties. You may not be aware that was me since another person takes credit for my hard work when at the time they were grateful and even said – “You could have done this show without me, but I could never have done it without you..”
I have traveled to get my hands on as many Staffords as possible while learning and studying because you never can learn too much about a breed. I photographed, listened, watched and learned from those with many more years experience than myself. Without them I would be lost because today people are not as open and willing to share knowledge. (That is one reason for this website and The Stafford Knot website).
All of this and then some just because I value, appreciate and honor this breed and its traditions and history. I didn’t do any of this for myself or to get a pat on the back. IDGAF whether or not you approve of what I have done and I certainly don’t need your approval to continue. So many others are desperate for that approval and praise. I did, and continue to do all of this for the breed.
I do not brag about my accomplishments or efforts, except perhaps in this blog. Not that it’s shameful to let others know what you do . . . if you are actually putting in the work. This, by the way, also includes talking about your failures and shortcomings and how you learn lessons with grace and dignity. It also includes being open to being wrong and listening to those who are also learning and doing. You don’t, however, get to opening publicly disparage others.
Peoples actions really do speak louder than their words. Actions, especially patterns of actions, show intent. A persons intent says everything. If you pay close attention you begin to stop listening to words and begin to find imitators actions amusing. If a persons intent is not pure, then they will fail at their actions. No matter what their words say, their intent will show through – if you are looking. Most people are not looking, only listening. If you truly are a legend, you don’t need to tell people you are a legend. And I am certainly NOT saying I am – but others who loudly boastfully claim to be just might not be if you watch them and stop listening to them. If they are either disparaging others, copying others or taking credit for others work then perhaps you may begin to wonder what the truth really is.
Is it flattery? I don’t feel that it is. I feel they may see others succeed and be well respected so they mimic in hopes to gain the same for themselves. But since it is not sincere then it fails. Start paying attention. Oscar Wilde was correct.