Don’t copy other people’s style.
A story about walking, for budding creatives
In ancient China, a boy from a rather rich family has a self-esteem problem. He just doesn’t feel like a cool kid in town no matter how hard he tries.
One day he overheard a conversation.
“Hey man, have you seen that dude who’s visiting from Handan?” said Man A.
Man B nodded along, “Yes! Like they say, Handan people walk so effortlessly, they just sort of, glide! How do they even do that?”
“I wish I can walk like a Handan man… so graceful…” commented Man C.
A way to be cool! The boy couldn’t help but interrupt.
“Hello uncles! Can you show me how the Handan people walk? I want to learn!” said the boy.
“Na, none of us can learn their walk,” said all three men in unison.
If I learn how to walk like a Handan man, thought the boy, I can be the coolest walker in town! But how can I learn… YES! I can go to Handan to watch and learn!!!!
With this new found purpose, the boy immediately packed up and went to Handan.
When the boy arrived, he couldn’t believe his eyes.
“Are they conscious when they pace??? How did they manage to get such a mesmerising strut??? I need to start practising.”
The boy started imitating the Handan people from dusk to dawn.
A week passed. I am still not getting it right, thought the boy, but it takes hard work to look effortlessly cool. I must continue.
A month passed. The boy realised that he could never truly learn how to walk like a Handan man. He decided to go home.
Too bad after practising a new way of walking for an entire month, he has forgotten how to walk at all. Legend has it that he crawled all the way back.
Walking is a way to go from point A to point B. Writing and creating is a way to get a message across from point A to point B. Just because other people may have a seemingly cooler way to do it doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Just do your best to get the message across.
“To study the walking method of the people of Handan” (邯鄲學步) is a Chinese idiom used to describe people who “badly imitate others, and lose their individuality in the process”. Read these links and my trusty Chinese idiom comic book while writing this.
Like this post? Follow me! It will make me very happy, because I will look like the coolest boy in town.
I wrote about a pretty boy last week:
When there are 66 comments praising your newly published story
A lightbulb moment of a rather handsome man