In his essay "Self-Reliance," Ralph Waldo Emerson emphasizes the importance of trusting yourself and following your own ideas and instincts. Envy, he tells the reader, is ignorance, while "imitation is suicide." There is no point in your existence if you merely copy somebody else.
This message, while Emerson expounds it with great eloquence, can be gathered from the title of the essay. However, it is not enough simply to rely on yourself. You must be able to review and revise your ideas. As Emerson puts it,
Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today.
You must not only avoid conformity with others, but also with your former self. This is what Emerson means when he says that a "foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," which is so popular among various authority figures. When you think about a matter, you should not copy what Moses, Plato, or Milton thought. They did not imitate anyone else, which means that by copying them, you are, ironically, acting in a manner unlike them.
However, you should also avoid copying your former self. You should treat what you thought yesterday as an authority in the same way that you treat Plato as an authority and not be afraid to deviate from it if you think you have a better idea today. It is only small-minded people who refuse to change their minds in the name of consistency.