Role models. Do they work?
A lot of PD gurus recommend using role models as tools/guide to help you get where you want to go. But does it really work?
Personally, when I was in high-school, I had buddies that were better in certain fields, and hanging out with them I got better in those fields until I was better than them. This was not competition at all, it seem to be a by-product of our friendship.
But as I am getting older I find fewer and fewer people work for me as role models. For example the bosses I used to work for were mostly internationally acclaimed authorities in their field. Yet, as I got to know them better, I realised they really all put their pants on one leg at a time, too.
Using celebrity role models (Obama?, Steve Jobs?, Albert Schweizer, Gandhi) is even more difficult, because I do not really know their actual mindset. I only know their accomplishments. Or worse you find out about their dark sides, and then they suddenly lose all their appeal.
What is your experience?
I think it can work in that you're surrounding yourself around people who have qualities that you admire, and this can highly influence and motivate you to strive for those things as well. I don't know if I'd call it a "role model" though. I just don't like that term.
As for celebrities, I agree with what you said. I'd never use a celebrity as a "role model" because I don't know them personally. I'm only being presented with their public image, which more often than not focuses on all of the money, success, and accomplishments that they've made. But I don't know the whole story. I don't know what they did to get where they are and what type of person they are inside.
It's good to admire certain qualities in others, but I think it's best to strive to be your own role model. :)
I think it's contextual. I don't model the entire person, just the aspect of that person in which I see excellence. No one's going to occur as being excellent in every single way, and there's no reason they *should* -- and that doesn't make anyone any less magnificent.
If I'm modelling someone I don't know personally, like a celebrity or someone from the past (or potentially, the future), I recognize that it's my own unconscious projections of excelence I'm modelling, and that's fine. My unconscious mind has access to all kinds of wealth of resource that can benefit me consciously, so that kind of modelling can be very, very helpful, too.
I agree. When I hear role model from other people, I tend to think that that person wants to be everything like the model. I always thought I didn't have a role model. But, there are features that specify what I would like to be. So Angela is a role model for me in the life coach department, but not everywhere else. :D
Higher selves are sorta like a role model as well. They define who you strive to be.
I don't have famous role models. Sometimes i meet people i can learn from though. I have a friend who is inspiring in terms of empathy and forgiveness. It's a part of her i see as "model".
I used to believe a lot in role models but after time I began to see them as extremely unhealthy.
1) Role models give you a very rose colored spectacle of another human being. We begin to "value" some human being over others. It starts a comparison model of living and that in itself is dangerous. While I do believe that some humans are more important than others, it's not always productive for people to start placing someone as being better or more perfect than themselves. Which is the inherent flaw of having role models.
2) there is a danger for the "average" low self confident person to see someone else as being perfect. And believing that "perfection" is an achievable thing... Many of our role models have a lot of flaws but no attention is given to them. Except you think sports celebrities like Tiger Woods because it's so glaring lol.
3) Role models show us success, in THEIR way. In some ways it's beneficial to model successful people so that we can learn from them, we must also keep in mind we may not have the same background or "abilities" as that person. For example, many people like bill gates because he is rich. But a man in his 20's wanting to strike it rich by copying bill gate's model is going to have to pick up all the ingenuity and skills of computer design if he wants to be bill gates.
Frankly I like role models. And MR. Luther King Jr. has always been my favorite. But I also recognize he's just a human like me, he is no better than me, and certainly no worse. Because he is successful at HIS goal doesn't make him any more worthy or able, or anything than me. My goal isn't exactly to stand up for black rights (I'm not black). So it's not like I can copy his model and do the same thing, it's only the virtue of his actions I find admirable but we shouldn't revolve our existence based upon someone else's achievements.
Role-models are a good influence... sometimes, I find, they can be extremely powerful. But ultimately you can't depend much on them because they're usually not there. My greatest role-models are so self-disciplined and focused on their work that they hardly have an ounce of time for me. So take them with a whole container of salt because one moment you're studying them voraciously and the next moment they've checked out of your life for the most part.
I find that the company you keep breeds similarities in yourself. For example, if your friends with people who drink constantly, chances are you will drink as well.
I started a thread a while ago about surrounding yourself with people who are better than you- role models if you will. I think this works splendidly. I have a couple of financial bloggers who I consider role models and I've picked up lots of good habits from them. One of those financial bloggers also blogs about entrepreneurial issues and so I pick up those habits as well.
For me, a role model is a person that I consider more knowledgeable on a given topic and who I sponge information and habits from. Greatest thing around!
Here's a phenomenon I've noticed though: my generation (I'm 27) seems particularly resistant to role models. They would rather break through the proverbial wall with their fists than use the door. Anyone else notice this?
In my opinion human beings are natural copiers of other people. So when we see something we like in another person, we try to do it ourselves. And when a particular person keeps doing wonderful things, we try to be just like them, and they become our role models. There's nothing wrong with this unless it's taken too far, to the point where you believe everything they do is perfect, and they never make mistakes. No one is perfect. If you can keep that truth in mind, I believe role models can serve as wonderful tools for the development of our minds :)
I use copying a lot, although not necessarily through role models-just through traits that other people have that I want.
For example, I'm not very good with anything visual, but one of my friends in college was, and he and I worked together a lot. Later I found that I could "switch" into his mindset to do visual problems, which was a huge help.
I've always used this sort of copying in school-for example, I would do *really* well on assignments that required us to write in the style of some author (even though I did terribly in English most of the time), and I would learn a very wide array of problem-solving methods and mindsets by watching other people. Copying is much faster than trying to learn a mindset on my own.
Role models. Do they work?
I should hope they work. Slackers and welfare recipients hardly make good role models. :p :D
(Sorry, I couldn't resist that one)
As others have said - I wouldn't never model myself on another person in their entirety - just look at a behaviour or a way of thinking that they seem to be getting right.
Separating the person from the action.
I really like who I am as a whole but I understand that I have room for improvement in some areas! So if I were to want to work on fitness for example, I would find someone who does this well and seek advice etc - it doesn't matter what they do with the rest of their lives - I would only be seeking out the one thing.
I agree to separate the aspect/skill you admire from the person. But, it seems difficult in reality. For example, the sponsors of Tiger Woods withdrew as far as I remember after his affairs came to light. What did it have to do with golf? I think some people (and this includes me to some extent) fear that the flaws come as a side effect of the mind set that makes the person successful. Well, personally I had no issue with Woods, but he is a good example IMO.
As to the example of M. Luther King Jr.: would he serve less as a role model, if we now found out that he was abusive, and an alcoholic, who used to beat his wife up and cheat on her (I know unrealistic, but...) ?
Would the Dalai Lama serve less as a role model if you found out that he secretly watches Big Brother all day and plays Counter Strice?
Also, how do you practially benefit from the role model? Do you improve subconsciously (as I did in my high-school days in the OP), or do you try to find out what the role model's mind-set is. Example: I can be pretty charming, yet compared to my Italian friend and colleague, I am probably a dead fish for Mediteranean standards. Hanging out with him does not automatically do it. Neither can he actually put into words what makes him charming. To how do I benefit from him practically?
nice thread... THis was my question this morning as I was reading Jeff Olsons book THe Slight Edge(Tony Robbins talks about this too on AWakening the Giant Within).. There's this limiting belief in me that believes, "why should they tell you how they got successful, they don't know you"
For me I love having role models. I need them.
They are usually famous, are absolutely brilliant at what they do and are married to the love of their lives and have happy healthy children.
Its important for me to know it exists, bc so many successful women dont have the personal life I desire, so I seek out the ones who do, to remind myself I can have it all. To my surprise they are usually the ones who's work I most admire. for example Sofia Coppola, Stella Mccartney, Bjork.
I have crossed paths with 2 of them... :)
And some people inspire me in a certain aspect, such as relationship role models, artist role models etc...
In general I allow myself to be inspired by people I know of, some in my life some online and some celebs
The challenge of course is who you pick for your role models and what attributes of theirs you choose to model. Celebrities, including politicians and athletes tend to be pretty lousy role models. Having a role model doesn't imply worship, idolatry or mindless imitation. It does include, I think, respect, and possibly even reverence for the person. As long as your eyes are open.
I think you do subconsciously improve just by being around people you want to be like. It is a very common notion that to be successful, it is best to hang around other successful people. I think you can substitute 'happy', 'smart' or whatever in that concept and it still works. This forum is a great example of that. Think of the English phrase "it rubs off on you."
So how do you benefit from your friend in a practical sense? Well, become a scientist. If he can't vocalize what makes him charming, then study him while you are around him, as he interacts with others. I don't mean be obnoxious, but studiously observant. Ask people who seem to be charmed by him for insight. Break down all the characteristics and actions. Look for the subtlety that makes up charm. Try to emulate (NOT imitate!) some of these and see what works. How you become charming might be slightly different than how it works for him.
Role models are just that: models. They really don't come with instruction manuals, you have to figure it out yourself.
Oh, one other thought, if you are involved in the life of children, and especially if you are their parent, you ARE a role model, like it or not.
Role models, to my mind, give you a visual reference point to a particular ability. From there you extract whatever lessons you soak up and proceed forward while cultivating your own style that is unique to you. Apply the lessons learned.
We all have perfect imperfections; Bruce Lee said something to the effect of take what works and discard the rest, something along those lines.
Good points here. To me role models are at the top echelon of their craft, their success inspire and motivates. Mentors, in contrast, are at the "next level" of where I want to be. They provide the nuts-an-bolts how-to for achieving that next level. Both are very useful.
For example, if I was an novice lead singer in a band just starting out I'd use international rock stars like Bono and Dave Matthews to inspire me to practice, but I wouldn't study their concert DVDs or pour over their autobiographies. Instead I'd seek out advice from singers in bands that had made an album and were playing in bars and clubs around town, the next level for me. Steve has great examples on how to do this.
And yes, there is a danger of building an idealized image of a role model when you don't really know them. One of my male role models, a man I strove to emulate, turned out to be a woman. Loooonng story.
In my experience, role models work extremely well.
Steve is a good role model to me because he shows that one can be unconventional and also successful. Around me there were successful yet conventional people like my sister and unconventional yet unsuccessful people like my exboyfriend.
I have a lineup of feminist role models. Susie Bright is a role model because has already passed menopause and she's overweight but she is a proud slut feminist and erotica writer. She also has a daughter and they seem to have a good sisterly relationship which I would like if I have a daughter. Betty Dodson is 75 and overweight. My poor grandmother is the same age and does nothing all day, not even watch TV. Betty Dodson has her own website and even has a boyfriend. They give me hope that there is life after looks fade and that weight isn't that serious.
I would still say though that you should try not to mimic role models and that you should still be your own leader.
Both "celebrity" role models and "people around you" works for me. They all have their positives and negatives and try to learn from them.
People around me are those that I know personally, which I can learn a lot from and seek advice.
Celebrity models on the other hand, have attained a certain level of success that most people around us have not and you should find something they have done correctly than can help you in your journey.
I see myself using both to help me become more successful.
This is a very interesting topic. I'll tell you that I like to study successful people a lot. I didn't pay too much attention to it consciously for a long time, but recently I've realized how much I love to read about successful people.
My role models are strength&conditioning coaches/fitness trainers, because that is the field I am in, that is who I want to become. I have become Facebook friends with a lot of coaches, read their articles and books.
What have I gained from having them as my role models? Methods of how they train their athletes/clients, how they spend their time, how they write, how they communicate with people, what projects they have going on. Strength&conditioning coaches aren't generally hugely famous, except perhaps the celebrity or TV trainers, so if I'm lucky I can even get one or two personal responses from them. One of my recent idols actually replied to my few questions until he finally told me that if I wanted to ask further questions, I'd have to pay his hourly fee of $250, because if he answered everyone's questions for free, he wouldn't have time for work.
I don't think that anyone is inherently destined to be someone. I believe that everyone's personality is actually the result of its contacts. Since I know that I can develop my personality and life, I want to do it by surrounding myself with great people. Obviously I won't be able to talk to very famous people personally, but I can still get a piece of their mindset through videos, books, and podcasts. Obviously, the best is to be able to talk to people you admire personally.
In a nutshell, things that I try to copy from my role models:
- System for training
- Desire for becoming the best at what they do/continuous education
- Passion for helping people
Bruce Lee was the role model who changed my life when I was about 11 years old. And yes, even though he is no longer with us and I am have surpassed him in terms of years of life, he still inspires me even today. Of course role models sometimes have imperfections but after all, they are human too. This is one of the charms. It proves that as imperfect humans, we can still accomplish a lot. So for me, role models are still as important as ever and what you might find is that those who are very successful, still believe in the power of role models.
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