We, as humans, learn through observation. Especially for young kids, this is their main source of knowledge on how to navigate the world. It's by no surprise why the parents are the most influential role models for every child. To put it differently, having a role model is a critical part of the child's development. Good or bad, it does not matter. The role model's presence is shaping the worldview of the child. It builds the foundation on how he or she is to live their life.
At the very beginning of our lives, we pretty much don't have a say in choosing the role model for us. We don't pick our parents, thus we select our first role models. As we are growing older, this changes and we have the ability to pick a new role model. This is where the "fun" starts as it is up to us to do the due diligence and be careful whos example to follow.
The biggest problem lies in picking a role model for a specific area of your life and then following their example into others.
Here is a personal example to draw a better picture for you.
One of my role models in life is Jocko Willink. An ex navy seal now famous for his leadership training and incredible discipline.
A person with straightforward (that doesn't mean simple) way of approaching life. Discipline equals freedom. That's true for every aspect of one's life according to Jocko.
If I feel down at work, I remind myself what Jocko's advice would be - do it, get the job done.
If I feel unmotivated to work out - again, I know that his advice would be to do it anyway.
Jocko Willink is a guy who gets up at 4.30am, workouts out every day and runs multiple successful businesses.
It is logical for me to adopt his world view in every aspect of life, doesn't it? He is an absolute beast in the two areas of life where I would like to see improvement for myself. What about other aspects of life - family, friends, etc. ? Because he is great at something, it doesn't mean he is great at everything. For example
- a great businessman, can be a bad parent.
- an incredible athlete, can be a bad trainer.
- a person with a lot of acquaintances, can have no friends.
The list can go on and on. You get the point. Be careful and mindful when picking up your role models. Look at your role models only for the areas you are trying to improve and they have proven to be great at.
To wrap this up, here is a quote by Jocko Willink from his book (Discipline Equals Freedom - Field Manual) I like a lot.
“People, even those people you have put up on a pedestal, are going to be faulted, weak, egomaniacal, condescending. They are going to be lazy, entitled, short sighted. They will not be perfect. Far from it.”
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