Who is your Role Model?

So it’s 2015 (how did that happen!?).

It’s great to see how everyone has big dreams for this year. I am seeing all the new year’s resolutions all over social media. All the self promises, desires, things we want to change. Things we want to accomplish. I am doing it too!

Then every now and again you see that person in whatever field and you think wow. They’re living it.

Take a moment just to think if you could aspire to live a life like someone, who would that person be?

It doesn’t matter what field you are in but you may look up to someone that is important to you. An entrepreneur, a singer, a sports athlete, a humanitarian(!), a poet, or just someone who seems content with their life. A family man or woman.

But you may think, how did they achieve what they have to get to where they are today? And you may want to achieve that too. That’s not a bad thing.

To change bad habits we must first study the habits of successful role models.

The key point here is the habits. This will make more sense as I share my story.

We may aspire to do what they do, to be ‘like’ them. We feel inspired. They become somewhat our role models.

It took me a long time until I was in my 20’s to realise just how mis-understood and dangerous this could be.

How do you select who your role model is?

When I was 17, there is a lot of pressure to decide what you want to do in your life. As you write University applications, they ask what do you want to major in? Which is pretty much a way of saying, sooooo…what do you want to do for the rest of your life?

At that time, my uncle who is a close relative frequently visited us from America. He had gone to study in Texas. He ended up being a an energy trader at Enron and worked his way up (I should point out, he was one of the ‘good’ traders). After Enron’s demise he worked in a hedge fund. I remember at 19 I googled his name and many articles came up saying how he is a rising star, interviews with big newspapers and trading magazines. Dinner with the President. He was still in his early 30’s and I was very impressed. He was very well respected. But he was still very humble.

To me he was my role model. His life as a trader seemed amazing. But I never asked myself why he was my role model. No one ever questioned me either. It was obvious. I wanted that life.

So I worked hard and achieved top grades. I set my route to be a trader. I applied to the top investment banks to get in to a trading type role. As I researched for interviews I had no real interest in equity or bond trading patterns. It didn’t excite me. But I wanted the life of my role model. The people I met didn’t make me feel comfortable. I felt like I was forcing this dream. My heart was never in it and naturally I did not get a role in Trading. I had failed.

I realised I was trying to live my uncle’s life. I was trying to follow his journey. His life. His opportunities. I was trying to recreate them. But I wasn’t him. I was me. I had my own journey. I had my own adventures in this life that I was meant to go on…

Having a role model is good for inspiration. But not aspiration to have a life like them.

A true role model will teach you to have love and respect for yourself. To ensure that you achieve what you have been created for.

I am not a role model. Just because I dunk a basketball does not mean I should raise your kids – Charles Barkley. 

Additionally, no one role model, even for inspiration, will be able to give you all the aspects that make you and your life. You can have the same career as someone else, sure, but you are made up of so much more.

People will not remember what you try and teach them. But they will remember who you are as a person.

I am my own role model. Was the conclusion that I reached.

I realised it is good to look at the habits of role models but not to get confused with trying to recreate their life. Happiness will only come when you break down expectations of living a life like someone else. Create your own path.

Achieve the things that you value. Things that make you comfortable. That excite you!

Make many mistakes along the way. That’s what a really inspirational role model does.

Starting today, realise that you are your own role model. When you realise this….sky’s the limit.

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11 thoughts on “Who is your Role Model?”

  1. I have sometimes thought to myself, ‘what would it be like to be someone else?’ Now, I don’t necessary mean someone in particular but, as a young woman, I have felt being a male just simply seems easier somehow. However, after reading this I couldnt agree more. I am my own role model, yes, but it’s definitely easier to ‘aspire’ to be someone else rather than take control of my own life and accept who I am. This post was definitely food for thought.. I have a question; if you are your own role model, first do you not need to know where you want to be in life? How can we figure out our own aspirations? How can I take control of my own life and ‘take action’, motivation is hard enough to find on a good day so, on a bad day, how is it possible for me to be my own role model when I sometimes don’t even have motivation to wake up in the morning?

    1. First you have to ask yourself, what is it that I want to achieve in this life? Sounds hard? Read my post on ‘Do you know what your passion is?’, which may provide some guidance.

      The ‘need to know’ is sometimes paradoxically the problem in itself. What are you trying to know? Where you want to be in life?

      Where would you like to be in life?
      But then what about money, mortgage, debts, family. All these concerns very quickly consume us. Think about what gives you strength. What makes you genuinely happy. Then start from there.

      How to motivate yourself on a bad day? Research has shown for human beings the greatest happiness comes from progress, not money. You know when you pick up a new musical instrument, and you play it really badly with no coordination or rhythm. Then one day, with enough practice it sounds amazing. At that moment, when you’re playing you feel very happy. This analogy can be applied to anything.

      So on a bad day, think about the progress. Or in the case of staying in bed…the lack of it.

    1. I completely agree there facets of personalities that we will adopt from others. Some out of choice because we are inspired by the dedication, openness, creativity, intelligence, selflessness etc of someone. But there are other aspects that just rub off on us.

      If you haven’t already, read my post on ‘Good people, bring out the good in people ‘, which may provide some additional guidance.

  2. Role models are important. Whether we like it or not, we all have them.

    Medical research has actually shown that positive role models are very important, especially in households which have non-parental adult influences. If your role models aren’t your parents, then it helps to choose positive adults to look up to.

    The mechanics are simple. From a young age, we learn by emulation. We watch and copy. As children, we learn from adults. We are inspired by them.

    Young adults who have positive role models in their lives are known to suffer less from externalising and internalising behaviours. Positive role models therefore provide a basis for stability of mind for many young adults.

    I myself have struggled with role models as a teenager, hence I struggled with myself, but now as an adult I have lots. Most of them are spiritual teachers, past and present.

    Most of them I will never ever meet. But, their presence in my life is profound. In fact, I would not be able to imagine my life now without them.

    The truth is that we ourselves seek out our path. Those who follow negative role models, find that person for a reason. They are learning, as we are. They may realise it or they may not. But in truth, they are following whatever path they need to follow to reach a special destination.

    That destination is the point of self inquiry. Some of us reach that point quicker than others. Others go through hell to get there. Others may never get there.

    But, the journey for them will never stop. And for those that do get there, comes realisation.

    And then, they in turn become positive role models for others to follow. And the chain continues.

    We seek, we follow, we learn and we teach.

  3. Came across your blog first time and found your topic quite interesting. Got a question though, what exactly is a role model? Someone who only shows the glorified side of his/ her life? A celebrity? Someone who only appears on Google search? Can a normal person not be considered a role model i.e your parents? After all we get to see all the struggles they go through to bring up a better life for their children? I guess what I’m really trying to gather is – can you really consider someone your role model when you only catch snippets of their lives ( glorified days) or someone whom you’ve seen rise above all the struggles and is content with what ever they might just have. Does money and fame only define success?

    1. Money and fame seem to rule the world, but I totally agree with you. I believe as children, our role models are our parents and those who raise us. But as we get older (not everyone of course) we may start to become…’tainted’ by the world…grabbing at the falseness of it (money and fame) whilst forgetting the important things in life…
      Success is a subjective term. What is success for you may not be perceived as success by another. Is a poor content man who only earns just about enough to feed his family daily not successful? Success in essence …for me…is contentment. Being happy with what you have. It has nothing to do with how many bedrooms your house has or what kind of car you drive. Success in life is what we should strive for. This is very different to striving for success in the world.
      To finish off, a line from one of my favourite movie tunes ‘to one lost sheep, a shepherd boy is greater than the richest king’.

      Just felt like sharing my two cents.

  4. Role model. The very phrase suggests modelling your life after a particular role. I certainly agree with you, being in my twenties I had started to look for a role model. A life that I would like eventually. However I’ve realised that no life can be replicated…we are all individuals with our own thought processes, experiences and expectations!
    So right now…i’ve decided to enjoy life. Considering how I’ve always wanted my life to have the excitement of a Psychologist crossed with Steve Irwins awesomeness…perhaps I should just leave it to destiny to see what i’ll end up with!

    I quite like the ‘realness’ and reflectiveness visible in the article. Thanks for getting me to think about what I’m doing…!

  5. Hi, I think a role model for me would be someone that enjoys life and let’s others enjoy it around them aswell what I mean is someone that listens but doesn’t judge, gives you space when talking and doesn’t react instantly in anger but actually understands where you’re coming from overtime of knowing you and every time they speak it should lift you and not crush you emotionally.

  6. The comments were great to read as well as the article. “Role” suggests (to me) a way of “being” that is similar to another or others…. and raises the question why do you have that role model? What do you desire to have that, that individual has? Their looks? Their life style? Career success? Or the respect and power the recieve?

    It highlights the areas that we are lacking in and wish to grow and progress.

    I agree with you Prabhmeet that we should certainly be inspired by individuals and not wish to have their life.

    Ultimately our being is perfect in every sense as well as our lives… its just we fail to see it.

    Taran kaur…
    Thank you for reminding me that letting going is the best way.. “just leave it to destiny….”

    What if we were to be our own role models…
    Be inspired by the success and experiences we’ve already achieved/ been through and understand that we are all have untapped potential to become the brightest and greatest versions of ourselves…. and that there is no need to compare to another..

    Because your “being” is pretty much one of a kind!


  7. Whoops… just read the final part of the post; becoming our own role models.. totally agree and totally should have read the last three paragraphs before becoming overly excited and commenting with my insights.

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