“If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results.“ Tony Robbins
I remember the adulation of fans when the Beatles arrived for their first concert tour in the United States. Yes, I know . . . I am dating myself. Some would describe the behavior of those followers of the most famous English band of the century as being extremely devoted. Observation of the universal music landscape would reveal that fan worship still exists today. We love our music stars!
Fan adoration is not limited to popular singers whose music has gone Platinum. Outstanding athletes and actors also have dedicated devotees. Do you follow anyone special in the world of sports or entertainment?
How many of us will ever change our lives because of the adoration we have for famous individuals? Unless we, too, have a bankable singing voice or special sports ability, we probably are not going to alter our lives because of the well-known people we admire. We enjoy stage performances and prowess on the playing field, as well as respect the success of those who have achieved stardom. But, we will not end up copying what they do.
And yet, copying is an important successful principle. If our ambition is not to mirror such famous achievers, whom should we copy? And, what aspect of these individuals should we emulate?
Observing the behavior of others has been a beneficial life-long practice for me. Beyond notoriety and wealth, what results do we most admire? How are lives enhanced? What relationships are positively impacted? What actions should we imitate?
Epictetus, one of the greatest Greek Stoic philosophers said:
“One of the best ways to elevate your character immediately is to find worthy role models to emulate . . . Invoke the characteristics of the people you admire most and adopt their manners, speech, and behavior as your own. There is nothing false in this. We all carry the seeds of greatness within us, but we need an image as a point of focus in order that they may sprout.” The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness by Epictetus, as interpreted by Sharon Lebell.
Worthy is the descriptive word that is important in the instructive wisdom of Epictetus. Those whom we select to imitate should demonstrate that they possess the characteristics we most want to duplicate in our own lives. This distinction will likely broaden our direction from following just the famous to other accomplished, deserving and noble people.
Epictetus also points out a great truth that is often ignored or misunderstood, and that is we all carry the seeds of greatness within us. Some of us, including me, believe this is part of the design of a loving Creator. We have our gifts – immersed within us from the beginning. It may take time to be wholly aware and embrace our own internal strengths. For some, it may be a life-long journey. We are reminded by Dag Hammarskjold that “the longest journey is the journey inward.” T.S. Eliot wrote, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all of our exploring will be to arrive where we first started and know the place for the first time.”
You are designed with the seeds of greatness!
What you do with your potential is up to you . . . the possibilities are already within you. Discovery is the first realization. Action is the next step. Epictetus continues with his wisdom:
“Think about it: What is really your own? The use you make of the ideas, resources, and opportunities that come your way. Do you have books? Read them. Learn from them. Apply their wisdom. Do you have specialized knowledge? Put it to its full and good use. Do you have tools? Get them out and build or repair things with them. Do you have a good idea? Follow up and follow through on it. Make the most of what you’ve got, what is actually yours.”
Success is being and becoming the best at what I am meant to be and do in life.
Part of what I want to become is already residing in me. Part of what I want to emulate in others currently exists in me. The person I most want to become is now a seed of greatness within me.
What person in my life is currently the type of person whom I most want to become?
Who represents what I have always been meant to accomplish?
What ideas, resources and opportunities belong to me?
How can I utilize what belongs to me to become the person I have always wanted to become?
Who should I copy? What characteristics should I imitate?
Today, I will . . .