As a kid, who did you hero-worship?
We all had childhood heroes.
For good or bad, they acted as role models in our lives. Just like our parents, the older kids at school, and people in our community.
They inspired us to new heights, and some were even immortalised on our walls.
We wanted to be just like them.
In fact, we became them. Kind of.
It’s estimated that 90-95% of human behaviour is learned through mimicking role models. Clearly then, the influence of a positive role-model is huge, especially growing up.
But as we grow older, we tend to grow out of having a role-model. Why?
We’re missing a trick here.
Fact is, role-models can help us achieve our wildest dreams.
“If they can do it, you can too.”
It’s human nature. We want to know if our dream is actually possible.
You can’t be what you can’t see. Marian Wright Edelman
You have a dream. You think it might be possible. Then you find someone who’s already achieved it. Now your dream becomes a goal. You know it is possible. If some mortal can do it, anyone can.
Find a role-model who has already achieved what you want. Take your goal from the realm of dreams and into the land of reality.
Say you want to build a multi-million dollar empire from nothing. Impossible? Read up on self-made millionaires like Lord Alan Sugar. – Definitely possible.
Maybe you want to be a tennis star. Impossible? Watch an Andy Murray documentary. If he can do it, why not you? – Definitely possible.
The power of this is huge.
Prior to 1954, no human being had ever run a mile under 4 minutes.
In fact, a sub-4 minute mile was considered a physical impossibility. It could and would never be achieved. Or so they thought…
6, May, 1954: some bloke in Oxford runs a mile in 3:59.4. Defying everyone, he was the first human to ever run the sub-4 minute mile.
Incredible, no? He must have been a freak of nature. It would take ages until another man could repeat the feat. Right?
Wrong. Roger Bannister’s record lasted only 46 days. 46 days. That’s nothing. And ever since his impressive achievement, the sub-4 minute mile has been ran thousands of times.
So what happened?
– Human nature.
When Roger Bannister ran the 4 minute mile, he proved to runners everywhere that it was possible. And if one man can do it, then any man can.
For mid-distance runners, the 4-minute mile was transformed from a ludicrous dream into an achievable goal.
Use this power for your own ends. For whatever goal you’re trying to achieve, find someone who’s been there and done it.
Make your dream an achievable goal.
Adopt their mind-set.
Like it or not, the world is how we believe it to be. Our mind-set determines our successes and our failures.
If you believe it’s a world of opportunities, then that’s what it is. If you believe it’s a world full of negativity, despair and hate, then that’s what it is.
What we believe is our reality.
Those who think they can and those who think they can’t are both usually right.
So what do our role-models believe? What mind-set made our dreams their reality?
What mind-set allowed them to succeed?
Let’s use a pro swimmer as an example. Michael Phelps, the greatest Olympian of all time.
How did he achieve his swimming success? He swam every single day, 80,000 metres a week. He added weight-lifting to his dry-land training, he smartened up his diet, he used visualisation, stretching…..
That’s how he did it. But what was his mind-set?
”If I want to be as successful as I want to be, I have to be thinking about it all the time.”
“I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and you put the work and time into it. I think your mind really controls everything.”
“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” Michael Phelps
These quotes don’t explain how he became successful. They reveal his mind’s inner-workings. This is the mind-set that propelled him through training and made him the swimming god that he is today.
So, look at your role model.
For now, forget what they did. Instead, ask yourself “What’s their mind-set?” Then change your own.
Adopt the mind-set of a champion, and a champion you will become.
Learn what it takes.
After you’ve adopted the mind-set of your role-model, then it’s time to learn how they did it.
Returning to Michael Phelps, he truly separated himself from the pack by following a diet that fuelled him perfectly for his workouts, mentally rehearsing disaster-scenarios, like goggles coming off mid-race, and putting in brutal workouts with weighted sleds. And of course, loads more.
These are things that you can implement into your training schedule.
Also, learn the sacrifices your role model made to get where they are today. What did they give up? Are you willing to do the same?
Finally, look at their habits. Many great minds woke up at sun-rise, kept a journal, followed a demanding physical schedule and read many books.
Try doing the same. If it worked for them, it’ll probably work for you too.
Learn from their failures.
Failure is one of the greatest teachers we have. Learning from our failures is key to becoming stronger.
But in addition to learning from our own failures, learn from you role model’s too. “Where did they trip-up?” “What didn’t work out for them?”
Then you’re pre-warned of some of the pot-holes along the road.
You subconsciously become your Role model
Again, 90-95% of our behaviour is learnt through modelling. A lot of this happens we’re growing up. But your brain is still pliable.
When you make someone your role model, you start taking on their strengths, their determination and their character traits.
If you admire successful people, you create a positive force field of attraction that draws you toward becoming more and more like the kinds of people that you want to be like. Brian Tracy
For example, if you admire your role model for their work ethic, you’ll find yourself developing a stronger work ethic. The same goes for anything; confidence, positive attitude, charm…
Say your a new worker in a sales team. If you’re boss flaunts how he’s made a killer profit from taking advantage of someone, then your subconscious tells you that it’s OK to treat people like shit and cut corners to get ahead.
On the other hand, if your boss is ethical, and values honesty and trust above all, chances are you’ll come to adopt the same attitude, becoming a more honest and trustworthy person yourself.
Of course, it depends on how strong your existing beliefs are. If you adamantly believe that ethical sales are the way to do things, then perhaps your back-stabbing boss won’t have as much of an effect on your own mind-set.
Here’s an exercise you can use to make the most of role models;
- Determine what your goal is. Write it down.
- Find someone who has already achieved it. There’s your role model.
- Find out everything about them. Read autobiographies, watch documentaries etc…
- Learn and adopt their mind-set.
- Adopt their routines and habits.
- See what happens!
I know that I’m definitely going to dig deeper into the mind-sets of my role models, and use their experiences to switch up my habits and routines.
Here’s one more idea you could use:
Famous author Napoleon Hill used his role-models and mentors as “invisible counsellors”. Every night before he went to bed, he’d imagine sitting round a round table with all the people he admired the most. He’d discuss ideas with them and ask them for advice.
It worked out pretty well for him. Maybe for you too.
Definitely something to try out!
So how do you use your role-models? What have you learnt? Leave a comment below :)
The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg, published by Doubleday Canada.