Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing. – Albert Schweitzer
Our initial learning is from imitating others particularly our parents, grandparents, neighbors, the au pair or nanny and those with whom we are in close contact. Obviously we end up learning both the good and the bad from these influencers since we are unable to distinguish good from bad at that stage. This method of learning continues to influence us deeply till our dying day although as we grow we can become selective in our learning. However the example set by others often tends to have an overwhelming influence on us and very often we unconsciously imbibe a lot of bad, negative and avoidable qualities, traits and mannerisms from others. The best example is our use of profanity when irritated, annoyed, angry or furious. Our accent too is a good example of how we get unconsciously influenced by those around us.
While logic, understanding, rational and reason have a major bearing on how we shape up in life, we have always underestimated the power of examples of others in shaping us. The rituals we follow at home have a major bearing on how we imitate the same as we grow up and then set an example for others. From the time we rise up each morning, to the chores we perform and even the subtle mannerisms, attitude and behavior are often molded by the examples set by those who are key influencers in one’s life. Teachers for example have a very very important role to play as role models and prima donnas of good example. Those teachers who demand the best, often get the best from their students. Those who lack that charisma and self will, end up having a set of mediocre students to battle with. While the strict teacher might not be very popular when one is in school, with maturity and the advantage of hindsight, one would easily realize that those teachers who were strict but not whimsical or biased gave you the strength, the motivation and the self belief to excel.
While a role model would have a strong influence on helping us set standards, the choice of the wrong role model could critically hamper us and even negatively influence us. Thus many youngsters are mistakenly drawn to the antisocial and undesirable mannerisms and communication of those role models who seem to be larger than life simply because they are anti establishment or rebellious. The hippy culture of the 70’s and similar fashion trends that tend to be gross and the trend to splurge on brands promoted by our person role models, the abuse of drugs and promiscuity are but the tip of the iceberg. Selective idolization of role models is another dangerous problem. While everyone sees the success, the fame and the adulation enjoyed by our role models very few of us pay attention to the tremendous effort, hard work and sacrifices they make to reach the top of their profession. We tend to follow only the example that is suitable to us and conveniently ignore the tougher part. The net result is that we end up frustrated and disheartened by the lack of success.
The best way to improve ourselves is by the realization that each of us has both a responsibility and an obligation to be aware of our own power to influence those around us. We would then consciously attempt to change and put forward our own best efforts and suddenly we would notice that everything and everyone around us seems to be very close to the ideal we would have visualized. Both, us who set the example and the others who imitate our example would then be doing the perfect tango in sync and with grace.
Remember: “A good example has twice the value of good advice”
- Can you identify 3 bad habits/ mannerisms / qualities in you that you would like to change. Do you think you imbibed it because of the influence of those around you?
- Identify the 3 good habits/ mannerisms/ qualities that you imbibed/ developed because of the influence of someone around you. Name the person who was responsible for it and if possible thank them too.
- Make a list of one role model each for the following and the one quality that you would like to imitate.
- A sportsperson
- A politician
- A businessman/ business woman
- A teacher
- A social crusader/ social activist
Ps. As I am out of station till Sunday 6th Feb’11 the blog will be resumed from Monday 7th Feb’11
This post is courtesy www.actspot.com
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