04 Jul 2015 19:28 IST

The importance of a good role model

Being inspired by a person you respect can help you progress in the right direction

Emulation begins very naturally, right from infancy, when a baby mimics the parent in speech and behaviour. To the infant, the adult is the template on which it models itself, and later the hero, and therefore copying the adult lends conviction and the credibility to its own behaviour. For the little child, this is acceptable, even celebrated behaviour.

We all grow up with super-heroes who are timeless and an all-encompassing influence on children. From Phantom to Iron Man, youngsters and even grown-ups like to traverse the fantasy world. The attraction is initially based on costumes and action but the deeper intelligence, confidence and strength behind these characters are the more important traits to acquire.

Role models

Brand ambassadors are usually celebrities as people love to buy what their favourite heroes use. You are, however, unlikely to use the same brand your favourite professor buys, for the professor is not popular for the branded shirt he wears but for the depth and proficiency he displays in his subject.

We grow up looking for role models to style ourselves on. Some time ago, I happened to watch an interview of a girl from a remote village who topped the civil services examination. She said she realised the only way to evolve in terms of competencies is to observe and emulate people. She would look for exceptional qualities and make a note to internalise and cultivate similar behaviour.

Blend of influences

While such a structured approach to copying is not feasible for all, it will do good to observe and discern good qualities that are worthy of emulation. The instinct is to idealise and imitate, most often, the superficial physical image; what is more sustaining and immensely useful is to look for excellent attributes to imbibe.

Student life is a blend of influences from books, comics, movies, media, politicians and, due to proximity and interaction, peers and academicians. Role models influence academic and career choices and these choices are often indirect.

Emulation, or learning through observation, goes beyond mere imitation. After all, people cannot improve themselves if they do not have a standard to look up to or an example to follow. It is good to analyse what exceptional qualities these role models possess that make them stand out.

The qualities could range from a strong and dynamic personality, good leadership skills, excellent communication and the ability to work successfully with people.

Characteristics such as simplicity, humaneness, sensitivity, positive attitude and patience are things we can learn from people who, by virtue of these, have become successful. These people, who may come from different walks of life, have the ability to motivate others to accomplish significant things in their professional as well as personal lives.

Be inspired

While it is not advisable to blindly follow your role model, it helps to pick out the traits that have made you respect the person and cultivate the same.

Ultimately, a role model can boost your confidence. And the probability that one day you can become like your hero offers an exciting prospect which will, in turn, motivate you to excel in your pursuits. Such stimulation and encouragement needs to be properly channelled for best and positive outcomes.

Look for inspiration in your role model, cull out traits that you would like to imbibe but choose your career and lead your life in such a way that, one day, you will yourself be a role model for the next generation.

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