Who do you imitate, and is it beneficial to you? A few years ago, I might have said that imitating others was always a bad thing. In some ways, I still believe that we need to be careful how and who we imitate. It is not good if we imitate others and lose our identity in the process.
On the other hand, if we are imitating someone because they have great habits or skills we need for our own success, then we can follow their example until we have successfully put those habits or skills into practice. This is not the kind of imitation where you become the other person. It is simply watching and growing from other people who are where you want to be.
There are different kinds of people that we imitate through our lives. First, we listen to those who we don’t know and don’t have any type of relationship. They are people that we see on television or in magazines. This is especially a big trap for young people. We have people who we idolize as we are growing up, but we really do not know them and have no clue whether they have a great or messed up life. They may or may not have the actual habits or skills that we need. It is important to look at the person’s life off the screen or out of the magazine.
There are times that we imitate people who we may know, but we really don’t have a relationship with them. They may be acquaintances that we see outside, but we really don’t know them. These people put on makeup and their best clothes. They walk around like they are perfect (some of them). If people saw past their fancy clothes and perfect makeup, they may see someone very different.
Sometimes, we imitate people who we know and may have a relationship with, but they are not successful. Maybe they seem up at coming, have a lot of money due to family, or they have a possession we really want. This is a big trap that adults fall into just as much as children. We try to keep up with the Jones, but the Jones may not have the habits or skills we need in our lives. We waste time following after people who really are not doing what we aspire to in our own lives.
Other times, we imitate people who we do know and we may not have a relationship with them, but they are successful. If we don’t know them, but, they seem successful, we need to make sure the habits and skills they possess are real. If we try them or find out through a media or personal source that these habits or skills do work, then it is perfectly fine to imitate these types of people. Again, as long as you keep your identity and imitate these habits or skills to further your unique goals.
Finally, there are people we imitate who we do know and have a relationship with them, and they are extremely successful. These are the ideal people to imitate. Like the others above, you still need to work on your life, but, if they have these habits and skills that you can learn from, then it will benefit you to watch and grow from their success. This is why it is so important to build relationships with people who are more successful than you. In Jack Canfield’s book Success Principles (2015), he makes a great statement that you need to hang around with successful people to become successful (the link to the book will be down below).
This week, look in your life to see if you are imitating anyone. Ask yourself the following questions: Who am I imitating? How do I know this person? What evidence do I have that they are successful? What do I gain by imitating their habits or skills? What could I lose by imitating their habits or skills? Why do I want to imitate this person?
Truthfully answer these questions. If you realize you are following and imitating the wrong people, you need to immediately stop and find successful people you can trust to imitate. Remember that we imitate a habit or skill until we can learn and implement it for ourselves.
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