Why do we tend to look up to other people as inspiration for how to live our lives? The brain gravitates towards the path of least resistance and most efficiency in any given context. One such strategy is by creating archetypes, or model and associations, of people from history or in the present. This is a shortcut way to learn from others’ successes and mistakes without having to go through the trouble of trying to experience everything (we just don’t have enough time and energy to have firsthand knowledge of every human condition possible). We do this by living vicariously through others and drawing our own conclusions or by deconstructing how they live/lived and incorporating elements into our own lives.
Because the brain can only hold onto so much information, we try to capture the essence of who we are as well as that of others through the consistent patterns of their words and actions over a period of time. That impression is what we often consider “character”. So, when we feel inspired towards personal growth, we gravitate towards those individuals who represent those character traits that we are aspiring to.
Thoughts for the Week
Although having a positive role model can be the catalyst we need for personal development, it is important to stay in touch with ourselves. Remember putting anyone on too much of pedestal can be a set up for disappointment and doubt in the human condition because everybody has flaws and makes mistakes. If we learn to accept the contradictory nature of humans, almost everybody has something of value to teach us.