The predilection to imitate our heroes starts very young … in the make believe games and the fancy dress costumes; the following around of older siblings and insistence on being allowed to do everything they do. As we grow, we transfer the adulation to other “heroes” – that favorite teacher, the senior who seems to have it all put together, the kid in class who excels at everything. We learn to expand our vision beyond super heroes in comic books and people in our lives, to the real-life heroes we study of and read about.
Adolescence hits us and our heroes change yet again… we find our heroes in celebrities on the world stage, and on celluloid – all who fire our dreams and the idealism that special age encompasses. And still we imitate – hair styles, clothes, mannerisms,…
Things move and change yet again – we are suddenly grown up. We know more about the reality of life – we get a bit more worldly wise, a little bit jaded, a bit less quick in giving our admiration and approval. But we never outgrow the need to have heroes… By now we are able to differentiate between the heroes we are destined to watch from afar … the famous people who are distanced from us by many degrees of separation; and the heroes who are within the ambit of our own life.
It is this second category that we are especially fascinated by … a leader, a boss, a colleague, a relative, a friend, an acquaintance… people we admire – are in awe of; people we are able to observe at closer quarters; people and achievements that seem “touchable”, “attainable”, yet just out of reach.
We want to be like them. We want to be what they are, get what they have. And the easiest, quickest, most tempting way to do it is the same thing we did as kids – find a hero and then replicate, imitate (the sincerest form of flattery !), try to walk a similar path to that success.
And that is where the stroll down the wrong path begins !
We strive to replicate a result … and overlook that the result encompasses within it the person too. What makes it work for him isn’t only the style, mannerisms, or some process steps – what makes it work cannot ever be exactly captured, taught or articulated. It is the things that makes him “him” – the intrinsic core of him – that makes the difference. We cannot copy what we can’t see or capture – can never fully be another person. And so our version will always be incomplete, fated to never match up to the one we are imitating – a fake.
We can learn from our heroes – and there may be much to wonder at and learn !
But only your hero can play it just that way…
You have to make your own music. Write your own unique story. Like yourself. Believe in yourself. Be yourself.
For that’s where the magic is !