Life Is An Exam
Have you ever cheated on a test? What about an exam? I remember cheating on a French test once which garnered me a first place in the class, for the first time ever! I was about 9 years old at the time. But even then it was a hollow victory. Even at that early age I had a moral compass. My goal was that I wanted to do well but my integrity meant that even though I’d succeeded in doing well, I hadn’t done well by my own merits. I never cheated again. I worked hard to succeed, but sadly at school I was bullied for being “a swot”, “a bookworm”, “a teacher’s pet” and that was before I even discovered my sexuality! I associated hard work with pain. I associated doing well with being beaten up. This stayed with me for a long, long time. But this sob story isn’t what this blog is about!
Be A First Rate Version Of Yourself
As with cheating on a test or exam, you must treat life as an exam. (This isn’t an analogy about being tested all the time!) Don’t copy someone else, their paper is different. What works for them may not be the right answer for you. A lot of us have done it, especially in our informative years; we’ve all copied the cool kid in school. Copied our friend’s clothing. Listened to their music. I remember a youth being asked why they were dressing like everyone else. They replied “To assert my individuality.” The truth is that whenever I did try to copy someone else it failed miserably. I went against the norm and fashion to wear what I wanted to wear. I still do and I still get comments (dripping with negativity) about my choices…like it’s got anything to do with anyone else!
Liza Minelli was struggling to live up to everyone’s expectations of her - given her famous mother, Judy Garland. “How am I going to be like you mummy?” “You’re not. Be yourself.” Then came one of the bet pieces of advice I’ve ever read… “It’s better to be a first rate version of yourself, than to be a second rate version of someone else.” The trouble is though, that many of us don’t know who we are. We don’t know where we fit into society. I certainly have had that issue always being the odd one out. The quirky one. The eccentric one. The weirdo! Sometimes, more cruelly, the freak! I have now reached the stage however, where I don’t give a tinkers cuss what people think of me. It’s what I think of me that counts! I think I am a good person. I think I’m a kind person. I think I’m a loving person. I think I’m an honest person. And so on. If people agree with me about my self-assessment that’s great. But I’m not going to lose too much sleep if they don’t.
There is a concept in Life Coaching and NLP that’s called MODELLING. This isn’t where you go strutting down a catwalk with a sea of camera flashes disorienting you. Modelling is a process of finding out the behaviours and representations that allows a person to accomplish a task. In other words, you copy them. You copy their behaviours, their attitudes, their persona, their physiology…and so on. The trouble with this of course is that because everyone is different you won’t produce the exact same results. The advantage though, is that by modelling the person, you stand more chance of succeeding because they’ve proven that what they do works. Once you’ve got the basics down you can then modify what you’re doing to better suit your personality.
The questions you need to ask yourself though are why do you want to model this person? Is there anything about the person you don’t like? Is there anything they’ve done that doesn’t sit well with your moral compass? It may be that you need to find a better model. If your goal is to become a multi-billionaire just so you can have an extravagant lifestyle and you have self-branded things all over the place and you’re totally driven by ego, then model Donald Trump. If your goal is to become a multi-billionaire so you can help make the world a better place and contributing to its wellbeing, while still enjoying a fantastic life style, maybe Bill Gates is your man! [There are, I’m sure, good points and bad points about both men]
Make It You
Looking to others for inspiration is a great thing to do. But just copying what they do verbatim isn’t going to be 100% efficient for you. Why? Because you’re you, they’re them! It’s like putting on a show and directing it by YouTube. In other words, just watching videos of the show you’re putting on and copying elements of every thing you’ve seen. While it may work on some level, doing stuff like that is all about creativity. Take the idea but work it to make it your own. I aspire to be like Tony Robbins - but I’m not Tony Robbins. I’m me! He can inspire me with the way he does things and the things he says…but I cannot, will not and should not try to do things *his* way. I don’t want to be a second rate Tony Robbins. I want to be a first rate me.
There are no original ideas. Everything has already been done. How do you make it unique then? You make it you! You are unique. You are the only one on the planet that’s you. You are your own unique selling point. So whatever you decide to do, be you. Research things. Look at how people do things. Look at what works for them and of course try it. But make it you. Make it unique to you. Don’t copy it…vary it. Make it work for you. Listen to your market research, but always remember that you must be authentic in what you’re offering or doing…but you can’t reinvent the wheel! If it’s a product you’re selling, don’t just copy the sales script….make it you! People buy into a story more than a product anyway! They see the story of the product and can picture themselves in that situation thanks to the product.