Admiration is a funny thing, or at least it always has been to me. People use it when speaking about someone romantically or when they’re stating their respect for someone else. For me, I use people I admire instead of my role models.
I have quite a few people I admire. Some people think it’s bizarre for adults to have people they look up to. After all, the secret we learn as we progress through life is that no one is perfect. Here’s the thing though: admiration is accepting the good traits. Having role models is accepting the good and bad traits. This is why, years ago, I stopped having role models.
There’s a lot of people I look up to. JK Rowling and Tamora Pierce are like royalty to me. Neil Gaiman and Gerard Way have the ability to make me think in new ways through their art. Hannah Brencher has such unapologetic passion that you can feel pure emotion flowing through her words. Amanda Palmer taught me that it’s okay to go against the grain of society.
All these people, and many more, mean so much to me. Do I, however, strive to be just like them? No. If I had the same position as them, would I make every choice just as they would? Absolutely not.
No one is so perfect that you should strive to be their carbon copy. As much as I love JK, I don’t want to be the carbon copy of her (though if I had to pick a person to be a copy of, she’d be it). I do, however, want to learn from her. I want to take her advice. I want to take the things I need to work on and apply some of the things I’ve learned from her. The same goes with others: Neil Gaiman, Gerard Way, Adam Young. I don’t want to be exactly like any of these amazing people, but I do want to be the best of all of them.
In his book Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kleon writes about having a genealogy of ideas, much like a familial genealogy, of ideas you allow into your life. Guess what? Personality, work ethic, and attitude work in the same way. You are a mixture of your influences.
The more average things you mix together, the prettier the overall picture. Instead of having one role model, one person you choose to take after–good and bad– take the best traits of everyone you admire and blend them together. Combine them with your own style & flair. Test out your new approach. Change it as needed.
Join me in letting go of role models and embracing admiration instead. Though they may seem like the same things, you’ll find that the differences just may be life changing.
That’s all I have for you today, guys. Hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday season!