Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Following the Ideal versus Being Yourself, Hump Day Hmm

Today's Hump Day asks us to examine how society shows us ideals to emulate. At least, that's my take on the subject. My response is somewhat inspired by Melissa's post from yesterday, which discussed how early we are taught to imitate and emulate the ideal.

Many people find success by following the path set forth by others. Columbus followed the Chinese, others followed him. Nike ran an entire ad campaign encouraging kids to "be like Mike" meaning the great Michael Jordan. Most movies in Hollywood today seem to follow a formula that works with audiences: main character established, character struggles, character triumphs. Quite a few are so similar as to be near carbon-copies of a previous blockbuster. Many times the corporate vice presidents under a president or CEO have similar values and qualities to that president or CEO. Imitation certainly can produce positive results.

The truly successful, though, are very often the trailblazers. Michael Dell dropped out of college to build computers for a living, even though his father thought it was a ridiculous way to make a living. Bill Gates left Harvard to start Microsoft. Numerous other men and women I have known over the years cut their own path to the top of their field. Each possesses an inner drive, a willingness to color outside the lines and march to the beat of a different drummer. Some of these are imitated with mixed results. They are often studied so their success can be reformulated. Sometimes their success is even improved upon. In the end, though, I find true success comes from a willingness to stand out, to do it "my way", and to learn from my own mistakes. Some day I want to do even better at blazing my own trail, instead of succeeding by following another.

-- Robert


le35 said...

I think that for some people, immitating is alright. It's OK for people to follow the mold. However, sometimes, people have to make a mold for other people to follow it. I think that true success comes when we choose the correct mold to follow. I can't be successful without Jesus' mold.

Julie Pippert said...

BRAVO. Great post, good take on it. Sometimes, you can take and improve upon a model, but sometimes you do need to forge a new path. I think we all ought to be open to both types of ideas, and value both---regardless of outcome (KWIM?). That's because I think too often outcome is how we gauge effort, and also because I feel sure that ALL of us during the course of our lives need to both follow in footsteps and also trailblaze. Bring on the wisdom to know when, eh. :)

Robert said...

I agree, Ellie, that we need to follow Jesus's mold. We just may need to follow him in a way that's not how others do it. I completely agree that we need to find what works best for us.

Julie, people definitely need to do some of both in life (except for the odd hermit, I suppose) to find success. Effort does not always equal results, you are right there, too. And if I figure out when to follow which, it probably won't be before I'm transfigured. :)

Melissa said...

I wish I had something other to say than "good post, I agree with it". But sadly, that is not the case today. But is a good post and I wanted to acknowledge it. :)

Robert said...

Hopefully that doesn't mean you don't agree with the post... thanks for the comment, all the same.

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