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.