You see a person, you admire what they’ve accomplished, you look up to them and think “I wish I could speak as well as them, I wish I had their physique, I wish I knew how to command a room like them.” I’ve come to realize that when I admire traits in people, it is because I wish to possess those same qualities. Of course, I want to have a better command of any room I’m in, it goes without saying I want to speak more eloquently.
Then there are qualities you see in people and can’t help but be bothered by. Maybe it’s the way someone chews food with their mouth open. Perhaps it’s the way they always interrupt someone’s story to share their own experience and make the conversation about them. I find that the things I dislike in others are things I either want to make sure I never possess or, of a more concerning nature, they happen to be things that I dislike about myself.
I posed a question to a group of friends and was greeted with more or less, exactly what I was expecting. Like most things, the question was simple in concept but difficult to truly digest. “Are you someone you would respect?” With no direction as to what I meant, the introspective responses came from several places. Some people decided they needed to work harder, others felt they were good people and respected themselves and hoped others would as well. Others reflected on the internal work they had done on themselves and were very proud of that; truly something to respect.
So I pose the same question to you. If you were walking down the street and met yourself, would you respect that person? Do you possess the qualities of the people you look up to, or do you fall short?
If you aren’t sure how to become the person you’d respect there are some very simple steps you can take to start down the path. Make a list of three people from three different walks of life. These can be people you know personally or not. Pick a business person, an athlete, and a scholar (body, mind, and spirit if you will). From each of those, pick two or three character qualities you admire and add them to your person. Here are some qualities to help you in identifying who you may want to be.
The business person.
Look for the type of work ethic they have if you admire how they always get things done. I find that we as people are very interested in finding work-life balance but are also very interested in the spoils that belong to the maniac who comes in early and works late. While I’m not disregarding work-life balance, we have to seriously consider what sacrifices someone is willing to make to get what they want.
Consider how you feel after a conversation with this person. If this is something you admire focus on how they speak to people. Are they giving you advice, always asking questions, or maybe they don’t say much at all?
Is it the physique? It’s always the physique. People who look for excuses will tell you it’s genetic and that’s why this person has such a great body. If you admire someone’s physique find out how hard they work. How much are they willing to sacrifice to look the way they do?
Perhaps you’re left in awe of how this person can keep their calm during stressful situations. You want to be able to stare into the abyss and not blink when it stares back. Finding out how they approach their mental game will help you start to hold those qualities.
You’re in the middle of a debate and a person speaks up that’s been relatively quiet the whole interaction only to share some wisdom that leaves everyone thinking. You wish you could drop knowledge bombs like that. What you admire is that they’re able to detach from stressful situations, take a step back, absorb it all, and share a perspective that nobody thought of.
Maybe that person easily quotes literature or philosophy at just the right time without sounding pretentious and never comes off as a try-hard. You admire the time they’ve taken to read and understand important writings through time.
It’s whatever you want it to be.
Whatever the case may be, if you have someone you admire and want to be more like them, do it. Don’t just emulate them, but work to understand what you truly admire about the person. You might think it’s their physique but in reality, it’s their work ethic. You might admire their ability to quote philosophy but really, it’s their willingness to set time aside and read. You may admire the office someone is in or their position but the reality is, you admire their ability to sacrifice to get a reward later instead of now. Be ready to meet yourself, so when you do you sit back and think “damn, that’s a cool ass human being.”