Role Models Are Bad For You

It is important to admire and respect people. And humility is key. But raising someone on a pedestal creates a psychological distance between you, the person and the qualities you admire. You might not be getting smaller by making someone larger than life, but the proportion still applies. You are only making it more difficult for yourself to be the greatest person you can be.

Perceive individuals you respect and admire as human, as equals. Only then can you be that much closer to fitting in their proverbial shoes – and tailoring shoes of your own.

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The Difference Between Liking and Respecting

I consider very few people “worthless.” Almost everyone has a redeeming quality. Many less-sociable acquaintances are quick to judge others and shut the door. I don’t think that’s fair or reasonable. No, I’m not saying you need to be friends with everyone. Hell no. But don’t throw out fools just because you can’t appreciate foreign personalities.

I make a casual mental effort to divide people into two groups:

People I like.

People I respect.

The “likes” tend to carry genuine personalities I can connect with. These individuals become friends.  The “respects” have notable skills or chapters of knowledge I admire. These individuals find a place in the business rolodex.

Most people I meet fall into one category or another. I respect a large number of professionals, but never plan to break bread with them. They sit on my contacts list anyway.

The true keepers fall into both lists. These are the people with whom you build projects, share ideas, explore the world, socialize, dine and spend the rest of your life.

Woe to those who fall on neither list.