This series is an alphabetical exploration of 26 options for living well, despite everything. It answers the question–How can we live well, despite problems? Xerox the good; copy that which is admirable. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” That’s such an old saying, no one knows who said it first. “Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery — it’s the sincerest form of learning.” George Bernard Shaw said that. Because we’re social creatures, we don’t become ourselves entirely by ourselves. We pattern ourselves after other people’s teachings. We learn the basic of everything we know and do–
- speaking a language;
- skipping rope;
- solving a multiplication problem;
- dribbling a basketball;
- which necklace or tie to wear with which outfit for which occasion;
- when to do the dishes;
- how to talk trash and how to pronounce blessings;
–we learn everything through imitation. It is only after we master a subject that we become free to intelligently add our own flourishes, our personal style. Essentially, we a very much like the people who surround us. Whether we do so consciously or unconsciously, we choose the people who surround us, those whom we will inevitably imitate. We hang out with the people we like (because we either are, or aspire to be, like them). I am my own programmer. If I hang out with low-minded, mean-spirited, hate-filled, dishonest, cynical, fatalistic, greedy people, or if I read their books, listen to their broadcasts and watch their movies, then the accumulated output of my actions will be rubbish. (GIGO–garbage-in-garbage-out, explains that we do what we’re programmed to do). I want to live my life consciously. I will choose decent people to imitate. I want to spend my time with those who possess humility, patience and compassion, perform good deeds, do excellent work, and treat others with kindness and generosity. The Xerox factor means that when I act like my generous role models, I become benevolent. When I behave like the heroes I admire, I become lionhearted. If I spend my life studying the behavior of noble people and if emulate their deeds, I will have lived a life worthy of praise.
Whom do you aspire to imitate?