An evaluation of your early role models can help you better understand your current life. People often choose role models in their youth, and these selections are made with little conscious awareness as to how much you imitate them. These heroes could be a historic figure, teacher, family member, a sports star, actor, or anyone you admired.
The role model becomes your self-image. You go through life making small decisions as if they were not part of any master plan, as if all along you were responding to individual circumstances. The truth is there was a master plan. You set it in motion when you chose your heroes.
John Foster Dulles said when we pick great heroes, “we are, in reality and largely unconsciously, making a standard of conduct for ourselves. The next step is for us to make our own lives into the kind of effort which we think our chosen heroes would applaud.”
Think back to your teenage years. Who were your role models?
My predominate heroes were the men who fought at the Alamo (March 6, 1836), in particular Col. William Barret Travis. From fourth grade through high school, I read every book I could find on the Mexican/American war, Sam Houston and the settlement of Texas. To this day, I continue to read new volumes when released. As I got older, my heroes became rebellious authors, poets, and singer-songwriters—talented wordsmiths—including several Zen communicators and Buddha himself.
How have your role models related to your life? Have they worked for you?
My heroes were all willing to speak out and act in response to what they believed. They have certainly influenced the way I communicate. They got me into trouble with the establishment on many occassions. And they probably helped me fulfill my dharma. I hope so.
The next question to ask yourself: how might your awareness of your role models affect your future?
If you don’t like what you learn, consider picking new role models that might better serve you?