Most become the person they want to be by imitating the people that inspire them, but it’s better to strive to be one of the imitated.
“Life’s like a play: it’s not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters.” -Lucius Annaeus Seneca
I’ve spent more than a decade imitating the manufactured lives of others while my own remained mostly in the shadows. Instead of losing myself, I became a more sculpted and self-aware version of it.
Through the course of consistent and successive self reinventions of target subjects, I unconsciously (eventually with specificity) started to integrate certain elements of those personas into my own.
In imitating so many different characteristics of people and the ideas of their lives, permutations of modified, evolved and sharper versions of myself emerged.
By method imitating for so long, it calibrated my own being into the best versions of myself – by being parts of others while retaining the most suitable and beneficial.
It’s been said that there are no more original ideas and even if that’s the case, it’s inconsequential.
The smallest of thoughts that flicker in our minds to the grandest of ideas we conceive are inspired by preexisting concepts, both of our own and others.
We can’t progress without using knowledge from what’s already known or active and building upon it to make them better or more suitable to our own being.
You need an idea to create an idea in the way you need money to make money. This base formula is the same with a person’s way of life, it needs others to develop.
“The human is indissolubly linked with imitation: humans only become humans at all by imitating other humans.” -Theodor Adorno
The key is not straight up copying a life, that’s plagiarism in the worst possible way. It’s to learn and be motivated from certain elements of another’s life to use as a partial guideline but never as a template.
Your hero’s bravery, style, intelligence or even something as basic as the way they talk. The beauty of it is that they don’t have to be a rock star or even particularly interesting. They just have to have something about them worthy of imitating.
This “worthiness” of course is completely subjective; a family man may put more worth on another man’s deeply affectionate but beta personality than to a stone cold alpha’s. Whatever works for the individual.
“If someone wrote a book about your life, would they find it interesting? Now forget that and consider if you read that book about your life, would you be satisfied?” -John Cain
But remember, it’s not about imitating the man, but a specific element of it. The thing about the man that can be assimilated to yourself to become a better version.
Then you’ll have a life worth imitating and for what it’s worth, that’s the most flattering thing in the world.
Live a life worth imitating.
[The featured photo was taken at the rooftop Marina Bay Sands Infinity Pool in Singapore.]