It’s Hard to Improve When You Have No One But Yourself to Follow: The Law of Modeling

We all find ourselves in situations where we don’t’ have enough experience, knowledge or exposure at a certain point or another. Even worse, we cannot find the right support from our close circle of friends and family members. If you are aspiring personal growth and want to get out of those situations, then you need to ask for a help.

 “Nobody is a whole chain. Each one is a link. But take away one link and the chain is broken.

Nobody is a whole team. Each one is a player. But take away one player and the game is forfeited.

Nobody is a whole orchestra. Each one is a musician. But take away one musician and the symphony is incomplete.

You guessed it. We need each other. You need someone and someone needs you. Isolated islands we’re not. To make this thing called life work, we gotta lean and support. And relate and respond. And give and take. And confess and forgive. And reach out and embrace.

And release and rely. Since none of us is a whole, independent, self-sufficient, super-capable, all powerful hotshot, let’s quit acting like we are. Life’s lonely enough without our playing that silly role. The game’s over. Let’s link up”. Chuck Swindoll

 We may start tackling our problems by following unfocused approach; we may read whatever comes to our way, attend whatever conferences and training we can and listen to whatever records we reach. After all, this approach is not effective. Finding a mentor, who is ahead of us, to guide us through this process is a more efficient approach. This is the law number 13 in The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C. Maxell under what he called The Law of Modeling; i.e. it’s hard to improve when you have no one but yourself to follow.

This post summarizes the law of modeling, while the previous laws were presented as per the following:

  1. The Law of Intentionality;
  2. The Law of Awareness;
  3. The Law of Mirror;
  4. The Law of Reflection;
  5. The Law of Consistency;
  6. The Law of Environment;
  7. The law of Design;
  8. The law of Pain;
  9. The law of Ladder; 
  10. The law of Rubber Band;
  11. The law of trade-offs;
  12. The law of curiosity.

Whom Should I Follow

The first place to look for mentors is “Books”. Later one, we need to put a serious effort to select the right mentor. Maxwell shared some of the criteria that he believes are needed to select and follow the right mentor as the following:

  • A good mentor is a worthy example: select a mentor that has professional skills as well as a character that we admire and we can imitate.
  • A good mentor is available: select a mentor that you can contact! A mentor has to be available and accessible and usually, he/she is two or three levels ahead of us.
  • A good mentor has proven experience: when we seek an advice, we need to go for people who have proven experience in that area.
  • A good mentor possesses wisdom: selecting the right mentor will help us to open our eyes to areas that we might not be able to recognize by ourselves.
  • A good mentor provides friendship and support: we have to select a mentor that can be a good friend, not a selfish one!
  • A good mentor is a coach who makes a difference in people’s lives: we have to select a mentor who really makes a difference and creates a positive change in others’ lives.

Applying the Law of Modeling to Our Lives

Maxwell provided three actions to use the law of modeling in our personal growth journey as per the following:

  1. Find the next mentor who is two or three steps ahead of you and who is available and accessible.
  2. Find mentors that can help you in specific areas in your life such as marriage, parenting, spiritual growth, personal disciplines and hobbies. No one is an expert in all of these areas.
  3. Find a long-term model. Reading about great success biographies is not enough. You need to find mentors who can provide you with an access to their lives so you can maintain the big picture.

Final Thought

“Having talent in a given area never exempts me from neglecting discipline or character issues. We’re all just one step away from stupid. Wise people often use just a few words to help us learn and develop. They open our eyes to worlds we might not have otherwise seen without their help. They help us navigate difficult situations. They help us to see opportunities we would otherwise miss. They make us wiser than our years and experience”.

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