I was lost and confused in the adult world when I started my career. But I was fortunate enough to have found a role model in my first job. So, I followed him and tried replicating his actions to improve myself.
However, after a few years of doing so, I realized that this approach did not help me improve as much as I wanted to. The reason was that I was following him too closely, staying on the same track, at the same pace, and keeping the exact distance between us.
For example, I will agree when he thinks something is hard to do. Without understanding why, without trying to do it. As a result, he became my limit, and I couldn't see what was beyond him.
But when I finally left that job, my world expanded. I discovered many people smarter than me—and smarter than my idol. I realized that I had to break through the limit he represented and outgrow him to reach my true potential.
And because of that, I saw what was beyond the trees. I could see the entire forest.
How to outgrow your idols
Trying to follow someone is the easiest way to grow and learn new things. However, it might not be the best way to improve yourself in the long run.
Once your mind is set on a person, you might think that person is the best at what he does. You've set the highest bar on him without knowing you might have set it too low. What if you can be better than your idol?
Find people and steal their skills
One way to do it is to find other people with amazing skills and experiences. You can go online and literally follow them on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok.
Once you follow many people, find the skills you want to master. Compare their skills and see who you think is the best at it. Then, observe how they work and what they share online, and learn from them. You don't have to follow everything a person does. A specific skill would do just fine.
For example, you might want to:
- Write like John,
- Design like Jane,
- Work in X company like Jack,
- Build side projects like Jimbo.
This is when you start to pave your path. This is when you make yourself unique. Set your goal and do things differently from your idols by stealing only specific skills from people you admire.
Set a goal
Break down your goals so it is easier to achieve. Make a short-term goal and a long-term goal.
- Goal: I want to be able to write like John.
- Long-term, 1 year: Have a blog and write consistently.
- Short-term this month: Write 2 articles this month.
- This week: Draft an essay.
- Today: Start writing.
Most people set a goal that is vague, mighty, and high. That is why most of them don't try to reach for what they want in life. Because it seem too hard to reach.
By breaking down your goals into long-term and short-term goals, you know what to do now and next. You do it chunk by chunk every day, track your progress, feel the achievements you've made, and you'll eventually get closer to your destination.
You never lose track, and you can revise your goal as well.
However, you should know that there is no shortcut to being great. Your progress will not be significant in a week. It will take months and even years to be as great as your idols. So be realistic and don't give up too soon; stick with your goals. The hardest part is being consistent.
Be realistic, and don't give up too soon; stick with your goals. The hardest part is being consistent.
Outgrow the person you admire the most
Having idols is excellent, but it does not mean you must follow them in everything they do. Once you learn from them, start to pave your way.
Find other people you want to learn from, observe and steal their knowledge, set a goal and stick to it. It will not be fast because if it is, it will probably not get you far. It will not be easy because if it is, many people would have done it. Once you're done stealing someone's skill, find other people and repeat.
You don't need to set a bar because you have unlimited potential.
Look beyond the trees. Or you'll miss the entire forest.
I hope you find this inspiring. Remember...
It's not going to be easy, but it's not impossible.