I used to be a follower. I look up to someone I consider better than me and try to be like her. After years of doing so, I realized that I haven't improved as much as I had hoped.
The reason is that I was following her. I stayed on the same track, keeping up the same pace, and kept the exact distance between us. Thus, I have always been behind.
Trying to follow someone is not the right way of improving yourself in the long run. Once your mind is set on a person, you might think that she is the best at what she does.
You've set the highest bar on her, without knowing that you might have set it too low. What if you can be better than your idol?
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.
Once you follow a bunch of people, find the skills that you want to master. Compare their skills to one another and see who you think is the best at it.
Observe how they work, 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 own path. This is when you make yourself unique. Set your own goal and do things differently from your idols by stealing only specific skills from specific people you admire.
Break down your goals, so it is easier to achieve. Make a short term goal and 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 to long term and short term, you know what to do now and next. You do it chunk by chunk every day, track your progress, 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. I'll just put it bluntly here: 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.
Having idols is excellent, but it does not mean that you have to follow them in everything they do. Once you learn from them, start to make your own path.
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's probably not going to get you far.
Once you're done stealing someone's skill, find other people and repeat.
Remember this: You don't need to set a bar, because you have unlimited potential.