We’ve all had our heroes since childhood, from family members to film stars, musicians to sports stars and beyond. These people inspired us to dream about what our futures could hold. As we grow, our heroes change. We may not even call them heroes anymore, but there are people we admire for their abilities and character traits we’d like to see in ourselves. As Oscar Wilde once said “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. What better way to repay our heroes than by stealing from them!
Imitating Our Heroes
When learning a new discipline, a good place to start is by looking at what people before us have done. When learning guitar for example, it’s a good idea to learn songs by our favourite musicians. At first, we might sound like a clone of a certain guitarist, but as we broaden our influences, we’ll start to pick up different techniques and styles that we blend together to develop a unique voice.
The same applies to any craft. If you like business, start by modelling existing business strategies or business people. Start simple. Slowly implement ideas you like from other businesses to see if they work or not. Over time your specific mix of influences will make your business unique.
Everyone Does It!
If you look at the early works of various masters from any discipline, it’ll probably look a lot different from the signature style you’re familiar with. If you research enough, you’ll see how their heroes influenced the work and how over time how their own style evolved as they took on new influences or dropped certain techniques or strategies.
Become Your Own Hero
It’s tempting to put a single hero on a pedestal and simply try to become them. I did this as a kid (I wanted to be Bruce Lee). But this is impossible, there is only one of them, but more importantly there is only one of you.
Sure, implement traits and techniques from your heroes that are helpful to your development, but get your inspiration from a wide source of influences. Strive to create your own flavour and become the hero of your own story.