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Home » Blog » Who Is Your Role Model? A Guide To Choosing Your Inspiration

According to a popular legend, once upon a time, Young George Washington chopped down a rare and beautiful cherry tree for reasons that were never completely explained. When his father found out what he’d done, he was furious and confronted him. Young George bravely said, “I cannot tell a lie… I did used my hatchet to cut it.”

This story has been passed down for many years to demonstrate that Washington was a man of integrity who served as a role model for many of us. 

It’s true. We all have role models in our lives. For some, they are our parents, for some their teachers or mentors, for some they are some public figures and for some, they are our leaders.

In reality, role models are just other human beings who teach others how to live a life of integrity, optimism, hope, determination, and compassion. They play an important role in our personal development. But isn’t it ironic that even though they are someone we look up to they are just circus monkeys who are trying to drive people? 

It is like the classic example, you planted a mango tree and a coconut tree together. The coconut tree grew big and straight, and the mango tree saw, “Oh! I want to be just like him “and chopped off all of his own branches until he was left with only one straight branch.

Who Is Your Role Model?

“Who inspires you?”

“Who do you look up to?”

“Who do you want to be like?”

Have you ever noticed a child, they imitate what they see. Often it is seen that young children imitate their parents or their siblings. Their small eyes observe and zero in on us almost unconsciously, working in actions, mimicking gestures, and internalising words, expressions, and even roles. It is natural that children can never be identical replicas of their parents, yet they try to imprint.

This is something that has always been obvious in the field of developmental psychology. Albert Bandura, a well-known social psychologist, has written extensively on one of the basic principles of social learning, “modeling.” According to him, people learn by mimicking the actions they see around them, the social models with whom they grow up or interact.

But why do children do this? They want to be like their parents. It gives them a sense of purpose and belongingness. Not only do kids do this but we adults do it too, for the very same reason, for the sense of belongingness.

So asking again, who is your role model? Who gives you that sense of belongingness? Is it your parents, your coach, your friend, a leader, or some celebrity? 

Role Model Meaning

Though the term “role model” was coined in the twentieth century, people have been aware of the concept for a long time now.  A role model is someone whose actions, examples, or accomplishments are or can be emulated by others, particularly younger people. Effective role models have appealing characteristics that make them easy to admire. They motivate others to make changes and pursue new objectives. 

The term role model was coined by sociologist Robert K. Merton, who proposed that people compare themselves to reference groups of people who occupy the social role they aspire to. He discovered that people tend to mimic groups of behavior rather than individual acts, according to research. People that fill specific roles in society exhibit these patterns of conduct. One common example is how young fans idolise and copy professional sports or entertainment performers.

Albert Bandura, a psychologist whose work on learning led to the development of social learning theory, is another social scientist whose work is applicable here. He discovered that people are drawn to be observers of their surroundings. During these observations, people take note of the other’s behavior and feel free to copy it. This mimicry is part of a more involved process of analyzing the source and effect of the behavior in the issue. Though it may not appear to be real, it paved the way for new research and understanding of how good role models can be used to promote desirable behaviors and social change.

Thus, a role model is someone that other people look up to for guidance on appropriate behavior. Role models can be both, either positive or negative. Positive role models demonstrate a variety of useful or beneficial activities. On the other hand, negative role models provide instances of destructive or disruptive actions. Having them in our lives encourages us to make the most of our time. Now, let’s understand why role models are so important in our lives.

Importance of Role Model

  1. Paves Our Success – ‘Success’ is a subjective concept, which means that it is different for different people but if someone is your role model, he or she is most likely a successful person. In the case of students, success is receiving high marks on exams and other class tests. Or for a coach, being successful is the success of their client. So when people create a role model for someone who was or is successful in life, they will want to emulate that person and achieve academic achievement.
  2. Learning From Their Mistakes – Man is an effigy of his own errors. No one, not even our role model, is 100 percent flawless in every way. So it’s great if you learn from your role model when he or she makes a mistake. In fact, it gives us the ability to learn from te mistakes and move a step ahead.
  3. Helps To Overcome Obstacles – In life, success and failure are inextricably linked. This means that it is often difficult to achieve success without failure. Failure in the past will not prevent you from succeeding in the future. Edison had failed countless times throughout his life while working on the electric light, but he never gave up. Finally, for the thousandth time, he was successful. Every role model has triumphed against adversity in their life. Understanding how your role model handles life’s challenges will aid you in overcoming future setbacks.
  4. Source of Inspiration – A positive role model inspires us. They give us the zeal to work hard. Having a positive role model in life motivates us to do our best at work. It’s a good idea to mimic someone you admire when you’re lacking in self-motivation. Consider their challenges and successes, and be encouraged to work as hard as they did to climb the success ladder.

Qualities of A Good Role Model 

The world has been led by exemplary figures. There have been innumerous game-changers, leaders, and problem-solvers. But can each of those faces fit as a good role model?

Not everyone can be your guru. That choice you have to make yourself. Here are some qualities that make a good role model.

  1. Passionate and Self-managed – A good role model is a passionate leader. They are open-minded, responsible, and capable of managing their own life. They are interested in and attentive to all facets and intricacies of people’s life. They are passionate about what they do, even if it is a small task.
  2. Ability To Inspire – One of the most important aspects of a good role model is that they can inspire. This is what makes an average person inspiration for others. People want to be like them for who they are. While there are many outstanding leaders, just a few leaders are able to infuse their acts and behaviors with energy, passion, and connection.
  3. Strong Core Values Strong core values are important in a role model. Children respect adults who practice what they preach, according to research undertaken by developmental psychologist Marilyn Price-Mitchell and presented on her website, Roots of Action. Children are helped to establish and enhance their own values by role models who support desirable causes and are willing to act on their convictions.
  4. Leadership – A good role model is someone who is usually cheerful, serene, and self-assured. They are someone that not only pushes their own boundaries but also works to help others. They are always willing to assist others in ways that are beneficial to their requirements. They not only have great accomplishments but still striving for greater and better goals.
  5. Good Communicator – A good role model is someone who is good at communication. They are the ones who are capable of developing and maintaining long-term connections and collaborations through their connections. They not only communicate effectively but also let their peers communicate with them.
  6. Knowledgeable – Good role models aren’t just “educators.” They are lifelong learners who push themselves to break out of their comfort zones and surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are. Team members will learn to expand themselves in order to be successful when they recognise that their role model can be many things.

Role Model Examples: Everyday Inspirational Role Models to Look Up to

Like I already said, a role model can be anyone. They can be someone we look up to and copy, such as a parent, teacher, sibling, leader, celebrity, cousin, or uncle/aunt. Some of us may do so on purpose, while others may do so without realising how much we are impacted by them. 

The biggest challenge is putting together a list of inspirational role models and in deciding who to include. It’s difficult to choose because there are so many people who have done heroic things in so many various sectors, such as human rights, science, and fighting evil. But to help you understand better, here are a few role model examples.

Parents As Role Model

“Parents are the ultimate role models for children. Every word, movement, and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than the parent.” (source)

Every child’s initial role model is their parents. They are the people we idolise and want to emulate. They serve as role models for their children not just through direct encounters with them, but also through the examples they establish with their attitude and behavior. Parents can instill values in their children by modeling moral and ethical behavior, which can counteract negative impacts from classmates or the media. The pressure of being a role model can also motivate parents to improve themselves.

Teachers As Role Model

I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think.” (source)

Teachers are important role models who can impact their students’ attitudes, values, and behaviours. A positive role model sets an example for children, encouraging them to pursue meaningful lives. Teachers are always present in the lives of children. They have as much, if not more, influence on children than parents do. Teachers have a significant impact on adults as well as children. Often, we are where we are today as a result of a lesson set by one of our teachers.

Coaches As Role Model

“A good coach changes a game, a great coach changes life.” (source)

Not only our parents and or teachers can be our inspiration but our mentor and our coaches are also role models. They are regarded as good role models and mentors for their clients, working behind the scenes to help teams win, encourage them when they lose, and share in the joy of participation. They are the ones who always strive the best for us. Be it from our behavior, our values are life, they always inspire us. 

An inspirational coach can assist you in overcoming obstacles in your life by providing encouragement to keep you going. For a coach, good coaching entails the development of life skills, confidence, resilience, and social participation in addition to physical skill training.

5 Most Popular Role Models To Exist

  1. The Dalai Lama – “As you breathe in, cherish yourself. As you breathe out, cherish all beings.” (source)

The Dalai Lama is the Tibetan people’s spiritual leader and their most ardent supporter of a free Tibet. The child, then known as Lhamo Dhondup, was born to a farming family in northeastern Tibet and was recognised as the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama at the age of two.

His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, is the Tibetan people’s spiritual leader and their most ardent supporter of a free Tibet. He travels the world preaching peace, nonviolence, and love for his fellow man.

  1. Steve Jobs – “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?” (source)

Steve Wozniak started Apple Inc. in 1976 and built it into a global telecommunications powerhouse. Steve Jobs was arguably one of the most driven and motivated entrepreneurs of all time. Most people assume his continual demand for perfection motivated him to complete tasks, but his main drive was his desire to leave something behind that would change everything.

Jobs was a master at leading by example as well as empowering and inspiring his employees to perform tasks independently. He became a role model for his employees by exhibiting traits he hoped to see them exhibit, such as his rigorous attention to detail.

  1. Mark Zuckerberg – “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” (source)

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is a co-founder of Facebook, a social networking site. He is many things to many people, and he is the first millennial CEO of the twenty-first century. He is a philanthropist and a technology innovator, and he was selected Person of the Year by Time magazine in 2010. Most millennials look up to this business hero for motivation to succeed as entrepreneurs.

He was the one who came up with a concept that allowed people all over the world to interact with one another. Facebook has not only revolutionised the social networking landscape, but it has also revolutionised the way millions of people communicate and stay in touch with their loved ones.

  1. Oprah Winfrey – “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” (source)

Oprah Winfrey is one of the most respected persons in the world today. She has used every opportunity she has had throughout the years to inspire and motivate others by setting an example with her powerful remarks. Oprah won over everything that can bring a person down, including poverty, violence, assault, and a slew of other ills. Oprah Winfrey is a great inspiration and one of the founders of the women’s empowerment movement. Her acts and words consistently impress and inspire others in the manner in which she desires.

  1. Maya Angelou – “I’m a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That’s me.”

Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri, and is an American poet, storyteller, activist, and autobiographer. Angelou had a diverse career as a singer, dancer, actress, composer, and the first black female director in Hollywood, but she is most known for her work as a writer, editor, essayist, dramatist, and poet.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, an autobiography of her childhood, is her most recognised work. The book shows the importance of resiliency in the face of discrimination. She was an outspoken opponent of racial and gender prejudice. Angelou sought to make the world a better place, and she inspired many people with her insightful and passionate remarks. Maya Angelou, despite her sad experiences, continued to share her narrative with the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Is Your Role Model?

Anyone who inspires you, who you look up to, and who you want to be like is a role model.

Explain the meaning of role model?

A role model is someone whose behaviors, examples, or achievements are or can be emulated by others, especially young people. Role models who are effective have appealing qualities that make them simple to appreciate. They inspire people to make changes and set new goals.

What is the importance of a role Model?

  1. Paves Our Success 
  2. Learn From Mistakes
  3. Overcome Obstacles 
  4. A source of inspiration

What are the qualities of a good role model?

  • A good role model is a passionate leader who is self-managed.
  • The ability to inspire is one of the most crucial characteristics of a good role model.
  • Strong Core Values – A role model must have strong core values.
  • Leadership – A good role model is someone who is generally upbeat, calm, and confident.

Give some popular role model examples?

Anyone can be a role model. They could be a parent, teacher, sibling, leader, celebrity, cousin, or uncle/aunt that we admire and want to emulate. Some of us do this on purpose, while others do so without realising how much they affect us.