Imitation is a great way to train and change habits. It allows us to download information from the outside world into our autopilot mode, if we do it enough.
According to Wikipedia, imitation is an advanced behavior in which an individual observes and replicates another person's actions. It is also a form of social learning that contributes to the development of traditions and ultimately our culture.
Imitation is a powerful tool, so we should learn to imitate good things and habits. I have been developing an imitation program based on suggestions from "The Magic of Thinking Big." The book recommends choosing role models or individuals we respect, such as religious leaders, scientists, business leaders, and others, to imitate.
When I think about role models whose work and life choices have inspired me, names that come to mind are Nikola Tesla, George Westinghouse, Steve Wozniak, Linus Torvalds, Alexander the Great, Abraham Lincoln, Buddha, Jesus, Forrest Gump, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, William Li, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, my parents, and many more.
I often ask myself questions when I start doing or thinking about things. The questions go as follows: What would they do if they were...?
Here are some examples of situations:
When an idea emerges: What would Tesla, Woz, or Jobs do with this idea?
When I worry: Would Buddha and Jesus worry about such things? What would they do if they were in my situation right now?
Temper: Would Buddha or Forrest Gump get mad about what I am currently mad at? What would they do if they were in my situation now?
Language: Am I using the language that Abraham or Jobs would use?
Discussion: Is this the kind of conversation Alexander, Elon, or Westinghouse would engage in?
Reading: Would self-taught individuals like Tesla, Elon, or Ma read these things?
Jokes: Is this the kind of joke that Linus, Woz, or Jobs would tell?
Job: How would they describe their work to others?
Appearance: Do I present myself with the maximum self-respect and self-esteem that any of them would have?
This has been a helpful reminder to be mindful of how I invest my time in things to think about or do.
Imitation is indeed very powerful. In this era of information overload and news feeds, we can easily be distracted from what is most important to us and what is true to our lives. If we are not mindful of whom we imitate, we might unintentionally imitate unhappy people and consume click-bait content that poisons our minds.
If imitation is so powerful, why don't we use it to do good for our lives and others? We should not be victims of technology but rather thrive above it.