The recent passing of the iconic and inspirational Muhammad Ali demonstrated how influential certain individuals can be to people's lives. For many people growing up during the height of his reign as both a sporting and cultural icon, Ali was the ultimate role model. Through his continued endeavours in later life he retained this status right up until his death in June. The outpouring of tributes show just how important he had been to people from all walks of life, from famous movie stars, to the everyday person on the street. This article looks at the importance of role models.
Why do we need role models?
The importance of role models is clear, role models can drive and motivate us by the strength of their deeds and personality. They can shape who we become, through our wish to achieve similar goals and status.
When we are young we often look to role models to guide us in our decisions. In the first instance, this will usually be our parents or close family. However, as we start to go out in to the wider world, our friends and community will also start to have an influence.
Famous or Not famous?
You may have your own personal role model that brings you strength. This does not necessarily need to be someone famous or a significant public figure. Indeed it can be a family member or someone within your immediate community who has particularly influenced you.
A good role module can provide us with a guide to the skills and personal qualities we wish to develop, as well as those personal goals we wish to achieve. Therefore, in order for a role module to be useful ideally, be someone who possess the characteristics and qualities which we admire and wish to emulate. There are certain qualities we should look for in a role model; including clear values, inspirational actions, selflessness and the ability to overcome obstacles.
However, it is also important not to place your role models on too much of a pedestal. After all, they are only human. It can be useful therefore to have role models that come from different backgrounds and who are at different stages in their own lives. This way, if one of your role models does something you don't agree with, then you will still have others to look to!
Of course, we can also personally try to be role models for people around us. This can be achieved by taking forward some of the lessons we have learnt and proactively working to better ourselves. This can include participation in positive activities such as; community engagement, voluntary work and education. The importance of role models can be summed up in this next quote:
"If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it; then I can achieve it." ~ Muhammad Ali
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