Learning and living by example
"Example, whether it be good or bad, has powerful influence."
- George Washington
Think of a couple people you know who are a great example of how to live life right. Now think of a couple people who are a great example of how not to live life. We can even create a spectrum of the people in our lives and line them up from how we would ideally like to live our life to how we would never want to be stuck in their shoes. Every person we interact with throughout the day will either show us examples of what we should aspire to be like or what we should make note of to never do.
We all have our own mix of qualities, from great, to "needs improvement." Even the people we look up to the most, they are not without their fair share of personal qualities they can work on. We just happen to notice all the great qualities in those people we admire the most, since it's what makes them shine. They should inspire us to be our best and give us reason to keep developing ourselves mentally, physically, personally and professionally. There are those people who make us want to put ourselves out there more often. There are people who make us want to exercise more. And of course there are those who make us want to be better people in general. They provide us great examples of what we should continue striving for.
Then of course there are those who make us cringe when we see how they choose to live their life. They can be rude, condescending, obnoxious or just outright assholes. They show us examples of how to not act. Unfortunately, we see plenty of examples of these people popping in and out of our lives. Hopefully, when we do encounter them, we can choose to take the high road and not get sucked into their world of negativity. Sure, it can be tempting to indulge them in their descent to the bottom, but choosing to take the high road or simply ignoring them is how to make the most out of these examples of what not to do.
As we observe others who show us both great and poor examples of how to live, we can think about what kind of example we want to be setting for our family, friends, colleagues and everyone else we interact with. We learn by observing others, but we can also teach by setting the right example for others to take note of. What kind of example do you like to set for others? How would you like to see others live their best lives? The best way to teach them is to show them by the example you set, while striving to live your best life.
Harvard Business Review: Like It or Not, You Are Always Leading by Example
wikiHow: How to Learn from Others