I was just reading Seth Godin’s post on A Million Blind Squirrels and it brought me back to an ongoing debate I’ve had with certain folks in the NLP and personal development community about the utility of “modeling” successful people as a tool to accelerate your own success.
I’ve already expressed my concern about the loose definition of modeling and how difficult and often poorly executed it is in real life.
But, Seth brings up a powerful, related point. Even if you could create a viable model for someone’s behavior and emotional processes and then step into it, a solid chunk of that person’s success has to do with the unique outside circumstances that existed at moments in time that can never be precisely replicated.
All the modeling in the world wont allow you to recreate those identical circumstances. And, that outer world is equally important in how the people you seek to model became successful.
Does that mean I believe modeling is a useless exercise?
No. But, it’s not the end all be all. It has it’s limitations and challenges and, truth be told, they are sizable (beyond the fact that what most gurus really preach is not modeling, but simply copying universal traits and behaviors).
So, study the greats, but don’t surrender the quest to cultivate your own your own intelligent processes to often-fabricated half-pieces of the puzzle divined by reverse-engineering someone else’s journey.
As always, just thinking out loud.
What do you think?
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