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The Magic of Modeling Behavior

Updated on December 12, 2017

In 1992, one of the most informative and useful ideas I received from Tony Robbins, the world-renowned speaker and life coach, was that of modeling behavior. I had been doing this myself for some time before reading his book “Unlimited Power” (which is a great read, by the way) and as a matter of fact, even did it as a child to survive bullying and to give me courage and strength in tough times.

We all have heroes. Sometimes they are actors, musicians, Presidents or biblical characters. Sometimes they are someone we know and love or a special person who has passed on but touched us in some unique way. There are also people who we believe made better choices in life than we have - people who tended to be solid, reliable, successful and happy. There are even characters in movies who give us hope or a certain “something” to shoot for, a greater good if you will…

The magical thing about modeling behavior is that it saves us time, trouble and money. Call it a character study in greatness.

If you have defined a flaw within yourself or a tendency to fail in a certain area, then choose a person who has succeeded in that same area to a substantial degree. If you tend to give up on things after a failure or two, study up on Thomas Edison. Model his behavior and learn patience and tenacity. If you are a poor cook, study up on Julia Child and model her behavior as seen in videos and as read in books. I will bet you will become a better cook!

On money matters, I am attempting to model the behaviors and strategies of Clark Howard, Dave Ramsey and Warren Buffett. Ramsey is especially helpful and I have actually begun to at least cut unnecessary costs from my budget. With regard to having a bright outlook, remaining positive and being closer to God, I choose Joel Osteen. Joel could have a truck load of chicken poop overturn in front of his house and he would thank God for the fertilizer! With regard to kindness, holiday cheer and a need for a warm smile and a great big icy glass of Luzianne Tea, I model Burl Ives. He made Rudolf and Christmas for me as a child. When I need backbone, I turn to Clint Eastwood and Mel Gibson. When I want to get in shape (just starting) I look at Daniel Craig and Tom Cruise as well as Jack LaLane. When I want to consider eating right I consider Dr. Cordain with his Paleo Diet mixed with a bit of Mediterranean Diet mixed in for good measure. When I was a kid I modeled after Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of KISS and Ted Nugent, all of which kept me off of drugs. I figured if they didn’t need them, neither did I. The list goes on…

If you study people whose results you would like to emulate, you will begin to take small steps “as if” you were them, gaining perspective as you go into the minds and lives of the greats. It becomes magical when the results begin to multiply on themselves until you aren’t quite sure how you reached the peaks of success that you begin to find yourself on.

When you look back down into the “Valley of Yesterday”, but only for a second – to gain perspective, you begin to appreciate the wisdom and experience of the people perhaps you never even met and the influence they left upon your heart in the search for an even better tomorrow.

Joel Gibson, LPC, CLC

© 2017 Joel Gibson


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