What to Look For in a Role Model

KuokuoChengWhattolookforinarolemodel.3When I hear the words “role model,” several thoughts come to mind: inspiration, character, achievement. A role model is someone that’s touched your heart, from near or far. Someone you wish your life resembled more closely. They inspire you to be a better person, to succeed and to do what is right.

Roles models come from various backgrounds, histories and beliefs. One thing they have in common, however, is influence. Whether a role model influences thousands of people or just one person, their attributes go unnoticed. Role models are often humble, honest and creative. Most have chased their dreams and followed their hearts, inspiring others to do the same. They lead a life well-respected, understanding the precious time to share with those you love and doing what you love. 

Despite the achievements of any role model, however, it’s important to remember that humans are human. We make mistakes. Nothing comes easy. Sometimes the best role models aren’t ones pronounced to be beautifully flawless, but beautifully flawed. The best are those who embrace themselves for who they are entirely, encouraging others to do the same.

We often categorize role models as those with big successes, riches and fame. Role models are closer than they may seem. They are in everyday passing, even if they’re hidden by humbleness.

Take someone like Mike the Mailman, for example. He’s one ordinary guy we shouldn’t take for granted. With the ring of a bell and a quickly jotted note, a line of tired, tense students becomes one of genuine smiles and kindness. Few people can offer a compliment to each person they meet, especially at a post office. This man has been a role model for countless years, spreading happiness in the simplest manner.

Role models like Mike the Mailman prove that it doesn’t take much more than pure kindness of the heart to influence the lives of very many people. When choosing your role model, choose someone based on the qualities you wish for others to see in you.

Photo by Coco Cheng

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