Why Observing Those You Admire Improves How You Think

I started to read another biography of Abraham Lincoln because of his ability to persevere. There is something beautiful about understanding someone else’s pain and suffering and diving into how they overcame it.

I want you to think about someone you admire. Then, go and get a book at the library, buy the book, watch a documentary or listen to a biography. I guarantee you will get a spectacular insight from learning about their life. By exploring other people’s lives, we see what struggles they went through and how they were able to overcome them. We can then apply that knowledge that helps us improve our own lives.

Sharing Stories

I often tell my stories of struggle and how I overcame them just for this reason. I am far from perfect. I make daily mistakes—like recently I asked my close friend, “Who in your family is struggling the most with your mom’s passing?”

I still cringe as I think about that question, because what is the answer to that? There is no good way to answer that question! It’s such an idiotic thing to ask. I’m working on not calling myself stupid or idiotic, but this one I couldn’t resist beating myself up about.

If my friend tells me the question sounds weird, he makes me feel stupid. If he says it’s his brother, then he might feel like he’s complaining about his brother. If he doesn’t say it’s him then is he telling me that he doesn’t care as much about his mother as I thought he should. It’s a question where he can’t win. I pride myself on asking good questions, but in this case, I was far from it.

I learned from Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger asking better questions. I’ve studied how they think through problems. It’s important to ask questions that allow us to get more insight, but also help us improve our relationships. We need to create win-win conversations that help both parties grow from it.

That’s why it’s important to learn from people who admit their faults or are willing to have their faults exposed so that other people can learn from them. This is what happens when we study people’s lives we admire. We see their vulnerabilities and use their lives to help us grow.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” – Brene Brown

It’s these mistakes that other people make that can truly help us get ahead faster. It’s why I’m a huge fan of podcasts. People are vulnerable and honest. They want other people to learn from them and not make the same mistake.

Next time you are feeling down or have low energy, don’t listen to music or watch a movie. Listen to or watch a short talk or interview of someone you admire (Simon Sinek). View it for 10 minutes and see how you feel. It’s a great way to learn from someone, so you can grow stronger and happier.

Then I want to challenge you to watch someone you admire every night for 30 days. If you can watch the same person each night for 30 days that would be powerful. Watch how it changes your perspective on life and improves how you think. It’s an amazing because you go deeper than you have in the past. When you hop around you still learn, but when you do it every single day for 30 days it fuses into your bones. I’ve done this with Simon Sinek and it’s changed how I think. I’ve done this with Buddhist teachers, amazing pastors, comedians, etc. If you do give it a try please write me a note, I would love to hear how it works for you.

Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash