I’ve been listening to the new(ish) Steve Jobs biography while driving in this crazy LA traffic lately and I feel like I had a bit of an epiphany. I’ve been an Apple fan for quite some time, since I got my first Macbook Pro back in 2005. (This same computer, believe it or not, is what lil bro Jordan uses now to create designs, seven years later. Talk about quality!)
What struck me while listening to Steve’s story was that while most of us remember him as an absolutely brilliant individual, he had a pretty long list of flaws as well. While listening to the history of a man I seriously respected, especially as an entrepreneur, I found myself (for a moment, anyway) thinking that maybe if I learned to be more brash and rude, I too could build a better brand. That’s when it hit me: I wonder how many people contemplate the same actions with the people they look up to? How many people do shady deals because someone they look up to did something on their rise to the top? How many people validate their ‘non-legit’ actions because their role model did something similar? Role models are a dangerous idea, but necessary at the same time. They show us that yes, our dreams can be achieved; they’re the living proof that it’s possible. The issue we have as a society is thinking that role models can do no wrong. Without having your own moral compass to guide you through the good and the bad, ‘doing it because so and so did’ is just not an excuse.
Man, that is incredibly important. Think about it: When you’re a freshman in high school, your top priority is trying to fit in, trying to be one of the cool guys. You look up to the seniors, but slowly start to realize their popularity is based completely on their grade level, nothing more. Growing up, I made the decision very early on that I would do whatever I thought was right, not base my decision off what other people were doing. To be completely honest, I’m still not sure why I was so adamant about that; I just didn’t like the feeling of doing something because everyone else was, especially when I had the gut feeling that it was wrong. Even though I played sports year round, the lifestyle most of my teammates led was just not me. I loved them all and still to this day would do anything I can to help them out, but our compasses just didn’t line up.
Middle/High school is one of the most influential times in our lives. It’s when we figure out what we’re interested in, what we believe, and what we’re willing to stand up for. In my opinion, it’s what really shapes us and defines who we become in the future. Most people would say college does that as well but I never went so I’ll leave that topic for someone else. When Jordan started high school last year, I told him the exact same thing I told Brandon when he started: The second you graduate, nobody cares about anything you did in high school. Do what you know is right every single time and you’ll come out on top, I guarantee it.As the oldest brother, I became a role model for my younger brothers, whether I wanted to or not. Have I messed up? Definitely, I’m far from perfect. Rather than use my mistakes as an excuse for poor behavior, they provided a great opportunity for my bros to learn 2nd hand and be so much further than me at the same age.
We all already subconsciously make these decisions in our relationships, don’t we? Girls look for guys that have all the good traits they see in their dad, while looking for the exact opposite of the bad ones. We look for people to date that have certain characteristics we’ve realized we like or don’t like, based on previous people we’ve dated. Sometimes we’re attracted to character flaws because that’s just what we’re used to, even though it’s not what we want. Either way, we’re making decisions based on individual things we like and don’t like. I think there’s room for everyone to grow using this simple concept; I know I have just from the short time I’ve had this realization.
So in that time I spent listening to Steve Jobs biography, I was tempted for a moment, before realizing that in reality, I could surpass him if I took only the good and left the bad. It’s my choice, there’s nobody saying I have to take it all, and that’s the beauty of it. Emulate the positive characteristics you see in people you look up to, ignore the flaws. Use your own compass and make decisions based on what you know is right and you’ll be so much happier for it.
Love you guys.