Is that situation familiar – you are quite successful, but everyone around seems more successful? You see them doing amazing things (be it a great sales presentation or drawing a portrait), you try to do the same, but you suck at it? You try to copy, do exactly what they did, but all this in vain? So much worse when we talk not just about some presentation, but a business, relationship, or life in general!
What’s the problem?
Tony Robbins once said: “If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results.” And that’s bullshit – most of the time people are not achieving the same results (otherwise everyone would be a billionaire).
Why copying actions leads to failure?
Just copying what others do often leads to failure. What I suggest copying I will cover too, but now let me prove my point.
Imagine someone who is a quiet type, not really talkative, enjoy staying at home and reading books. But she wants to have friends. And her neighbor has lots of friends – he is so energetic and talkative and outgoing. He spends all his time going to parties, chatting to random people and volunteering for 5 different communities.
Will her life improve if she copies what her neighbor does and tries to find friends the way he does? Just imagine.
Suppose someone wants to start a home-based business, and then they find that trading currencies is the most profitable way to earn money. But they think that those Wall Street traders are thieves and cheaters. Will the performance of traders be great when they think about themselves as thieves and cheaters? I doubt that. A real trader is a trader at his heart, and he is proud of it. That’s why he keeps doing it and succeeds.
Suppose you want to travel, but don’t have money. Then you read the stories about people who just leave their homes and find jobs on the way, just meeting random people and asking about opportunities. If you have trouble talking to new people will you be able to find jobs on the way? Should you break your personality traits and become a real adventurer? The real adventurer is the adventurer at his heart and he enjoys the adventure. He might talk about breaking through himself, but he just has dealt with some fears in his mind, not the fundamental traits of personality.
The point is that we have our inner values. If the actions we want to do contradict our inner values, then we have tension and friction inside. When we try doing what we don’t want I doubt if it is possible to succeed. Be it a single presentation or a business.
I myself had this illusion when struggled to make deeper connections with classmates in the university. I observed what others do and then tried to copy.
Talk random things! But when I talk random things they are not funny… Accept every invitation to party. But some of them are boring… VOLUNTEER at events. Well, that gave me a lot of experiences. Now I know that I have done everything wrong because I tried to imitate others. I would be a much better volunteer if I’ve done things my way. And would have more and better friends if would not volunteer at all.
When I started this blog, I checked some advice how to do that well.
Put your face everywhere! I know this is not my style. I do not trust people who put their face everywhere. Put colorful photos everywhere. I suck at photography, so my site would look lame if I put photos. Tell personal stories! But what others do, they tell what did they eat for breakfast. Or fake exaggerated personal stories, how they realized that helping people is their true calling. I do tell stories, but only those with a real insight. If there is no story – I just draw cute characters.
“Don’t let your fears win!” life gurus say. But what about if you don’t want to do that? Just don’t.
I know people who do not want to travel. Who do not want to have any kind of business. Who do not want to have lots of friends. I am proud of them that they know what they really want (or don’t want).
Yes, understanding what you really don’t want and what is just a fear might be a tricky thing. Knowing how to hear your inner voice might help here a bit (here is the article about inner voice).
What to copy to succeed?
You got right, just copying actions which contradict your inner values will lead to failure.
The logical answer is to copy inner values. They are the energy, the drive that keeps successful people going. Energy is a nice, but vague term, what are the inner values exactly? Is it even possible to copy them?
I can distinguish 4 parts of inner values, but other philosophers or psychologists could do this differently.
1) Wishes, dreams, and ideas
What do you really want in your life, what do you really see in your mind? Often people are not aware what they really want because they don’t analyze their mind (the diary is a good way to start). Even more often they just deny their dreams and wishes in favor of the real world.
Tell me, how can you build a real world house without imagining it before and making a project? There is a big difference between those who accept the world as it is and those who create it.
How can you become rich if you never imagined yourself working hard for the money?
2) Abstract fears
Abstract fear is not a fear to do something. For example, to go to a street and talk to some random people. It is the fear that something will happen to you or the world. Some kind of existential fear – that our life will be meaningless, that we will fail to find our purpose. And that keeps many people focused on their work. An artist is worrying about wasting his creative potential, so he creates day and night. A businessman is worrying about not achieving the success so he is working day and night.
3) Habits of the mind
I already wrote an article about them – our mind is capable of thinking automatically. If the mind is filled with negative thoughts about failure, is it even possible to avoid failure? If the mind is filled with thoughts about overcoming failure – what could we fear?
4) Values and ideals
What’s the difference between values and dreams? A dream is an exact thing you want to happen. A value is something you consider to be important. Value is money, a dream is a business. Value is a friendship, a dream is to have a true friend. Value is an adventure, a dream is to travel the world.
If money is of no value for you how can you become rich? If self-expression is no value for you, how can you become a great artist? (all the art of Salvador Dali was made as a means of self-expression of his personality according to himself) If achievement is of no value for you, how can you become a great sportsman?
Tony Robbins is not a fool. I believe that somewhere deeply he was thinking about copying actions of successful people together with inner values.
But how to make money as your inner value? Or self-expression? Or achievement? Or knowledge? Or even family?
Maybe you don’t need to change your inner values, maybe just need to follow those you already have? Exactly! That’s the point. Many people, especially in the United States believe that they can be whatever they decide. That is not true – there is a subtle difference.
We cannot become whatever we decide, but we can become whatever we want.
Lots of introverts are trying to become more outgoing and more talkative. What a waste of creative energy.
But inner values are ever changing, so you might want to have a little control over that process.
How to change your inner values
Sometimes people look for motivation to take action, but now I say that before rushing to take action, we need to stop a bit.
Try changing your attitude and values first while doing nothing. One day you will not be able to wait anymore and you will start changing the whole freakin’ world without any motivational quotes.
If you think that waiting for that “one day” might take too long, your inner value #2 is kicking in. That’s good. You are on the right way.
1) Have experiences
Have you ever heard of experiences that make people revaluate their values? After a disease, people understand how fragile is their body. After traveling to Africa people understand how rich are they. After an expedition to the mountains, they understand how little they need.
It is not necessary to have such extreme experiences. But the more you have, the better your inner values are shaped. If you want to start a business sell something for 5 dollars on fiverr. How did that feel? If you want to travel the world, travel just across the border first. How did that feel? If you cannot jump, walk slowly, but walk.
2) Consciously change habits
You can try changing your habits. If a person wants to run a marathon but starts dying after one mile, he or she should practice more and get used to running. The same is with every other aspect. Practice practice practice until it becomes a habit.
3) Catch and write down your fears, wishes, and dreams
That’s a subtle task but it is possible – to understand what exactly do you want and what exactly do you fear. Only then you can think about shifting your dreams to another direction. (You might be interested in this free questionnaire – it might help with this task) Write your dreams every evening. Repeat your dreams every morning. Think about your dreams 5 minutes a day. And better try enhancing the dream that is already in you, because trying to implant some alien dream might lead to … well, you already know, failure.
4) Change your environment
“Who you spend time with influences the person you eventually become“, says inspiring introvert Celes on her blog (I’d suggest reading her full article on more exact ideas).
The main point is that how can you copy other people’s inner values if you are not around them? Surround yourself with people with those values you want to copy. If you want to start a business, many businessmen must be around you. If you want to be an artist, the creative mind might be ignited after spending time with other creative folks.
I would elaborate this more. Change the place you live. Move from the city to the countryside if you want to be more peaceful. From the countryside to the city if you want to be more active. Change the environment in your room – make it your secret HQ.
Be mindful about what you read, avoid cheap click-bait articles on internets. Read books about the topic you are really interested.
Copy and paste values.
If you want to be rich – let the work itself be your value. If you want to make arts – let the creativity itself be your value.
Copy energy, not actions.
Copy reason, not goals.
Copy habits, not personality.
Copy attitude and actions will come.