In chapter 2.3 Imitation of my book "Some things you should know before you turn 30" I talk about how influential imitation can be. We imitate on a daily Basis. What does this mean for our life and success?

上行下效 shàng xíng xià xiào

上 shàng - up
行 xíng - move
下 xià - down
校 xiào - effect

Basically, whatever the superior person does, how he moves or behaves, the person below will follow, imitate, and experience similar results.

Superior: Government, parents, teacher, supervisor

Follower: Citizen, children, students, employees

Every one of us learns through imitation first. We consciously and unconsciously pick things up around us and make it our own, if we stay in a certain environment long enough. We learn to walk and talk by imitating our parents and family members. This process is the same when we are adults, through that we become like those we associate with. Got it? The concept is the same everywhere.

Does the saying "Like father like son!" sound familiar? This saying might not just refer to genetics that were passed on, but also it to a particular behaviour or thinking pattern. For instants, just visualize how parents do certain things in the kitchen, how they talk to strangers, how they do anything! Does your dad read the newspaper in a certain body position? Does your mom have a particular way of handling certain situations? Have a look, maybe you recognize some traits that you took on without even knowing.

Let me give you another example how strong imitation can be, especially when we are young. I remember when I was four or five years old. My dad used to wear leather shoes with a specific pattern on them with two straps tied to knots dangling around on top. Of course, my brother Christopher and I were watching my dad preparing to go to work and putting on his shoes every day. This shoes belonged to my dad, so we called them "papa shoes". We somehow managed to get our mother to buy the same shoes for us in the small version, so that we could show off with them at kindergarten. I know that it made me especially proud because only "grown-ups" like my dad would wear them. "What kind of shoes are these?"; my kindergarten teacher asked us in front of the class. "Papa shoes", my brother and I answered proudly. We somehow managed to create a buzz, as after that, many other kids also needed to have these "papa shoes". They were a must-have! "Papa-shoes" were the way to go. All this buzz just because of the two of us observing my dad putting on his shoes before going to work. I am sure you get the point of this little anecdote. Imitation of the tiniest thing, right or wrong, can MAKE OR BREAK everything. Start imitating the best people.

Read more in "Some things you should know before you turn 30"

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