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Tom’s Fitness & Paris Martial Arts

Modeling Behavior Can Be Healthy

Posted: August 20, 2015

“I’ll have what she’s having.” If you’re “forty something” or older, you probably remember this line from the 1989 movie “When Harry Met Sally.” Starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, it was a romantic comedy about good friends that finally discover they’re much more than that. 

The #33 movie line of all time (in the top 100) was delivered during the deli scene by an unknown woman at another table (actually Director Rob Reiner’s mother). After watching Meg Ryan’s prolonged “moment of bliss” while eating, the woman wryly says, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Like most things that are funny, it actually has a basis in truth. It’s human nature to want some of the good things we see. Now we’re not supposed to covet these things, or take them improperly, but we CAN be inspired by them. We can work to earn them ourselves, right?

But how do you get there? What do you do to get similar results? It’s pretty simple. Assuming it’s something moral you’re wanting, just do what they do. We’ve all seen people do this many times. 

When you do it on your own, it’s called modeling behavior. If you get their help in the process, it’s called mentoring (in the old days, it was called an apprenticeship). When you want to do a turnaround in business, you “bring in a rainmaker.” 

You can try to figure everything out from scratch, but why would you? Most times its just much more efficient to copy someone else (just don’t do it in class during a test). Do what they do. 

You do have to use some judgement who you’re modeling. Noted financial guru Dave Ramsey often says, “You don’t go to a fat person to help you lose weight. Neither do you go to someone who’s broke to teach tell you how to deal with money.” 

Years ago, I learned I could go to martial arts seminars and come back with TWO things: 1) The actual seminar material or course content; and 2) All the “other” things, like HOW they taught, and the different personal traits that made them good at what they do. 

When I did this, I could come back after just a few days and offer something completely different. I couldn’t DO it as well as they did, but I could begin to teach like they did. If I did what they did, I could teach like a master, even though I wasn’t one. 

So I did. I did it long enough that later, I actually became one, mainly because I kept on doing it, and just never quit. Actually, those are two other pretty critical things in there, but that’s another article! Later, I developed my own set of characteristics that made me unique, and that’s how it works. 

You can do it too. Find out what you want to do, and then go find someone who already does it. Do what they do. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you just may reinvent yourself!