As a kid, when I was scared to jump into the deep end of the pool, I would sit on the edge and watch my brother jump in. There was something about seeing him repeatedly surface unharmed that eventually gave me the courage to take that leap of faith myself.
As a college student, I stress over my future on a regular basis. Where will I end up? What will I be doing? How much money will I be making?
These questions perpetually stir around inside of me, and honestly it’s hard to escape them.
So as I’ve analyzed my own personal situation, I’ve thought about ways to settle the never-ending uneasiness of what the future might hold for me.
I’ve realized the best way to mend apprehension is to witness someone else succeed.
Back when I was building the courage to jump into the pool, I was probably just convinced that the evil monsters beneath the surface of the water didn’t like the taste of my family. However, I like to think there is far more substance and meaning to those nerve-racking pool days leading up to my big jump.
My brother was able to influence me into doing something I feared more than anything, simply by doing it himself.
He never pressured me to try, he never mocked me for being afraid, and I’m fairly certain he has no idea he played a role in the process at all. He jumped, and that’s all it took.
With this memory fresh in my mind, I read a recent article written by fellow opinions columnist Hector Quesada on whether or not athletes should be looked to as role models.
Hector submitted that athletes shouldn’t have to be role models, and they’re typically bad ones to begin with.
Even as an athlete, I couldn’t agree more with this stance, and in union with my riveting childhood pool story, Hector’s article sparked and elicited my realization of who true role models are.
My brother was a role model that day at the pool, not because of some uncanny ability to launch himself into a body of water and create tsunami-like waves, but because he empowered me to do something new and challenging.
Role models are individuals that produce inspiration not by being good at what they do, but by taking their craft and elevating it to levels of unknown stature.
I aspire to be the next Jack White because he can internalize notes and words and in turn construct pieces of alternative rock that can simultaneously punch me in the gut and pat me on the back.
I aspire to be the next Hans Zimmer because he can score music that audibly defines "Inception."
I aspire to be the scientist who in the future will find a cure for the cancerous diseases sweeping our world, which are selfishly taking away good and innocent people.
Role models put fear aside, move past adversity and take things to the next level.