As we go through life, most of us try to find our way. Sometimes we think about it in a philosophical way, but that’s basically what we are trying to do.
Life requires us to face obstacles, and most of us try desperately to find some way through the mess, preferably a way that causes us a minimum of suffering and produces a maximum of fulfillment.
Today I’m going to share my thoughts on how to identify people who can help us make our way through life in a fulfilling way.
I’m going to share with you some tips on how to spot them and then how to emulate them.
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Now let’s talk about:
Lights in the Fog
Recently, my wife and I returned to Utah from Idaho.
We started the journey on a very rainy afternoon. The rain came down so hard we could hardly see the road ahead of us at times.
The only thing shining through the mist on the freeway were the lights of the car in front of us.
That drive reminded me of a similar time in Utah during the winter.
Snow fell heavily, obscuring visibility and the only shining through was the lights of the car in front of us.
During each of these experiences, the car felt eerie.
I felt as though there was nothing but white and those lights in the fog.
You feel as though you might get lost and never be found. You can’t stop though, for fear of losing those lights in the fog.
They pull you forward, hopefully to safety, but inevitably forward.
In those instances, you have no guidepost, except those lights in the fog.
Just like me and my wife driving in our car, we all have lights in the fog that help us move forward and arrive at our destination in a pleasing way.
I believe that these lights in the fog are people who have been able to traverse life’s paths well.
They have found a way that is good and admirable, and we may, if we choose, walk in their steps.
How to Identify Them
Not every person you know is worthy of being held up as an example.
Some people do not live up to their potential.
This in no way means their human value is less, but their capacity to lead others and provide good examples is diminished.
How then do you determine which examples to emulate, which lights in the fog to follow?
Here are some tips.
1. Determine Your Destination
Above all else, you have to decide where you want to end up.
If you do not distinguish between the outcomes of two life choices, then the choice itself doesn’t matter.
Judiciously decide on what you value. You don’t “find out” what you value. Decide.
2. Look at the People You Know
Once you know where you want to end up, start looking around at the people you know. Identify those people who are or have the things you admire.
Make sure to never devalue someone, but notice which behaviors and attributes lead to more long term fulfillment.
Make sure you get the full story and not just the facade of a person as demonstrated on social media.
3. Learn about History
The next place to look for lights in the fog is in the annals of history.
History has been shaped by people who demonstrate character or denigrate it.
People like Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, and others can give you excellent examples of how to live your life.
4. Read Books
Reading is usually how you will find those excellent examples.
Through books you can both discover examples of the past and current beacons of light.
It’s a lot cheaper than hiring them to mentor you too. Explore and see which behaviors resonate with your values.
5. Listen to Podcasts
Here’s a shameless plug, but listen to podcasts. Those that feature interviews like mine are designed to showcase the best of humankind.
One of my favorites is the Order of Man podcast that interviews men of high calibre.
Podcasts can be a great way to learn about people who can really shine in the darkness to give you a way when you don’t have one.
How to Emulate Them
Now that you’ve identified people who can be lights in the fog for you, you need to figure out what behaviors you want to emulate and how to do so.
Here’s how to do that.
1. Spend Time Around Them
The first thing to do is to spend time around them.
If they are historical figures or otherwise out of physical reach, spend time around them mentally, observe the content they put out into the world.
Get a full bearing of the type of person they are.
2. Decide What you Want to Emulate
As mentioned above, not every person is worthy of emulation.
Likewise, many behaviors are similarly unworthy, even from an exemplary person.
Decide which behaviors are suited to the person you’d like to become and emulate those and only those.
3. Test the Behaviors
Test and measure. Make sure that the behaviors you emulate produce the desired results (a more fulfilling life).
If you find that the behaviors do not produce the outcome you desire, change the behaviors and implement new ones.
Follow the Lights
You will likely face times of darkness.
The path will be obscured and the way will be faded. In those times find the lights in the fog that can lead to a joyful destination.
Do not follow false lights but identify true guides. To do that,
1. Determine your destination
2. Look at the People you know
3. Learn about History
4. Read Books
5. Listen to Podcast
Once you’ve found your lights, learn how to follow them.
1. Spend time around them
2. Identify the behaviors you want to emulate
3. Test those behaviors
Doing this will get you through the storm and the fog. You’ll reach your destination and find yourself a better person for doing so.
Thanks for reading this article. If you want more content like this, make sure to subscribe to the podcast to never miss an episode.
Each Monday, I interview people who can function as lights in the fog for you. Make sure you listen up and see how to change your life.