My Take on Role Models

For some time now, I've had a couple people that I put up as "role models". I found some aspect of their life worth emulating or taking some important lesson from them. Having one person never seemed to make sense to me because there are so many facets to a person's life that every part of theirs would not apply to me and vice versa. The other thing that struck me was even with the respect I had for certain people, they all seemed to have some sort of shortcoming. Something that I did not want to emulate. Here's three of the four that I put into that category.

Steve Jobs

The Good - Love Apple products or hate them, you have to appreciate the immense attention to detail and design that goes into them. The design process that he employed of trying to simplify something for the general consumer is really impressive. His ability to market them was equally as impressive. Especially for any IT professional, reading Steve Job's biography by Isaacson should be required reading.

The Bad - Abrasive and dictatorial to people is probably the best way to sum it up. For all the cool things he did with design, he was really not very nice to people who worked for him or he worked with. The killer is some people try to emulate this part of him rather than the design aspect.

My Dad (Yeah, good old cliche role model)

The Good - Awesome work ethic. I owe a lot of the reason I've been successful in life so far to believing that I don't deserve anything, I have to earn it or work for it. As an attitude that seems to be lacking today, this has been helpful in getting ahead.

The Bad - See Steve Jobs regarding his work personality.

Joe Paterno

The Good - Believed that a good education and being a good athlete (I was never athletic, but hey, whatev) were not mutually exclusive. In a world run by people who were skating through school, this was/is (and hopefully still will be) a refreshing change of pace. He also believed in giving back to the community in ways that would really help people. Between Special Olympics, Lift for Life, THON, the Library, the Interfaith Chappel, etc. giving back to people for things like this is inspirational. That in and of itself is not different from other people with money, but when you put everything together, it's just another piece of something to respect.

NOTE: I am purposely dodging the events of the last nine months or so since "IT" on purpose. There's numerous other threads where this has been hashed and rehashed. I was trying to focus on things aside from "IT" for this discussion. I know it's a big part, but I think we're all running on empty in that department. Please post pictures of kittens, bunnies or puppies in lieu of thoughts on that.

The Bad - Loyal to a fault. Don't get me wrong, loyalty is not a bad thing. At times though, it was frustrating watching a player who likely would be able to perform and seeing them sitting on the bench or not in the game. Much like many things there's a balance.

Regardless of anyone's opinion of anyone they admire, they will always have faults of some sort. The best thing to do is see them as a person, take the good and learn from the bad. I thought of it as how I can make myself a better person rather than it being about respect for a role model. Please do not take this as a knock on anyone or their role model. This is just my thinking and was something I came to a decision about a good bit ago.

Feel free to poke holes and share your role models and why they are if you wish.

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