Have you ever read a story, watched a movie, listened to a song or read an article and thought, “This person is just like me,” “This is just like my life!” What, how odd?
We automatically identify strongly with people or characters because they’re similar to ourselves. It could be their personality, background or life experiences that is ‘just like you’.
We feel connected when we read about people like ourselves. Their story relates directly to us and therefore we sit up and listen. Our ears become attuned, our senses become heightened, we listen with great intent, we get absorbed in ‘their’ story which also morphs into ‘our’ story. Often, people like us, those with similar ideas, experiences or ambitions shape our mind the most. Many successful people attest their success to the power of such people. Those whose message and life example impacted their life profoundly.
Oprah strongly identified with her mentor Maya Angelou, a well-spoken, educated, fellow African-American woman whose adversities paralleled some of her own. When Oprah was asked what she would remember most about her mentor, she remarked “How she lived her life.”
Choosing a mentor, or choosing our inspirational idols is not just a matter of just liking them. They help us see something within ourselves, ignite aspects within us that were perhaps dormant or uninspired.
Mahatma Gandhi was the mentor to Martin Luther King Jnr and Nelson Mandela. Christian Dior was the mentor to Yves Saint Laurent, Denzel Washington was mentored by Sidney Poitier, Ralph Waldo Emerson to David Thoreau. Audrey Hepburn mentored Elizabeth Taylor, Mel Gibson mentored Heath Ledger, Warren Buffet mentored Bill Gates. The mentor-list goes on and on.
As Tony Robbins said: “If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll get the same results.”
A story is just a story on its own, but within these stories are the people telling them, the people who have lived them and the people who have found a way to succeed or overcome obstacles. Those who are brave enough to share them often find themselves mentors or inspirations to others. Many of our Yshift authors’ mentor others, help them overcome challenges and meet life with a new inspired vision.
As Marianne Williamson so eloquently wrote in Our Deepest Fear: “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
Our wish is that these Yshift stories give hope. That by shining their own light they inspire others to do the same.