The Way I Was

X is for Xerox: duplicate that which is admirable

IMG_0002This series is an alphabetical exploration of 26 options for living well, despite everything. It answers the question–How can we live well, despite problems?  Xerox the good; copy that which is admirable.  “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” That’s such an old saying, no one knows who said it first. “Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery — it’s the sincerest form of learning.” George Bernard Shaw said that. Because we’re social creatures, we don’t become ourselves entirely by ourselves. We pattern ourselves after other people’s teachings. We learn the basic of everything we know and do–

  • speaking a language;
  • skipping rope;
  • solving a multiplication problem;
  • dribbling a basketball;
  • which necklace or tie to wear with which outfit for which occasion;
  • when to do the dishes;
  • how to talk trash and how to pronounce blessings;

–we learn everything through imitation. It is only after we master a subject that we become free to intelligently add our own flourishes, our personal style. Essentially, we a very much like the people who surround us. Whether we do so consciously or unconsciously, we choose the people who surround us, those whom we will inevitably imitate. We hang out with the people we like (because we either are, or aspire to be, like them). I am my own programmer. If I hang out with low-minded, mean-spirited, hate-filled, dishonest, cynical, fatalistic, greedy people, or if I read their books, listen to their broadcasts and watch their movies, then the accumulated output of my actions will be rubbish.  (GIGO–garbage-in-garbage-out, explains that we do what we’re programmed to do).  I want to live my life consciously. I will choose decent people to imitate. I want to spend my time with those who possess humility, patience and compassion, perform good deeds, do excellent work, and treat others with kindness and generosity. The Xerox factor means that when I act like my generous role models, I become benevolent. When I behave like the heroes I admire, I become lionhearted. If I spend my life studying the behavior of noble people and if emulate their deeds, I will have lived a life worthy of praise.

Whom do you aspire to imitate? 

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14 thoughts on “X is for Xerox: duplicate that which is admirable”

  1. I can’t believe that you’ve made your way all to “X” Tracy! This series has been so much fun to follow. I couldn’t agree more with your observation that we inevitably imitate people who surround us. I feel that as I’ve grown a little older, I’ve made a more conscious choice to surround myself with people that I appreciate and enjoy being around. When making new friendships, I’m much more selective about who I want to spend my time with.

    1. One of the blessings of getting older, I think, is that we (hopefully) develop a deeper awareness of how much choice we really have.

      I can’t believe I’ve made to to “X” already, either. It’s been quite a journey.

      1. I’m sad to think of it winding down to a close. Maybe you can start a new series beginning with number one! I do like your thought about aspiring to be like certain people.

    1. I’m feeling rather elated about it Julian. When I was younger I had a hard time finishing large/long projects. These days it’s much easier. I think having the perspective of age helps. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Shaw–or whoever said it–was right on target, Tracy.
    You’ve done a terrific job with your alphabet. I look forward to Y and Z, and I’m excited to see what’s next. You definitely make a positive influence through your words.

  3. Good points Tracy, we don’t always like to think that we aren’t totally unique, when in fact we’re a mish-mash of the good and bad parts we’ve picked up from others with our own unique spin added.

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