By: Zamani Thomas
We all have our role models and those we look up to. And at times we gather these individuals as if they are playing cards to be stored, brandished then sometime in the future exhibited again. It’s important for us to have people we cherish and respect for they are the ones guiding us along our path through human-hood. To say role models are not important would be a grave mistake and inexcusable disrespect to all the dignified mothers, fathers, teachers, etc. out there that have lent their lives to support our nurturing.
The above paragraph holding true, we must be cognizant not to ignore the comfort we take at times in being compared to our mentors and even following them to the ends of the earth. Yet it’s our uniqueness, moreover our ability to break free of the boundaries our teachers use to discipline and guide us while staying true to the core principles they have instilled that truly makes us, us.
One repays a teacher badly if one always remains a student ~ Fidrich Nietzche
There wouldn’t be growth if we all aimed to reach the ideals of our predecessors, no matter how great or accomplished their legacies may be. Pushing forward and creating your own brand is the way to guarantee the evolution of not only one’s self but one’s community and in turn the species as a whole. Being the greatest person that ever lived is not the goal we should be fixated on, instead being the greatest you… And yes I know that sounds cliché but why should something be reworded if it already speaks the truth.
Man cannot endure his own littleness unless he can translate it into meaningfulness on the largest possible level ~ Ernest Becker
Once we come to grips with the contradiction and synchronization between our miniscule footprints in the universe yet potentially immense impact on our social and community units we can begin to realize our true value. My take on this is that seeking fame for fame’s sake rather than honestly earning respect within your chosen field or specialty is a dishonest journey to embark on. Dishonest not only to those you attempt to attract towards you and your fifteen minutes, but also to yourself in as much as knowing your worth is tied strictly to other’s perception of you rather than their respect for what you do and how you do it.
So what is the answer to all this existential commentary I‘ve offered above? As discussed in previous writings; I’m not going to give an answer, rather an opinion because isn’t that all we can offer?
So here goes… Be yourself and no one else. Take the greatness from your teacher’s lessons and improve on them. If your role model is Nelson Mandela, Beyonce, Will Smith, or Michelle Obama, seek their words for advice and guidance, but aim to be better than they ever were. In doing so you will realize your growth will supersede their teachings and you will inevitably have your own mentees following and hanging onto your own words. A snippet from a previous article of mine “Show Them how Great You Are” speaks to this below:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~ Marianne Williamson
If looked up you would find my first name, Zamani of Swahili origin is defined as, “A Long Time Ago” and middle name Themba, “Trust, Hope and Faith” yet that wouldn’t let you in on who the person I am is just as telling you who I regarded as a mentor wouldn’t explain all that I am. We are who we are. As beautiful as the names and definitions may be; saying Zamani Themba the person is not a simple translation of “A Long Time Ago there was Trust, Hope and Faith.”
The true translation of mine and all our names is the life we lead and people we impact along the way. I’m a son, brother, friend, teacher and more and all those things bundled up are what my name represents nothing more or less and that should be cherished because it’s something that has taken my lifetime to build. We shouldn’t seek out shallow applause nor undue pity, instead thirst for an honest assessment of who we are.
I am ______________ and I want my name to mean Me…