034: Understanding Ourselves by Looking at the People We Admire


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Using the things we admire in others as a tool for discovering our own unique selves.

When we are born we aren’t given a manual which tells us the person that we are. No one else can tell us the unique things we hold inside of ourselves or how we feel like expressing it.

Knowing these things is part of the process of self-discovery.

Today I’d like to share a tool with you that has made it much easier for me to dive into myself and discover my inherent ways of being and expression.

The tool itself is just a simple list of the people you admire. However, instead of stopping there, by looking more closely at exactly which aspects of a person we admire we can learn which part of us is admiring those parts in them.

In this episode I share with you the people I admire at the moment and go through the process of identifying exactly what it is I admire about each of them.

Knowing what we admire in others puts us in a position to be able to make more energising and fulfilling decisions for ourselves more often.

Join me as I go through my own discovery process using this tool.

Highlights and Takeaways

  • The aspects you notice in other people are personal to you. Someone else will admire different qualities in that same person.
  • Self-doubt will make it hard to see the connection between what you admire in someone else and what you feel you have inside yourself.
  • Becoming aware of why you admire certain aspects of a person will let you know a lot about yourself.
  • Authentic expression is so intriguing to witness because it’s an individual’s unique expression that is made up of all their past experiences in life and coming out in a never before seen flow.
  • Use writing to explore the aspects you admire in others, it makes the process easier.
  • You’ll begin to notice themes in what you admire in others and see who you are more clearly.

Show Notes

Make a List of 5 People You Admire [02:14]

These are people which make you stop and go wow! The list is not in hierarchical order, it’s simply a collection of five people you greatly admire.

This list of people will change overtime, but the things you admire in others won’t really change that much.

You can use this list to look at the people you admire and use them as signposts which point you to your inherent interests in life; the things that make you stop and be very present in life, the things which peak your curiosity.

My List of 5 [05:10]

I’m going to run through my own list and show you how I go into each person and identify what exactly I admire about them.

We usually admire specific aspects about a person and not everything that person is doing.

The aspects I admire in another reflect the parts inside myself which are noticing these aspects.

Nils Frahm [06:36]

Nils Frahm Is a composer and musician who lives in Berlin. I admire the way he composes music, I admire the way he performs live on stage. I admire his stage presence because he’s not trying to prove anything to anyone, he’s simply grounded within himself.

He’s not thinking about messing up, he’s not thinking about what the audience thinks of his music. He’s sitting there and letting his creative energy flow through him and allowing that to be translated onto the instrument in front of him.

I notice particular things about him. Why is it I’m noticing his self-grounding and how unaffected he is by hundreds of people watching him play? The things I admire are about him are personal to me. Someone else might watch his performance and notice his fluid movement between the instruments – this could be something I haven’t noticed at all.

I’m noticing particular things about him because they are pointing back to things inside myself. It’s like a mirror.

The things we are admiring in other people are already inside of us.

This might be hard to believe if self-doubt is present. However it’s the self-doubt which is creating the block between the things we admire in others and unlocking those things for ourselves.

Nicolas Jaar [10:17]

Nicolas Jaar is an electronic music producer who lives in New York city. He produces experimental electronic music with an organic quality to it. His BBC Essential Mix is an incredible example of his creative work.

I’m noticing similar themes between what I admire in Nicolas Jaar and Nils Frahm. I admire their ability to remain grounded within themselves which results in little concern for what other people are thinking about their musical creations; this provides the space for their organic creations to unfold.

I’m seeing a strong theme of not caring about what other people think.

I admire people who are just being themselves with a natural flow of authenticity. This happens because there’s no fear of judgment from others.

I admire these qualities within Nils Frahm and Nicolas Jaar because they are within myself.

I’m not saying I’m going to become the next Nils Frahm and Nicolas Jaar. I can’t replicate their unique abilities. However, the qualities I admire in them are already within me and combine and interact with all of my other abilities and interests to form my unique expression of creativity.

Conor McGregor [14:09]

Conor McGregor is a UFC fighter.

I am not a fan of fighting but something grabbed me when I saw a picture of Conor just after he’d won the Featherweight Championship. He was roaring in this picture and the raw power of that image grabbed me. I watched a few of his fights and the way he was fighting intrigued me.

I admire his clear vision of how his fights will go. He see’s himself winning the fight and also the way in which he’ll win it. There’s no doubt in his mind that he will be successful, it’s already a reality to him. I’ve watched a few press interviews with him and he is saying that he can already feel the Championship Belt around his waist. When you watch him fighting you can see the entire energy of his body is directed towards that one outcome.

Because this isn’t a common trait in other fighters or other people you can see some fear creep into them because they are not used to that level of authentic power of such known success. They start freaking out, they start doubting their own ability to be successful. And this is why he wins the majority of his fights.

I admire his present moment awareness while he’s in the ring. He doesn’t get ahead of himself by thinking or hoping of a certain outcome. He’s in the moment and accepting everything as it is. There’s no fear within him and he’s just focused on the very next moment.

What he’s doing in the ring doesn’t require thinking. People are amazed with the timing and precision of his punches but that level of timing and precision does not come from the analytical mind. The thinking mind works too slowly for that.

Conor isn’t thinking he’s sensing the energy of the other fighter with his whole being. –This is clearly my interpretation of what’s going on but I’d like to think it’s pretty close. In any case, it brings me back to my point. The things I admire within this man are things I already have within myself.

There’s two main things I admire:
His present moment awareness and how that allows all of his skills to fly.
His complete knowing that he will be successful. That sentence is a bit of a paradox because the outcome is already a reality to him and now his actions are simply aligning with that reality.

Chris Joslin [20:11]

Chris Joslin is a skateboarder.
Backstory: I used to skateboard. I was never really that good, certainly nowhere near a professional level. But I still watch skateboarding videos every so often to chill out and relax, and that’s how I discovered Chris Joslin.

I was watching a major skateboarding competition which had some big corporate sponsors, and in the competition are some of the world’s greatest skateboarders and Chris had been labeled the ‘Rookie’ in this competition, this was his first major competition but that wasn’t affecting him at all.

He was just waiting his turn to skate. And I really admire that because it’s not like going out an skating with friends, it’s going out with 100,000 people watching you and trying to land some of the most difficult tricks in the world.

Despite all of that pressure, Chris remains unaffected because he knows what he’s capable of and remains calm and confident. He doesn’t land every trick he attempts but most of the time he will.

He is not in a mind-space of, what can I do to impress people? If he performed tricks from that space it may look nice technically but lack the authentic expression of his energy.

It’s so amazing to witness authentic expression because you are witnessing a flow that is so unique and never been seen before, because the combination of the person’s personality, early childhood memories, their hardships and successes, all of these experiences combine to make up this unique individual and how they are now expressing themselves.

Tony Robbins [23:38]

Tony Robbins is a life coach and inspirational speaker. I recently watched I Am Not Your Guru which documents one of his multi-day workshops, Date with Destiny. In this workshop he acts as a catalyst for people who want to alter the course of their lives (their destiny) by changing their core behaviours.

Tony is larger than life. His energy is of knowing what he is going to do, not trying to do, what he is going to do – his knowing of that allows his natural caring, compassionate energy to come forth and help the person in front of him.

He uses unconventional ways to bring people through their blocks. He will insult people to wake people up out of their conditioned pattern of behaviour, he snaps them out of this using very abrasive language. He hasn’t read that in a book. That is his unique creative drive and the way he operates. The thing I admire about Tony Robbins is that he is being true to himself. If he wants to swear he’ll swear.

The other thing I noticed is that he is working out his approach in the moment. And he’s fine with that. He’s not thinking I don’t know how to help this person; he’s thinking I AM helping this person! – Even though he knows that he is still in the present moment and reading the other person and trying out different approaches with them. Sometimes he will begin a strong abrasive approach and then realise the person needs more care and tenderness and not so much force. At that point he’ll adapt and change his approach.

I admire his present moment awareness and how it allows him to adapt in a way that is most beneficial for helping another person.

He is completely dedicated to discovering and going into what this person needs in the moment to heal and understand themselves.

Summary of My List of 5 [28:43]

Nils Frahm – I admire his self-grounded stage presence.

Nicolas Jaar – I admire his organic creativity and his fearless creative experimentation with music.

Conor McGregor – I admire his in the moment adaptation, much like Tony Robbins, and creative fighting skills and clear knowing that his success is already a reality.

Chris Joslin – being true to his own creative expression on a skateboard and performing without pressure in front of large audiences.

Tony Robbins – I admire his heartfelt dedication to help as many people as he can so they can come onto their path of their fullest expression.

You can explore the things you admire in people using the tool of writing.

  • Ask yourself: what is it I admire about this person?
  • Then: why is it I admire this quality in this person?

You’ll Begin to Notice Themes [31:21]

For me I notice themes of present moment awareness, sureness of success, dedication to a heartfelt cause, and fear-free expression that comes from a place doubt-free self-grounding.

Through all the people I admire I can see common themes that are within me. So I can be assured that the path I’m on and the things I’m drawn to are going to feature some of the things I admire in others.

I can use this information to make better decisions for myself more often. By understanding more about myself I am in an empowered position to make choices which touch on these elements.

Understanding more of who you are already inside, gives you clarity to make better choices for yourself more often.

Mentioned in This Episode

The Podcast

The B is for Being Podcast is a collection of conversations with friends, psychologists, and thought-leaders on the most effective tools for uncovering authentic expression and navigating the obstacles we may encounter on the way to discovering ourselves.

About Benjamin

Hi, I’m Benjamin. I podcast and blog about authentic expression and self-discovery. I also make slow-videos for rest and reflection. You can read more about me here.

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