Bubble Man eBay Burst Role Model Image

Role Model – Who do you Choose?

Dollar Flipper Musings 9 Comments

How do you choose a role model for yourself? There are endless self-help gurus. Television throws politicians, activists, movie stars, writers in our faces. There are books that you can find about any type of person. There are role models if you’re technical, creative instead, or only improving your household. This can be a good thing.

Having so many options can also be overwhelming too. How do you decide who’s the right person to focus on? Which habits of theirs do you want to emulate? Where’s the best bang for your buck? Removing bad habits? Increasing good ones?

I don’t think I have any answers to these questions. They can all be helpful depending on the situation. Instead, I’m going to continue to talk real things. Ways that work well, don’t work well, and maybe a little bit of both at the same time.

After finishing Walter Isaacson’s book, The Innovators, I’ve been on a role model kick. The book looks at how the computer and the internet got invented. Large scale innovation is not the work of one or two people. It’s built upon the foundations of a lot of other work. Maybe the big names aren’t the best role models?

Bubble Man eBay Burst Role Model Image

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that role model of yours has issues like everyone else. And that’s OK.

In most cases, we remember the most outspoken, the faces of each of these big changes. These can be the CEOs, they can be the marketing people, maybe even the ones in commercials. But they are just the front end. There are many people who helped added smaller, but important contributions along the way to innovation. Without these people, the improvement and innovation would not have worked so well.

Role Model – Behind the Scenes

I’ve already ranted about Facebook. All we’re seeing when we go on Facebook is a filtered insight into someone’s life. The best parts, the best pictures, the best adventures. The Karate Kid would be proud.

We’re seeing the pictures of awesome their kid is, but the tantrums are missing. We’re focusing on graduation, not the failed tests or the rejection letters. A professor recently published a failure CV which has gotten more attention than his real one!

eBay isn’t so different.  Once you sell something online, you realize that the part the customer sees is just the tip of the iceberg.

When I tell friends or family that I sell on eBay or that I paid for my doors using eBay money, they see all the benefits. They see the end result. All too often, we forget about the journey. I’ve shown my eBay process and work that go into getting one item to someone’s door. Researching, cleaning, photographing, measuring, storing, listing, inventory tracking, and shipping. These little steps that get an item online and finally at someone’s door. Being aware of the little things makes you appreciate the big things even more. And that’s why it might not be best to choose that forward facing person as your role model.

You hear all the stories about how Steve Jobs was a complete asshole. We see the results of Robin Williams failing to cope with severe depression. Celebrity icons do a lot of good things, but in the end, we need to choose a role model that works for us.

This is a fine line. If you only set goals within your own expected limits, you might sell yourself short. Instead, if you see that someone else has done something, then you start thinking, “why can’t I do that too?”

Communities like the ones at Scavenger Life prove this. Tracking your goals and sharing your knowledge helps others. Mustachians and their forum are another group that thrives through constant improvement. The mutual benefit of showing what you can do and seeing what others have already done is impressive.

I’d recommend choosing a stretch role model. If you want to build an online empire, you might want to start with someone who has a mildly popular website. Then as you grow, you even look towards a major CEO. But make sure to follow their whole progression to that point. There were a lot of little steps along the way, and you can use that as a guide to your path.

Who’s your role model? Just a flavor of the month or a long lasting one?

Image Credit: Jeremy Fennell

Comments 9

  1. Great post! And oh so true about these tiny glimpses of a whole picture. I have been an Ebay seller for 14 years. I love to keep up with your blog, Scavenger Life and several others because it’s a community of like-minded people who know all of the in’s/outs and up’s/down’s of this business. You all help keep me focused and energized to keep movin’ along.
    Very much unlike the fashion blogs, facebook, etc…that really just make me feel badly about myself. What a time suck! Wish I would have focused all the wasted time on Ebay. Live and learn =)
    Thanks for a great post!

    1. Post

      RIGHT! I think the worst part is that the activation energy to go onto Facebook is just so low. I’ll make an excuse to do it if I only have a few minutes. I’m not going to go down into the basement and start researching an item. I’ve also been trying to get better about phones around the kids. It’s definitely a different change compared to previous generations, but it’s something that needs to be done since my kids absorb my actions like a damn sponge!

  2. Trump – the Donald is definitely my role model.


    Like most people, I have several role models whom I seek to emulate in various areas of my life. My grandfather remains the most important role model I have ever had due to his tireless work ethic and opportunistic views. Grandpa wasn’t perfect, but if I turn out to be half as successful as he was, I’ll be thrilled.

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      Finding out how your grandparents aren’t perfect is a weird feeling. Similar to parents. I think it’s important to show your children that you’re working to become better most times, and to apologize when you screw up. Glad your Grandpa is such a great role model!

  3. My role model is actually just the whole personal finance blog community. I cant find any people locally to me that have similar goals on finances and stuff from me but I can find them all over the internet and I love reading blogs like this and all the other ones to see what people are up to these days and what they are doing to improve their lives.

    Its great!

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      It is pretty incredible. I love talking to the Gen-Xers and the Baby Boomers who just didn’t have this type of information available to them. It’s a lot easier to hear about options from a larger group than just from your drunk uncle during the holidays!

  4. It might be cliche but my role model was my granddad. Lived through harrowing experiences in the Depression and WW2 before passing away. Saved every dollar he earned but generous with family and his time. Wouldn’t have been frugal without him

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      That’s a great story Travis. When you think about the struggles that were going on just a few generations ago (and still going on in a lot of the world), it’s crazy.

  5. I have to say that my role models are currently non-fiction books, and blogs of people and communities that cover topics that I’m currently passionate about…and not really any one person (although I do enjoy biographies, but haven’t read any recently). Although I too have some people that I admire. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on topics that I’d love to improve on. I’ve been doing a lot of studying and reading about simple and sustainable living, amish family values, minimalism, early retirement, ebay sellling, permaculture and gardening.

    But when it comes to people, I find that I really enjoying spending time with older people who have so much more life experience. I love listening to their stories and wisdom. So much gold to glean from older people!

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