The law of emulation simply says that if a person can achieve something, anyone can. I can already hear all the skeptics out there:
“Now, wait a minute mister. You can’t say that! Impaired people, for example, would not be able to achieve the same objectives that a highly performing non-impaired athlete would.”
“People born in richer families, countries, environments, have more privileges compared to others who don’t.”
Some of this may be true, but some may be extremely surprising and pleasant. I’m talking about impaired athletes who achieve the extraordinary or people who against all odds can reach ultimate mental, emotional, physical, social, or financial success.
Sometimes it’s the miserable condition itself that drives these accomplishments.
The Law of Emulation
To clarify, I will be talking about the law of emulation for the majority of folks, and not the outliers. See the shaded area under the Gaussian Bell Curve:
Steve Andreas in The New Technology of Achievement explains that:
Emulation is used by business people (for example) as they mimic the behavior, the clothing, drinking habits, and even gestures and tone of voice of leaders in the field. All these add up to the effort of trying to impersonate the expert.
What’s the purpose, you ask?
I believe the purpose would be to get the same results as the expert does.
Broadly, this may work. I say “broadly” because even though you imitate what others do, your personal interpretation, or what I would like to call the unique filtering, is different from the expert’s.
So, it’s okay to do what great accomplishers do, as long as you use the gift that evolution in coalition with God gave you: your neo-cortex.
To illustrate: If Tim Ferriss talks about working four hours a week and generating at least 10 times as much the average persona does with 10 times as little effort, it (under no circumstances) means that if you copy what he does, you will get the same results.
Instead, if you take a step back and allow yourself the luxury of analyzing how this guy got from a fairly average condition to an excellent condition (in terms of productivity), you may get there too.
Of course, this involves making time investments; meanwhile, human beings like to see results overnight. I would not call this sanity.
I’m a firm promoter of the law of emulation. This doesn’t mean that you have to be too. But look at the amazing folks who validated this law throughout modern history:
Alexander the Great had the role model of his father. His achievements were greater than his father’s. Remember the battle with Darius III, king of Persia. He stood no chance. Yet, he won.
Mozart, who struggled under the greediness of his father and the habitual (and boring) music he had to play for years until unleashing his genius. Mozart devoured the teachings of other musicians contemporary to him, as well as the teachings of great musicians throughout history.
Charles Darwin, the pathless young fellow who could not seem to find his way in life and who was frustrated until embarking on the amazing journey. It took him more than a year after embarking to put in huge social and intellectual efforts to start seeing results in what he did and to start clearly viewing his purpose in life.
Look at Roger Bannister, the first one to break the 4 minute mile (which was considered impossible). He raised the bar high enough and a year after his accomplishment other athletes followed his record and even surpassed it. People now run ultra-endurance challenges in shorter and shorter times.
Look at memory championships, chess games, artificial intelligence, and so on. Human and technological advancements all follow Moore’s Law, that of exponential growth.
There are several things supporting the achievement of these great human beings. One of them is flow, the state of laser focus and time disappearance. More about it: here.
Few people experience flow nowadays. Those who do, you know their story.
What about You?
I believe that you are privileged and you may not know it. The daily habits you engage in and the possible de-motivating environment you live in may prevent you from achieving amazing results.
To get there, you only need a target. Your target is your purpose in life. Or, at least one of them. If you have the target, then stick with me. If you don’t, then keep digging.
Basic Assumptions of Mental Programming
Let’s see the generic rules (steps) behind programming yourself to succeed. Thanks Steve Andreas and Charles Faulkner.
1. The map is not the territory
Your mental map of the world is just a map. It is not what the world really is. It is merely your own perception of reality and it can sometimes be sane while some other times it can be entirely fucked up.
How to get a more accurate map?
Release the ego from inside of you. Stop judging things. Just observe. (abstract)
Do you find this difficult?
That’s probably why amazing achievements are available mostly to those who keep pushing through adversity no matter what.
2. Experience is usually structured
There is a structure in the thoughts, feelings, and emotions coming from your brain. They are triggered throughout the entire body following a flexible and plastic pattern. It is the nature of biology and the law of conservation of energy.
Changing the input you give to your mind and forcing the change (as it is against nature) is key to changing habits. See the dys-inhibition blog to get a better understanding.
3. If someone can achieve something, anyone can
The law of emulation itself. Healthy human beings are 99.9% identical in terms of their DNA structure. So, genetic validation is there.
You are equipped with the same engine other people are. The difference is in the fuel your engine is powered with.
4. The mind and the body are part of the same system
Learn to use them synergistically. When there’s incompatibility between thoughts, feelings, and actions, the entire servo mechanism is disrupted. This prevents you to function towards excellence.
You have to align your thoughts first. Then, slowly and progressively your emotions, feelings, and actions will follow-up.
5. All the resources are there
If you think that money plays a crucial role in the pursuit of achievement, you’re definitely way off track. Your mind has most likely been altered by society.
I do not feel required to provide examples to support my claims. If you believe that money dictates happiness, I respect your belief (though I cannot empathize with it) and I would find that it is more productive for you to stop reading this.
The human brain is the ultimate and most powerful resource you are gifted with. Look around you. Open your eyes and sharpen your ears. It’s all man-made.
6. We cannot not to communicate
Even though you do not speak, your body always has something to say. To help enforce the law of emulation, try adopting sufficient non-verbal cues of the role models you follow.
7. People usually take the best decision possible
…according to their own beliefs and perceptions of reality (according to their own maps).
This is a strong validator of the “do not judge”.
Most sane people’s decisions are the result of their thought processes. Even though these thought processes often include conflicting beliefs, the ultimate decision is born as a result of more beliefs in favoring of other beliefs.
It is like a board of directors who vote upon a certain issue. 50+1% of the votes (or the majority) will rule.
The same thing happens inside your head. You take decisions or engage in actions even though you may slightly or strongly feel that it is not right. Your 50+1% have ruled. But who am I to judge your thinking processes?
If you understand this in the context of the ego, you’ll be a much happier person and you will achieve greatly in your life.
8. If it doesn’t work, change your approach
The path can and will (most likely) be changed in hitting a target. Developing flexibility and learning to become fluid like water helps you keep your eyes on the goal and attack it from multiple fronts. Thanks De Bono.
The law of emulation shows you how almost all of us can obtain amazing accomplishments if we take a strategic approach. It does not need further validation as it has already received plenty of it from top performers (and their followers) throughout the entire human history.
You do not have to reply to this. It’s just my current and basic form of reasoning, which may suffer alterations as time progresses. Though, if you feel the urge to do it, see the comment sections below.
1. Steve Andreas – NLP – The New Technology of Achievement
2. Tim Ferris – The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
3. Charles Darwin – The Origin of Species
4. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – Optimal Experience: Psychological Studies of Flow in Consciousness
5. Steven Kotler – The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
6. Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
7. Dr. Joe Dispenza – Evolve your Brain
8. Maxwell Maltz – Psycho-Cybernetics
9. Joe Navarro – What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s guide to Speed-Reading People
10. Edward De Bono – Lateral Thinking