The Imitation Principle: 3 Ways to Relate to Humans Again



It’s always been somewhat of a challenge for human beings to relate to each other.

The way we see the world.
The make-up of our personalities.
The differences in our opinions. 

These things often create a natural distance between us. Unfortunately, this distance has grown over the past 18 months amid remote work and mask wearing, along with polarizing views on masks, vaccinations and politics and many of us living in a spirit of fear. But what if I told you the most significant factor separating you from those around you sits at the center of your thinking? Let me introduce you to the Imitation Principle

The Imitation Principle
It’s pretty straightforward: You reflect what you receive. That’s it. The things you think about, talk about, and tend to obsess about, are the things you reflect. And the people you come into contact with each day receive those things. Like a sponge ringing out water, your life rings out the water that you’ve previously soaked up.

When we soak up thoughts from the fountain of our future fears, we clamp a stronghold on the water that is intended to fuel our present state of life. 

Unfortunately, the more we focus on the things we don't want, the more fuel we give them leading to those things pouring out of us and onto people around us. This can hinder our ability to relate to one another, differences and all. If you want to change the way you relate to your family, co-workers, neighbors or friends, the imitation principle may be a concept worth exploring more.

Three Ways to Relate to Each Other
I’d like to offer you three suggestions to get started:

Take Inventory of What You Consume: You’ve heard the saying, 'you are what you eat', but have you heard the saying, 'you are what you consume'? Tracking the daily news for your sense of safety will leave you frazzled. Calling your friend to gossip or complain doesn’t move the needle on your goals and aspirations. Stop doom scrolling and rethink your digital caloric intake and intentions before calling a friend to catch-up.   

Reevaluate Your Top 5 Connections: The people you most connect with are the people you most reflect with. This can be a hard truth to face. We tend to surround ourselves with people who think like us. It creates a sense of connection even if we are coming together to celebrate our fears! Consider connecting with new people who reflect the things that you desire to receive (such as peace, joy and kindness) so that they may help you see things from a different perspective. As Albert Einstein once said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”           

Practice Modeling Forgiveness: Mitch Albom recently wrote an open invitation to our nation to practice forgiveness. In the article, he wrote: “It takes enormous fortitude to forgive. The falsely accused man who loses decades in prison yet forgives his jailers? The parents who lose a child to a drunk driver, yet forgive the person behind the wheel? The Amish community in Pennsylvania who forgave the gunman who shot and killed children in their one-room schoolhouse, and even raised financial support for his widow? These are examples of strength, not weakness. And if that strength can be found in such extreme cases, you wonder why we find it so hard to forgive in our daily interactions.”                                                

Closing Reflections
To be clear, I’m not discouraging safety measures in your health nor am I suggesting that we all need to think or act the same way. However, I am encouraging you to take inventory of what you are reflecting into the world.

We were created for community, unity, and a deep sense of belonging.
We were made to be together. 

Taking personal accountability for what we are reflecting onto each other and into the world will bring us closer to accepting each other for our differences while laying a foundation of hope for a better future.

Attract what you expect.
Reflect what you desire.
Become what you respect.
Mirror what you admire.

About Mark Ostach:
Mark Ostach helps people find the courage to connect. A globally recognized speaker on Digital Wellness and frequently featured in the USA Today, Mark has done two TED talks, written 2 books, and spoken to thousands of people encouraging them to embrace a spirit of courage through vulnerability.

Ostach’s goal is to restore energy and focus to organizations battling modern life’s non-stop pace and growing sense of disconnection. He’s done this with organizations that include Universal Studios, Detroit Pistons, Rocket Mortgage, Comerica Bank, DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, Michigan Economic Development Corp, Honigman LLP, Thermo Fisher Scientific, BASF, Allstate, Hitachi, and others.

Join us at MICPA Accelerate on November 9 to hear Mark live!

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