My goal in designating yearly exemplars is to be able to learn from other successful individuals. In studying their lives, I hope to be able to identify; thought patterns that shaped their worldview, motivations that drove them, behaviors that helped them succeed, and decisions that proved favorable. I then hope to benefit from that knowledge by applying it to my own life; letting the thoughts hone my own worldview, using their motivations to adjust or magnify mine, experimenting with the behaviors, and creating heuristics based on the patterns of decisions they made.
After a few years of doing this with mild results, I felt like I would benefit from a bit more structure. I want the practice of having an exemplar to be more than reading a biography every year. I want it to involve some reflection and some action. Below is my first pass at a template for an exemplar review.
- What did the exemplar achieve?
- Why did they care about that?
- How did they think about the world differently than their contemporaries?
- What are a few of the exemplar’s behaviors that helped them?
- What are some of the decisions they made that contributed to their success?
- What was one thing about the exemplar’s life journey that is encouraging to me?
- What is one thing about the exemplar’s life that makes me feel like I should do more with mine?
- What did they believe about the world that I have already or should soon reconsider?
- Which of their motivations have I reflected most on?
- What is one of the exemplar’s behaviors that I tried out this year? How did it go?
- Which other behaviors will I consider putting into practice in the future?
- What decision making heuristics can I adopt from their experience?
- What are some of his failures I can avoid repeating?
- What are three cool facts I learned about the exemplar?