Get Purposeful With Models

In The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, Gary shares a story from his college years. During class one day, when little Gary was being a bit of a know-it-all, his professor shared some words with him. He told him, “You know, Gary, people have lived before you, and you might be wise to go study their lives as you're building your own.”

Though it took some time for the message to sink in, Gary began to understand the foundational truth that success leaves clues. If you follow those clues, you often can figure out a blueprint to success. Or, as we like to call it, a model.

Models are all about providing a framework of best practices that are proven to get us from point A to point B as quickly and efficiently as possible. Systems are the methods we use to set those models in motion. Unless you are truly venturing into undiscovered territory (like going to the edges of the universe) chances are there’s a best practice for what you’re trying to accomplish. Like Gary’s professor said, retracing the footsteps of those who have gotten further than you have before might lead to a good launching point to make a breakthrough. 

Models And Creativity

A common criticism of working with models is the belief that models squash creativity—that they restrict us and immobilize our options on the path toward success. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Creativity thrives within confines and is constricted by boundless possibilities. 

Who would you expect to dance more creatively? An inexperienced dancer or a trained professional? Before you answer, think about this: creative potential is expanded by the amount of knowledge and experience we gather. What we consider “creation” is just the synthesis of ideas, experiences, and interpretations in one giant pot. Nothing is entirely novel. 

In a study of several professional and novice dancers, researchers measured creativity by using EEG scans to monitor activity in regions of the brain responsible for creative thoughts. The researchers found that the more experienced dancers had a greater amount of creative brain activity than novices when asked to perform a free-style, creative dance.

Even art forms like music turn out to be perfect illustrations of how a set of rules provides an environment for creativity to flourish. When you think about all the possible notes our voices can hit—have you ever found it weird that people naturally gravitate toward building musical scales? Or that we find people who sing off-pitch displeasing? 

Without confines, structure, and rules, music would sound like everything else in the world. It wouldn’t be special or creative at all. It’d just sound like noise. Or, as Gary and Jay put in MREA, models are the foundation that creativity is built on.

Figure 1, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, p. 37.


First having a thorough understanding of existing best practices before attempting innovation helps makes sure that the basics remain covered as you explore. Models provide stability when you go out on a limb. 

Adapting Models

Models aren’t always presented to us in ways that make it easy for us to cut and paste them into our lives. While easy-to-implement models do exist—we’ve created a few ourselves—sometimes you’re going to have to develop a model from your own research.  

Looking at what others have done to achieve the success you want in your life is a great place to start when trying to find a model. People often say that there’s a science to success. There’s also a science to failure and everything else in between. Choose the models you want to follow in life based on the success you want to experience. 

Go to a bookstore and read some biographies—get in the subject’s mindset and retrace their footsteps to the best of your ability. If you want to get good at investing, read Warren Buffet. If you want to start a cable network, read about Ted Turner. If you want to hit home runs from both sides of the plate, read about Chipper Jones. Understand the way those who have walked before you think, adopt that thinking, and implement similar actions in your own life.  

Do you have someone who’s been a model for your business or life? What models do you think matter in your world right now? Let us know on our Facebook page. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more insights.

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