If we looked at your life today, who would we name as your teachers?

For all of the bluster about leadership in our world, I’m willing to bet everything I have on this one statement: we’re all followers.

I know we’ve been told we’re all leaders. And in a way, that is true. We all have a role in influencing the world around us. It’s part of how we’re designed as humans, to have a certain sphere of influence and self-determination.

But it’s just as true that every single one of us is a follower. We look to others for cues. We imitate others. We are shaped by others. Even those who are staunch nonconformists are following people who say we should march to the beat of our own drummer.

So as you curate your crew, be especially careful to name your teachers, your influencers. If you intentionally pick teachers who are noble and courageous and clear-headed, chances are that you’ll become more like them. If you choose influencers who are Machiavellian and cynical and self-serving, you’re going to start to adopt their narratives and acquire their habits.

You may be lucky enough to have a mentor who can interact with you personally during this time. If so, count your blessings. But even if your teacher is far away or from a different time, you can imagine what she or he would say to you in your circumstances. You can study their example. You can mimic what’s laudable about them.

Be bright