The Importance of Influences and Types of Figures I Look up to

How Figures Impact Decisions and Habits

By: Sammy Quarrato

35th President JFK, RDJ aka Iron Man, Comedian Bill Maher Credit:

The people that influence us are formed from the time that we are in Pre-K up to college and beyond, but everyone has a set of different reasons as to why they look up to certain people.

Some people look up to Gandhi due to his commitment to nonviolence while others look up to him because he aided India by gaining them independence.

Some will look up to Nelson Mandella because he was the main leader of abolitioning the horrible system of aparthaid while others look up to him because even though he was put in prison, he did not stop fighting for what he believed in, and had the same determination to go toward his goal despite being put behind bars for years.

We develop influences due to our young minds being exposed to what we believe as inspiring or will get us socially accepted, because our parents may speak highly of them or their actions may have even directly or indirectly affected the person that sees them as someone to look up to, today.

I myself have grown influences but I’ll admit they were pretty late with the exception of super heroes and video game characters when I was in Elementary and Middle School.

High School was a time when I didn’t have many people to look to until it began around my Junior year.

The 2016 Election had occurred and I somewhat expected the results despite my lack of knowledge of politics during the time.

It got me interested in other Presidents and what they did for the country alongside with how politics worked in general.

I went by order until I got up to the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.

I was quickly charmed by his charisma and realized just how powerful it can be alongside his political beliefs and actions being very noble.

He was a man who went through health conditions that were life threatening ever since he was a child, he was shy (something during the time I was very much) despite conventional wisdom, fought in World War 2, and swam for a mile and a half to an island while holding on to a fellow soldier by putting his teeth around his life jacket’s strap.

His tragic assassination also reminded me just how much work we have left to do in the country that he was unfortunately not able able to do which is why I major in Political Science.

I then started to get into Robert Downey Jr. and the movies he starred in, and while one of my favorites was Iron Man, I was not an Iron Man fan growing up.

His background when it came to drugs and hitting rock bottom before becoming the second highest paid actor in Hollywood today made me realize that even if you hit rock bottom, it’s better late than never to pick yourself  back up and follow your dreams.

When I came into college, I was getting into comedy and despite being a bigger Conan fan for a while, I have to admit that Bill Maher was my favorite comedian due to him not following the other late night show hosts in some aspects that most would expect him to do.

He didn’t pander to the crowd by making jokes he knew were offensive.

He was actually the first comedian to ever use the word ‘sucks’ to describe something, have a show called Politically Incorrect and criticize Political Correctness especially when it came to comedy, and sometimes even scuffle with his audience by calling them out whenever they didn’t laugh at a joke.

All 3 are considered charismatic and all 3 do spend time on educating themselves though despite some of their controversial ways of spending time that may tick some people off.

I do admit that they all have flaws, JFK had affairs even while being President and slacked in school sometimes, Robert Downey Jr. drove while on drugs while illegally having a gun and has been seen as disingenuous, and Bill Maher has been viewed as seemingly too offensive, vulgar, and downright mean to people who hold different beliefs.

Your influences can be just as bad as they are good, even if they are seen by most people in a positive light because despite that, they’re still human.

We must be reminded as a society that they are not perfect people and should be looked up to, not worshipped because then we may start picking up their good habits alongside some of their bad ones without even realizing it.


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