Role models are an important force in our development. A good role model can awaken possibilities within us. They can demonstrate a more mature expression of a potential that is within us.
One advisor of mine is a paragon of precision and clarity. Conversations with him leave me feeling more precise and clear, and show me a way of being that I like to think is latent in me.
There’s the famous acorn to oak tree metaphor. The oak tree exists within the acorn, just as our potentials are present at the moment we are conceived. Assuming we are nurtured sufficiently, there are qualities and capacities within us that blossom over time.
Role models can inspire us and help clarify and evoke these potentials.
There is a concept of "experience-dependent development". This includes things like language acquisition. If we grow up around language we'll learn it, but if we are not surrounded by speech in the first 5 years of development, we will not be able to learn language at all. The areas of the brain that support language do not have the experiences required to develop properly.
In a similar way, I believe being exposed to wisdom and compassion through our relationships or media (books, films, etc.) is a prerequisite for us realizing those qualities. The capacity exists within us, but its development and expression depends on it being evoked by others.
Who do you admire? What do they evoke in you?