Modeling is at the heart of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. It is essentially the process of recognizing excellence in others, identifying the model of how they achieve this excellence, and then adopting that model so that this excellence becomes available to us.
A friend of mine recently said that he thought NLP would be dangerous for him, because at the moment he's trying to work out who he is, and the idea of modeling other people would undermine this process. As if by modeling other people, he would in some way be less himself.
I've reflected upon this concern for a long time, because it raises some interesting questions. Are we being true to ourselves when we're modeling the behavior of others? At first, this seemed to be a difficult problem to answer. But of course it's not. It's really very simple, provided you approach it from the right perspective:
Self realization is not about discovering who you really are. It is about deciding who you want to be.
NLP helps us to do this by giving us more choices. When we see excellence in someone else, this is in fact an internal realization. We recognize an aspiration within ourselves - what we value as being excellent. In fact, the very best way to discover what our values and desires truly are is to look at others who we aspire to be like. To ask ourselves - what is it about this person, and what they do that represents excellence to me?
Spotting excellence in others is like discovering a seed of potential excellence within ourselves. NLP is simply the fertilizer than can help us to nurture that seed. And that's what self realization is really all about.