We know we don’t know anything, right? The thing is that there are people in this world that know a little less nothing than us so it would be very helpful to learn from them instead of taking things from zero. Wouldn’t it be great to learn about investing from Warren Buffet or to learn about writing from J.K. Rowling or from George R. R. Martin? Or maybe learn about branding from Steve Jobs even though he is dead.
In the world we live in, the term mentor can be bended from the classical definition as a“person (which) helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person” (Wikipedia) to one that does not include the direct guidance thanks to internet. We can find a biography to almost anybody which is an expert in a particular field so we can study how he got to that level of expertise. Also, there are tons of interviews, podcasts, articles and books with advices from that person and most of them are almost free (digging takes time so it’s not quite free).
I believe we need mentors (even if not directly) so we remember ourselves that whatever we want to do can be done. Someone did it. Maybe not quite how we want to, but we can see a way. Since we know it can be done, it’s not just a crazy idea anymore. It can be transformed into a plan. It is useful especially at the beginning because we often don’t know where to start.
I aspire to write things that can help other people improve their lives. The fact that I know that other people did it, it gives me hope. Also, I try to run in background stories of people that changed their lives and how they did it. I want to learn more so I can share more and because of this I have many mentors. Sometimes the mentor doesn’t need to be from the field you want to succeed. For example, one of my mentors is Elon Musk for his craziness to move forward despite the odds he has (especially for what he did with SpaceX). I don’t want to become an engineer, but I want to find out more about how he manages to persevere.
And it’s not even about success in terms of world recognition or things like that. You want to be a great parent? Find great parents and try to “inverse engineer” what they did to get so great. Do you want to be the best in a company? Find one of the greatest person around you and learn from that person.
Bottom line, we should find people that have the qualities we want so we can get to wherever we want without making the mistakes all over again (maybe some mistakes we need to do ourselves to learn the lessons). What mentors do you have (dead or alive) and why have you chose those people as mentors?