You are the people you surround yourself with.
Surround yourself with losers, you become a loser. Surround yourself with champions, you become a champion.
But how do you break out of your deadlocked routine and join the ranks of the elite? How do you walk among giants as an average Joe or Jane? You get a mentor.
Master and Disciple
Mentoring is the transfer of information from teacher (mentor) to apprentice (protege). The mentor imparts his experience, his knowledge on the apprentice. He builds him up, with the ultimate goal of being exceeded by his protege.
Mentoring has become a very trendy topic these days. Everybody is looking for that divine entity, that one person to solve all their problems and pull them up to the gates of Mount Olympus. But that is not how you should approach your mentor.
“[…]the goal of an apprenticeship is not money, a good position, a title, or a diploma, but rather the transformation of your mind and character — the first transformation on the way to mastery.” (Greene, 2012)
Yes, you need a mentor. Better yet, multiple mentors – teachers. People that have gone where you want to go and done what you want to do.
But you’re not going to find these individuals at school, your office or the local bar. The true masters frequently fly under the radar. Invisible to the uninitiated, they get after it while others hit the snooze button.
How to find a mentor in the modern world
Where do you want to go? What do you need to get from A to B?
Who has walked that path before you? Who has the particular set of skills you need?
How do you gain access to the information you seek?
In the past, a mentorship would often last decades. As the apprentice, you’d go through countless hours of labor to gain the necessary knowledge and expertise. You would be tied to a particular location indefinitely on your quest to develop yourself and ultimately become the master in your chosen field.
Luckily for you and I, you don’t have to travel the world to find answers. In this day and age, flipping open your notebook and typing in a few keywords is enough to connect with anybody in the world. Never before in the history of man has there been an opportunity of this magnitude.
The value provided by the internet is immeasurable. Yet, it is absolutely free. A literal goldmine waiting to be explored.
Walk Among Giants
Read books, journals, blogs, listen to podcasts, watch videos, study, ask questions. Study the great men and women of our time, interact with them (easier than you think), learn from them and apply the information to your mission.
Never listen to someone who isn’t where you want to be.
If you wanted to be a successful investor, would you ask Warren Buffet or your deadbeat uncle? Follow the people who have gone where you want to go and have done what you want to do.
- Jocko Podcast – One of the last of a dying breed.
- Bold and Determined (The Website for Winners) – Name says it all.
- Gary Vaynerchuck – You need a kick in the pants? You go to Gary Vee.
- The Joe Rogan Experience – Very entertaining, highly informative. The perfect “background noise” during down time.
- Tim Ferris Podcast – Deconstructing greatness. Tim frequently has high profile guests on his show (i.e. Arnold) and isn’t afraid to ask real questions.
These are some of the resources I frequently use to gain the competitive edge. As you can see, I’m a big proponent of podcasts. I listen to smart people talk while driving, eating, working out etc. What some may confuse for shallow entertainment is the thorough study of today’s masters.
I believe you can learn more from a great podcast than any class in school. A single episode of Jocko’s podcast will provide you more value than an entire year of paper knowledge conveyed by an indifferent, unaccomplished “expert” in a classroom.
Start walking among giants. Start hanging around the big guns. You have the knowledge of the world at your finger tips. Don’t let it go to waste.
Thank you for reading
Bozeman, B./ Feeney, M. K. (2007). Toward a useful theory of mentoring: A conceptual analysis and critique. Administration & Society. 39 (6): 719–739.
Greene, R. (2012). Mastery. New York: Penguin