There are three types of people in the world.
- Dumb people – who don’t learn from their mistakes.
- Smart people – who learn from their mistakes.
- Wise people – who learn from the mistakes of others.
I was lucky to have a few good mentors in my early career who acted as both advisors and role models.
However, I have found that I can tap into a huge number of other mentors as well – all on demand.
My mentors these days are books and podcasts.
Use Books as Your Mentors
Simply put, if you want to get better at something (or if you have a quest for learning) the good news is that we live in an age of unlimited potential for learning In fact, there is likely too much content to learn from. To me, the books, and the podcasts I listen to aren’t just things I read to learn stuff – they allow me to form a relationship with the author in a way you would expect when you’re being mentored in person. Mentoring is more than just learning – it is about identifying with who is teaching you – having their voice in your head.
One podcast that I can’t seem to stop listening to is The Tim Ferriss Show. Tim’s quest for “being better” resonates with me – and he interviews people in a way that I would interview them – ask them questions as I would – curious about the “how” – the rituals and behaviors of getting better.
Take episode 219 – an interview with Adam Robinson – as an example. This episode made my mind race as I listened to it on the Stairmaster. Not only does Adam fascinate me – his journey to be better throughout his life was overly relevant to my current state of life. There are countless episodes such as this on the Tim’s podcast. Not only has Tim become my mentor, but Tim’s guests have also graciously volunteered to mentor me as well.
Go Find a Mentor (Book or Person) and Be Better
Go find a mentor!
Find them in person (if you can) but more importantly find them in a bookstore.
When you get a book-mentor – devour it. Make notes. Study it.
Think about how the knowledge and advice in that book can help you. Go deep. Skimming it won’t do you much good unless you just want to show people how fast you can read.
Another piece of advice is to realize that not everyone is going to be a good mentor in your particular time of life. I’ve realized that I’ve had to go back and read a few books because they didn’t resonate with me when I read them the first time. The second time through, however, blew my mind. I’ve also found that wisdom imparted to me by my real life mentors didn’t take root until much later in life.
If a book (or real life mentor) isn’t resonating with you – then just move on – RUN to find the next one. Don’t wait.
Don’t have time? You’re wrong!
Think you don’t have time? You’re totally wrong and making excuses. How much time do you watch TV a day? Do you workout? Don’t be lazy. Get off your ass – getting better takes work and stop making excuses by saying “you need to relax” before bed or “I like listing to hip-hop when I run because it gives me energy.” There is ALWAYS time to get better.