“Arjuna, be thou a yogi”! — said Krishna.
Krishna was Arjuna’s spiritual teacher through the epic war depicted in “The Bhagavad Gita”. Krishna was a pretty badass mentor to learn from. We might not have access to mentors like Krishna himself, but the modern-day and age provides us direct access to some pretty amazing opportunities if we choose to take them.
Investing in a mentor essentially provides you with two things. It provides you with a pragmatic, experience-based theory of the steps required to get to a certain result. You also receive access to a community of people that are on the same journey alongside you. These two things added together make for an absolutely killer combo. The only thing that’s left is relentless commitment and dedication on your part to take action, continuously reflect back on theory to fix holes in your attitudes and behaviors, and ask your mentor and community for guidance through any areas of confusion. Let’s dissect the two main benefits of investing in mentorship in more detail.
1. The theory
A mentor is someone who has already been through the journey you’ve been on. The value of a mentor is in his/her ability to make your journey organized and perfectly directed. Since a mentor has already gone through the steps you intend to go down, he/she has an expert-level understanding of the various traps, dead-ends, and wrong-turns that may tempt you on your journey.
A mentor’s job is to organize information that describes and explains the journey in front of you into a coherent, step-by-step layout. This is done better by some and worse by others. After all, it’s a difficult and strenuous process! It requires a lot of left-brain activated flexing of the mind.
A side-note to take away here is that it’s your job to try and find mentors that are competent, and know what they’re doing, rather than mentors that just want to make a quick buck. Understand that sales funnels and other forms of marketing are designed to attack you through the peripheral route of persuasion, which just means they intend to build up your emotion in the present moment to the point where you decide to take action and make the purchase. Counterbalance this by making your decision-making a rational process. You can do this by zooming in on and analyzing the services that this mentor has to offer.
Some good questions to ask could be:
- How much experience does this person have?
- How do this person’s services compare to similar, competing services currently in the market?
- Is the theory concrete, sophisticated and in-depth?
- Are the testimonials of good quality and quantity?
Let’s refocus. A terrific example of mentors that have been around for quite some time now is personal trainers. When you first enter a gym, it’s a completely foreign landscape to you. It can literally feel like you’re at the Zoo. What are these weird exercises everyone’s doing? The best decision you could possibly make when first entering a gym is to hire a personal trainer right away. To explain why let’s compare what would happen if you hired a personal trainer for your first 3 months, versus if you didn’t.
Hiring a Personal Trainer:
You show up to the gym and ask for a personal trainer the very first day. They put you on a three day a week weightlifting program, and get you to shoot for 10,000 steps a day to get your cardio filled in. Most of your gym sessions finish up in about 45 minutes to an hour, and you leave feeling invigorated and empowered. Within two weeks' time, you feel very comfortable with the exercises assigned to you, and can feel yourself getting stronger. Your personal trainer continues to explain all the different factors that come into play in the weight room during your workouts. You are effectively practicing exercises and form all while learning about workout theory. After about 2 months of time, you start to understand the entire “recipe” for how to make gains effectively at the gym, and how factors outside of the gym affect your gains as well. Within 3 months, your personal trainer has effectively installed all of his gym knowledge into you, and you now have a highly-functional and results-producing understanding of the weight room.
Not Hiring a Personal Trainer:
You show up to the gym and decide to cheap out on hiring a personal trainer the very first day. You don’t have the slightest clue on what to do at the gym. You remember from elementary school gym class that you used to do push-ups and squats, so you go to the mat area and knock some out. You can only do so many pushups and squats, so after about 10 minutes, you go off to the treadmill. The treadmill is boring and unexciting so you get off after about 10 minutes as well. You leave early. You don’t show up for the next few weeks out of procrastination, and rightfully so. You finally decide to do some research to try and educate yourself on how to work out effectively. You find a workout routine that tells you to go to the gym 5 times a week, train one muscle group each day, and do about 3–4 exercises per muscle group. On leg day, you have barbell squats assigned, and on the way up you feel a slight misgroove in your lower back. Uh oh. You schedule a doctor’s appointment and do some more research to try and understand the problem. Fast forward to the three-month point, you have some understanding of the gym, have had your progress stalled from an injury, and still have a lot of learning to do.
This is the power of a mentor. This is the power of theory.
2. The Community
A lot of mentorships comes with access to some form of the online community. This can be through Whatsapp, Facebook, Telegram, etc. You now have access to a whole bunch of people that want the same results in their life as you do, and are walking on the same path as you. The sense of comradery shared purpose and support that your mentorship community provides can be equally as important to the core lessons themselves!
You have access to people you can collaborate with. You can also compete with them, to spice things up a bit. You can create smaller groups out of the entire network of community members with those that are more dedicated and committed to getting results. You can compare your progress to others, as long you’re comparing in a healthy and rational-minded way.
To be acquainted with a community is an innate human need. It’s something that our modern-day world has forgotten. Ponder a time like Ancient Greece, back when Plato’s Academy was still up and running. The sense of community that any example of a well-functioning society had was absolutely tremendous. I whole-heartedly believe that online-based communities are the modern-day version of this effect. Not to mention that Facebook has completely revamped their entire set-up to this effect.
But this is all just talk. Are you going to take the next step in your evolution, and join that tribe or not?