“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” — Denzel Washington
Mentors are one of the oldest and most tried and true ways of learning a craft. The idea behind mentors is that they know a lot more than you and are willing to share it because they recognize some potential in you.
I am completely indebted to the four mentors I’ve had in my life. Each of them helped me through stages of my career in a very old-fashioned and simple way: They would give me advice and I would follow it. At the time, a lot of the advice made no sense but in retrospect it always did. None of my mentors ever showered me in praise. In fact, it was almost the opposite. They expected a lot of me and I worked hard to deliver.
I read recently we are awash in information but short on wisdom. The Internet is great for information, mentors fall more in the wisdom category. They quite literally have a lifetime of knowledge to pass on. Seek them out and make them realize you are worth investing in. One day you might even be able to beat them at their own game.
Photo by David McLain. Sony α99, Sony 135mm f/1.8 ZA lens. 1/250-sec., f/1.8, ISO 500.