The Power of Mentoring
Imagine you could have Superman as your dad.
And Wonder Woman as your mother.
Or maybe … [insert favorite female personality]
Wouldn’t that be an interesting scenario?
Now, I’m not saying that you should or shouldn’t be happy with your actual parents, but what if you could choose them yourself?
But for some of you, maybe the word parent doesn’t sound right, does it?
How about mentor?
Or even your friend.
How would it feel if you could pick anyone, from all the people in the world?
- Someone who you admire
- Someone who you respect
- Someone you can learn from
The purpose of a mentor is to help you.
The word is used mostly in business because that’s where people are aware of how powerful such a figure can be in one’s life.
There are many things a mentor can help you with.
He can support you, offer you training or give you knowledge.
However, the most important thing he can do for you is give you the confidence to do it – no matter what you might need that slight push for.
Picking your Mentors
In most cases, a mentor should fill in some boxes, in order to qualify for this position.
He should be someone you like, respect and will actually listen to.
Not everyone will be the perfect mentor or role model for any situation, but that’s why you don’t need to limit yourself to one.
And there’s one more thing.
I will not talk about real mentors, because, honestly … that’s what everyone does.
And guess what – our minds start to think of this as such a complicated task, that in most cases it becomes anxious and it procrastinates, only fantasizing about it.
James Altucher once mentioned that you don’t actually have to know your mentors in person, and I’ll go one step further, and tell you that they don’t even have to be real.
The purpose is to have a picture of the mentor in your head and in specific situations, to use their judgment, to find out an answer.
- Holding back to do a specific thing? What might your mentor do or tell you?
- Need to motivate yourself to do a specific task? Remember if your mentor had a similar situation they had to overcome.
- Do you need to change your approach to something you’re doing? What advice would your mentor give you?
The purpose of these questions is to help you at any point when you might need it.
Don’t we all need some help sometimes?
For many of us, teachers have been filling this role.
Some people remember their teachers in a negative way (because they were always giving us a hard time), while others remember the positive.
The truth is that if you want to find the good in something, you will find it.
If you want to find something that is wrong, somehow you will find reasons for that as well.
There’s a popular image on the internet that relates to this and it shows a boy on a ladder.
In one version he thanks everyone for helping him get closer to his dream, while in another, the arrow points toward depression.
Which way of thinking would you pick?
It doesn’t have to be real
As I was saying, who said the mentors, advisors or teachers (however you want to call them) need to be real?
Let’s go step further.
Why not pick any character from the fictional world?
This is exactly what I want to talk with you about.
Creating a board of mentors, from your beloved fictional characters.
Why fictional you may think?
Easy. You already know them really well and you won’t find out any new thing about them that you might not like.
Basically, you can’t take them more seriously than what they are and what they stand for.
Think of following types of characters :
- The superhero that always does the right thing
- The villain that you are 100% sure will never change his or her ways
- The bad guy who slowly turned into a good guy
We’ve all seen these type of archetypes over and over and over again.
But due to different aspects, I won’t go into right now, we just like some characters more than others.
It may be due to their:
- The way they talk
- The way they move
- Their humor (or lack thereof)
- [insert anything else you can think of here]
We’ve all seen hundreds or even thousands of fictional characters over the years. Some we love, some we hate, and some we don’t even care about.
The latter may be due to a lack of inspiration from the writer(s) or the simple fact that they served other purposes.
What matters is the fact that we all have someone we can relate to or aspire to be like.
Think of them as your own board of advisors.
Everyone is sitting around there, at your table, in order to help you run the most important business you’ll ever run, yourself.
From real world to fictional world
Most kids aspire to be like their parents, but at one point, either someone else takes that spot or even worse, no one takes it.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but more often than not, it’s not a helpful thing.
Simply because we are social creatures and if there’s one thing we look forward to, it’s the future.
However, the future should mean a better version of ourselves. One way to make sure we’re going to grow is to constantly learn.
Then the question becomes, how and from who?
Well, one way is from our own experiences, but better yet from other people’s experiences.
The truth is, we don’t have enough time to make significant progress if we repeat the same mistakes that were done in the past.
I’ve been listening to thousands of hours of audioboooks and podcasts, while also reading more than enough, to realize that usually, we get sucked into always learning something new and finding new people to listen to.
There’s a limit to how much information we can consume.
At the end of the day, we live in a day and age when there will always be more content than we can consume, even if we follow just a few people or brands.
In this case, one solution is to make a tribe of mentors, from fictional characters.
However, one word of advice, you should know them really well.
Trust me, we won’t have any new Harry Potter anytime soon, the Hobbit will have the same story and if you like anime series, the history of what already happened will remain the same.
That means that we can safely make a list of characters that we like, trust and believe in and use them as mentors.
Interestingly, the website PlaygroundEquipment made a nice infographic that shows 30 inspirational quotes from some famous fictional characters.
Here’s a stripped down version, with my personal favorites.
Picking your own Mentors
Now, let’s look at how we can make the list.
Me, as a male INTJ, I have my own personality traits and my own preferences when it comes to fictional characters.
That means I’ll mostly lean towards characters that have traits which reinforce my strengths.
Simply put, people who I can relate to.
That is normal in most cases.
We lean toward people who are like us.
At the same time, we also lean toward people who we want to be like.
That’s why usually, we might like some traits from the bad guy, the rebellious teenager or the character that just doesn’t care about anything – and is happy.
I’ll let you know that I haven’t watched many movies, tv shows, cartoons or animes during my lifetime.
Most of what I’ve seen up to this point have been anime series started in childhood, and fortunately, continued up to this day. (need to thank Dragon Ball fans for keeping the series alive through their never ending interest)
But without further ado, let me show you my list.
At this time, the following characters (together with the name of the series) are part of my board :
- Goku – Dragon Ball
- Piccolo – Dragon Ball
- Gohan – Dragon Ball
- Naruto – Naruto
- Itachi – Naruto
- Yugi – Yu-Gi-Oh
- Kaiba – Yu-Gi-Oh
- Conan – Detective Conan
- Aomine – Kuroko’s Basketball
- Kise – Kuroko’s Basketball
Creating your own List of mentors
Doesn’t make a lot of sense when it’s not your own list, does it?
Although each of them is from an anime, they all have the universal strengths and weaknesses that we all know, from most of our favorite stories.
I won’t elaborate on why I selected each one because this might not make a lot of sense for many of you.
However I will write a few words that characterize each characters, to show you in what way I’m using each character’s traits or what they remind me of.
- Goku – never-ending improvement, protecting the greater good, likeable, funny
- Piccolo – ability to strategize, the power of teaching
- Gohan – growth, unlocking potential, peaceful
- Naruto – never giving up, having a chip on the shoulder, improving everyone around
- Itachi – strategic, patient, caring
- Yugi – power, confidence, charisma
- Kaiba – smart, ruthless, all or nothing
- Conan – high IQ, being able to connect the dots
- Aomine – being the best, making it look easy
- Kise – learning fast, modelling the best
More or less, all of them bring me some kind of inspiration or motivation.
If I would be able to fill a board with all the necessary traits for being “perfect” in my mind, each of them would fill in a piece of that puzzle.
Many of them have the same strengths, so there’s definitely a pattern of how they fit into my current board.
But in order to make it actionable, we have to shift the focus from my board, to your board.
After reading this post and seeing my own list of mentors and some of the things they bring to the table (no pun intended), you should have more than enough information and examples at your disposal, to think of who you might like to have as your own mentor(s).
- Can you think of anyone who you might like as a fictional “mentor”?
- Maybe some fictional’s character story or a specific moment you really liked?
- Some words of wisdom that you were never able to forget?
I’m sure you can think of some characters that had an impact on your view of the world.
It may be from a movie, from a TV show or from a cartoon.
Anything goes, anything works.
The most important goal of such an exercise is to have one more way to make life easier, and more enjoyable.
Now, the final question is, what kind of board of mentors would you have and why?
Life enthusiast with a great desire to constantly perfect myself, get in better physical and mental shape, while also helping other people by sharing everything I’ve been able to learn.