“The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.” – Michael Jackson
Last night I was watching Spike Lee’s documentary “Michael Jackson’s Journey From Motown to Off The Wall”, and one theme that kept repeating was the value of mentors.
Now, the most valuable ones are usually those who can be with you on your journey. Helping you to tackle specific issues that aren’t always that clear to yourself.
Let’s just say you’re having a hard time finding one.
Well, one amazing example of what you could do appeared in the documentary when Kobe Bryant explained how Michael Jackson influenced and mentored him.
The thing was that Jackson would study dancers like Fred Astaire, James Brown, Gene Kelly, etc.
They didn’t exactly mentor him but became mentors by him studying their moves, letting them go through his filters and incorporating them into his own style.
Basically, something we all to some degree do naturally. Difference being that he did it intentionally and purposefully. He studied the masters in various fields and whether or not they directly mentored him, he learned a lot from them.
It’s probably easier now than ever to get mentors. You could easily find out when they’re coming somewhere close by and meet them, hit them up on social media/mail, etc.
What if they say no? What if they’re dead?
Well, they might not have the time to mentor you one-on-one but by studying their work, reading books, listening to interviews, watching YouTube, connecting with others who’ve worked with them, talking with historians, and so on you can learn a great deal.
Here’s a list of people currently mentoring me, whether or not they want to:
Malcolm Gladwell, Gary Vaynerchuk, Ryan Reynolds, Quincy Jones, Brené Brown, Jeffrey Pfeffer, W. Edwards Deming, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Ryan Coogler.
So, how do I become mentored by them?
Read their books, watch & read interviews, read articles with and about them, watch their movies, watch documentaries, listen to their music, search for quotes, listen to and look at people they’ve worked with.
Some of the sites & apps I use to connect with and/or find mentors are: Google (because, of course!), Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Quora (great platform to ask questions), Medium, BrainyQuote, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Anchor, LinkedIn, About.me, Goodreads, Audible, TED.
Now, you don’t have to always go for the biggest personalities. Hell, sometimes nature, animals or inanimate objects can teach you a thing or two.
“When you really pay attention everything is your teacher.”
Do whatever you can to absorb the lessons they have to teach. You’ll constantly find new ones. Remember to return to the old ones later, as you go through life you’ll understand more of what they have to teach.
Who are your mentors? How and where did you find them?
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!