Ah, teenagers. Those years when we know everything. At least we think we do.
A few years later, we grow up and we realize that we might not know everything. During those rebellious years we think our parents are cramping our style, don’t get it and are oblivious to what it means to be a teen. But parents have been there and done that.
I’ll admit, things have changed somewhat within the digital age. Cyberbullying isn’t something previous generations had to deal with. However, bullying is nothing new. It’s been around since man lived in caves. I have no doubt some cavemen mocked the weaker cavemen. It’s just how we’re wired.
My point is this – while things get spruced up, not much changes, human nature is what it is. Greed, ignorance, and selfishness are just a few of the things that make us, us.
Will Durant aptly describes humans in his book The Lessons of History as “the same trouser apes at two thousand miles an hour as when we had legs.”
What does any of this have to do with mentors?
Quite simply it’s important to realize that the best advice we can be given is evergreen. There are many programs out there teaching Facebook ad secrets or how to become an influencer on Instagram, but the best advice they have often dealt with human nature itself. Concepts that do not go out of fashion or that get affected by new algorithms.
The advice I’m about to share with you are just a few evergreen ideas I’ve gathered from mentors. Some in-person, others were my virtual mentors. I simply read their books, went through CD programs or listened to their podcasts.
“Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better,” has to be the quote I refer to the most when I mention Jim Rohn to clients. Complaining about a situation might make us feel good, but it won’t change the situation. The only way we can improve the situation is if we do something about ourselves and through changing ourselves, the situation improves.
The lesson: Make yourself better.
The book Atomic Habits has only been around for a few years, yet its concepts have been talked about for years in personal development circles. Big things are made up of little things. Therefore, the key lies in taking care of the little things. What James Clear, the author, does well is he simplifies things. Being a time management consultant myself I’ve found one of the big mistakes many people make is they overcomplicate things. There is power in simplicity.
The lesson: It’s the little things that make all the difference.
Dr. Shigeo Itou
It’s funny how sometimes the simplest advice can be the most profound. When I asked a longtime client of mine what was the greatest lesson he had learned in his life, he sat there for a minute or two and then finally said one word – continue. That’s deep.
The lesson: Never give up.
Grinding It Out is an incredible read on how Ray Kroc built McDonald’s. One of the most interesting stories for me in it was the trouble they had to create fries that tasted the same in California as they did in Minnesota. If there’s one thing I’ve learned traveling the world is that McDonald’s has mastered the ability to replicate their food. You know exactly what you’re doing to get when you walk through the Golden Arches whether you’re in Tokyo, London or New York City.
The lesson: Consistency can be powerful.
Back in my twenties, I decided to join a franchise. It was there I learned a valuable lesson from the CEO. He taught me a lesson that has stuck with me ever since – many people are takers. I’ve learned that I need to differentiate between those who really need my help, and those who want me to do their work for them. When people ask for my help, no matter how small, I insist people send me over an email explaining exactly what it is they want. This accomplishes two tasks
1. Only serious people will take the time to write a detailed email
2. Acts as proof if I am accused of something later
The lesson: Find out how serious people really are.
Most people are familiar with the bestselling book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It spawned a series of books by Robert Kiyosaki with the main topic being investing (specifically in real estate). However, for me, the greatest lesson I learned was how music artists create a CD once, then sell it over and over again. I was an English teacher at the time trading my time for money like most people do in their jobs. The minute we stop working, our incomes disappear. To free ourselves from the “rat race” we need to find a way to make something once that can be sold over and over again, without us being there.
The lesson: Make something once, sell it 1000x.
While I’ve listened to Brian Tracy for years, only recently did I hear him refer to something he calls the 1000% formula. There are essentially seven points, but the fifth stands out for me. The moment I stopped listening to Beyonce and Metallica and instead turned on Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, and Brian Tracy, my life has never been the same.
The lesson: Turn your car into a mobile university.
“An overnight success” is something we hear a lot about on the news. There’s always a new music star, an up-and-coming investor, or a rising athlete who suddenly bursts on the scene. But as Jack Ma, CEO of Alibabi, explains, we all have to “pay our dues.” Most successful people spend years programming, working, planning, struggling before becoming successful.
The lesson: Pay your dues.
Many years ago, I hired a mentor to work with me. It cost me $6,000 and the number one lesson I learned from him was to write on my blog consistently. So I did. A lot. The result – crickets. Fast forward a few years, and I started following Kimanzi Constable on Facebook. He talked about the importance of writing for the world’s biggest publications. I followed his advice and the results have been night and day. While blogs can succeed, big publications such as Inc.com, Business Insider, Thrive Global and, of course, The Good Men Project already have a built in following. On top of that, you get to piggyback on their credibility.
The lesson: Writing is a powerful form of social proof.
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