Many of our readers have requested a post on finding and cultivating a strong mentor. We’ll outline a step by step process on finding a worthwhile mentor. The bad news is that most people, particularly on internet forums, have not passed step one.
Search When You Want to Quit: Most people don’t deserve to have solid mentors as they have not put in the work to deserve assistance. This is similar to why most people are broke. A solid mentor will only help people who have put themselves through pain and suffering. If you’re struggling with women, money, sports or even something as simple as dancing, you should force yourself to try it yourself. Talk to 100 women before you ask for any help with game. Edit your resume 10 times before asking for professional help. Practice your jump shot on video camera before you ask for help with your form. This list goes on. When you’ve tried and failed many times, now you’re in a position to ask for help as you’re about to quit.
Filter Potential Mentors: Zero in on what you need help with. Maybe it is style, maybe it is conversational skills, maybe it is your form when doing heavy squats. Once you have the exact issue you are facing, find a person who is particularly skilled in the craft. For sports it may be smarter to hire a trainer and for style it may be smarter to hire a fashion consultant but ideally you have something to offer in return for the information they will provide. This means you will form a strong bond with your mentor as it is a mutually beneficial relationship. With that said, the title of this section is filter. Why? Finding a mentor who is only firing on one cylinder is always worse than someone who is firing on every cylinder.
Run them through these simple questions:
1. Did This Person Have Less to Work With? As an example, getting career advice from a trust fund baby is useless. If you’re looking for advice, find out how many opportunities the person had and ask yourself if you’ve had more or less opportunities than them. If the person overcame a more adverse situation… You’re on the right track.
2. Ask a Layup Question: This is very similar to our advice on Wall Street, where you want to lower expectations and over deliver. To make your life easier, ask a few fake novice questions about the topic. Why? This will allow you to quickly filter the fakers from the people who legitimately want to help and have been around the block. If you’re eating healthy and are on a high protein diet to gain muscle and a person tells you to start eating more junk calories, you can quickly cross them off the list for advice (notice you already have the basics down as you’ve hit a plateau due to failure). Similarly, if a guy tells you his best opening line is “Hi” then you can be certain he is either a 9/10 or a troll, both are a waste of your time.
3. Mentors Are Congruent and Content: Once filters one and two have gone by, you want to find someone who is consistently helpful and does not sway. Humans are naturally emotional, however a clear character should be present. Even if the person isn’t perfect in all aspects of life, you can find a few mentors to create the person you hope to become. The last step is crucial as a person who sways on a personality basis and seems upset or unhappy is likely harboring feelings of self loathing. The ideal mentor has lost his ego a long time ago, this does not mean a loss of confidence, but an acceptance of his past failures.
Not many people will pass the filter above which may cause you to search for professional advice, but once you find one you can move on with your mentoring process.
Don’t Waste Their Time: This is the most important piece of the process, establish trust with your mentor. If you are asking for lifting advice and continue to stay with the same routine, don’t be surprised if they quit on you. If you’re using the same lines and wearing the same clothes when an expert is telling you otherwise… You’re disrespecting their opinion. Instead listen to their advice to the T and they will be more than happy to guide you as they see errors in the process. Instead of attempting something once, when a mentor guides you he will likely trouble shoot your issues, this will often lead to exponential improvement.
Pay It Back: Once you’ve established a strong relationship, you should attempt to help your mentor and also pay the information back to a younger generation. While mentors are likely firing on all cylinders, giving small tokens of appreciation back should suffice. Now you have a strong bond to work with and you’ll cultivate a relationship in the other direction by paying the information back to a younger man.
Concluding Remarks: Now that you have a guide to finding mentors, the more important question to ask is… Do you deserve help? You must pay the price first and it is always the same. Pain and failure.