Bob Cavezza's Blog

Do You Need a Mentor?

Someone asked “Where do you find mentors online?” on Hacker News last week.

Perhaps a better question is, do you need a mentor? A lot of times you will find that you already know the answers to your questions. You just want reassurance. When John D. Rockefeller bought out the Clark Brothers for sole ownership at age 25, he did not have any mentors, or heroes. Don’t take my word from it, here’s Ron Chernow, author of Titan – The Life of John D. Rockefeller.

“Having discarded several older partners, the young man had no real business mentors, heroes, or role models and was beholden to on one. John D. Rockefeller was not only self-made but self-invented and already had unyielding faith in his own judgment.”

Mentors are nice, but it’s also important to forge your own path and learn from your mistakes.

Ghengis Khan’s Lifelong Learning

The following is a quote about Genghis Khan from Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World.

“At no single, crucial moment in his life did he suddenly acquire his genius at warefare, his ability to inspire the loyalty of his followers, or his unprecedented skill for organizing on a global scale. These derived not from epiphanic enlightenment or formal schooling but from a persistent cycle of pragmatic learning, experimental adaptation, and constant revision driven by his uniquely disciplined mind and focused will.”

Ghengis Khan’s brilliance was the result of a lifetime of learning. It was the type of learning you only get from experience and retrospection.

Give new things a shot. See if they work. If they do, keep doing them. If not, you learned they won’t work for you.

Take a look around and see what other people are doing. Borrow from them. Use the same type of experiments trying out things borrowed from others.

Airplane Inspiration

You’ve probably seen comedians in cars getting coffee, Jerry Seinfeld’s show where he interviews other comedians. I love this show, but I don’t love it for the comedy, I love it for the deconstruction and inspirations of comedy.

I watched the Kristen Wiig episode earlier today. My favorite part of the show when she was explaining the inspiration for one of her characters – Aunt Linda. Wiig was on an airplane and the Matrix was on. She could audibly hear a woman (picture the current Aunt Linda voice) not understanding and complaining about the Matrix. “Why are they flying?” – “Why is happening?” – “Why did he take that pill?” – “How did he do that?”

At one point, Kristen took took out a pen and started jotting down everything this woman was saying. This random woman on an airplane was the inspiration for Wiig’s Aunt Linda character.

I think this goes to show that inspiration can come from almost anywhere. Make sure you always have a pen and paper on you.

§761 · January 17, 2017 · Daily Digest · · [Print]

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