A few months ago I was having a chat with a friend over Skype. Like me and probably you too, he has a vested interest in the trials and methods, maybe even the art, of becoming a better person.
We discussed almost everything from expectations to relationships to patience to time-management and all sorts of other juicy things. The one thing that stuck in my mind though that I particularly wanted to share with you at some point (today is that day!) was the idea of having 2 different mentors and/or books for each area of your life.
We decided that this small combination of human and literary resources are the best way to accelerate towards whatever you are pursuing.
It goes a little something like this:
If you dream of becoming a professional sports player, then use 2 of your favourite sports stars that most exemplify who you want to become and try to do what they do. Of course, you don’t have to follow their exact training regimen and diet (although you could), but it helps to know what they are all about in order to have some sort of compass as to where you want to go.
The same is true for any other field or skill that you want to develop. You will no doubt be familiar with Seth Godin who I mention on this blog and on the socials fairly frequently. He is one of the greatest marketers in the world and is all about ‘making things better by making better things’. For all things marketing, culture and innovation, I consume all of Seth’s content including his blog, podcast and books. He is my mentor when it comes to marketing and growing online as well as a person.
Then I have other mentors for other situations. I turn to Jocko Willink when I need some ‘kick up the butt’ motivation. I use Tim Ferriss when I want to specifically ‘hack’ some area of my life. For making smarter financial decisions, I have started to consume a significant amount of Naval‘s content.
All of these people are experts in their respective fields. In this very unique time to be alive, we have the rare opportunity to stand on the shoulders of some true giants – simply by opening a book, listening to a podcast or a Youtube clip.
With books, you can niche down even further because books resonate in different ways with different people. For example, I always have Man’s Search For Meaning on hand and it is perhaps the most important book I own. It is a reminder that no matter what shit I am going through, there are people who have experienced much shittier shit and survived. Of course, that short description is a massive disservice to the amazing book but that is the main message that I cling on to.
While audiobooks are very much in fashion, I personally prefer to have a hardcover copy because it means I can keep each book next to my working desk. I have found that keeping my books in sight keeps the message that I got from them also in sight, at pretty much all times. Very helpful when you need it.
Another book example is for whenever I get lost and get caught up worrying about stupid stuff. In these instances, I use Mark Manson to redirect where I need to be focusing my attention and more often than not, I re-read extracts from his bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. It is one of those perspective-shifting gems that never fails to get me back on track.
These are just some of the mentors and books that I have named for specific parts of my life but I use many more because as you are probably aware, there is an almost infinite number of facets to life. It is not just reputable people that guide me but also family and friends who inspire me every day. It is worth just looking around you as well as far and wide for inspiration.
Whatever you want to get better at, seek out a couple of mentors and special books that not only serve as your fallback, but as a guiding light into your future.
What books and mentors do you use to help guide your life?