Mentors are Overrated — Have Heroes Instead
“Mentors are overrated, have heroes instead,” advised Seth Godin. I listened.
Last year, I self-published my first book. It was in Russian, and it was called “10 Mentors”.
To say that nobody bought it would be an understatement.
However, that book was much more than just a book. I interviewed top-10 entrepreneurs of Russia and Eastern Europe and collected these interviews on my YouTube channel. I was then featured by Russian Inc. Magazine and got some initial channel subscribers.
It sounds cool, but that journey took me 14 months and more than $10,000 combined in video production costs. Not speaking of how hard it was to get interviews with people twice your age, and who make millions of dollars per year, while you’re broke (though eager to learn).
It was hard.
I published that book in August 2019 and forgot about it. To this day it makes me ~$50 per month. I laugh every time I get a check.
Of course, it wasn’t about the money, but about the experience, and the journey, the intellectual path I went through — as well as the lessons I took out and taught my audience.
But if you ask me, why I went on this journey, I wouldn’t know what to answer. Everyone wants a mentor these days. And I decided, why not have ten?
However, there’s a much easier way to learn these days.
I Always Had Heroes
They were not the kind of heroes that I obsessed over and whose pictures I posted on the wall.
They were the kind of heroes I would learn from. I would literally download their brains by listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos, reading books, blog articles.
I would then collect the best lessons I learned into a separate Evernote folder marked “Self–Development”. (Yes, I am pretty anal when it comes to ideas.)
“We should have heroes instead of having mentors,” Seth advised. “Heroes are scalable, and they don’t even need to know you exist.”
That idea stuck with me.
Ways Heroes Are Better Than Mentors
There is no excuse not to learn.
Heroes are scalable, mentors are not.
Everyone wants Gary Vaynerchuk to be their mentor, but only a handful of people will actually get it. The odds are worse than in a lottery.
Heroes don’t need to know you exist, while mentors need to dedicate time to you.
And if Elon Musk will spend his days mentoring others, who will build rockets and send us to Mars?
There is no limit to an interaction with a ‘hero’, like there is with a mentor.
You can spend your whole Thursday afternoon watching the first ten videos on YouTube after typing “seth godin” and become smarter in one day. Mentors though would typically spend dedicated hours with you — on a weekly basis, if you’re lucky.
Of course, you might say that there is a benefit to the unscalability of mentors.
They provide 1–1 feedback, which you wouldn’t get with a hero. That’s true. But in today’s world, if you want to learn, saying that “you don’t have a mentor” — and thus, you’ll just Netflix and chill while he shows up — is an excuse, nothing more.
Everybody can learn from the best minds of the world, without having to leave their couch.
In February I looked around and thought, “Hey, why not take the lessons I learned over the years from my heroes and turn them into a book!”.
But instead of being alone in my room and writing these lessons down, I decided I would publish them as I go on my Medium blog. I wanted to vet these lessons and see whether they resonated with my readers.
Hence, you could have seen my Medium blog articles in February:
- 10 Things I Learned From Seth Godin
- 10 Things I Learned From James Altucher
- 10 Lessons I Learned From Neil Gaiman
- 10 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned From Kevin Kelly
- 10 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned From Paul Graham
- 10 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned From Naval Ravikant
- 10 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned From Jim Collins
- 10 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned From Marie Forleo
- 10 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned From Steven Pressfield
- 10 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned from Jason Fried
My conclusion: they did.
You loved those articles, and I received a ton of valuable feedback from my readers. Thank you.
But of course, having separate articles is not convenient. You have to look them up, save them, and avoid being distracted by 12837128381 other posts on this platform.
You can go get it on Amazon (Kindle Only) for just $0.99
But this is not all. Readers of this book will also receive a special bonus from me: a 30-page PDF document with resources (videos, articles, books, blog posts) I used to come up with the lessons in this book.
I’ll appreciate it if you leave an honest review in the Amazon customer review section after you read the book. The more reviews I have, the better Amazon will rank this book — the more people will see these lessons.
I spent years researching for this content, so you’ll get the best of the best.
My hope with this book is that if you aren’t familiar with the heroes, you can use the lessons as a starting point on your personal intellectual journey. If you are, this book will be an important reminder of important lessons these people can teach you.
Whatever it is, keep learning and keep growing. I wish you all the best on your personal intellectual journey.
Enjoy the book!