14 lessons from my mentors that you should know

Portrait of The Great Teacher Marpa. Jegornagel.com

“Now listen carefully, child. I will teach you”.
Portrait of The Great Teacher Marpa, 17th century, Tibet

The best teacher is not the one who knows most but the one who is most capable of reducing knowledge to that simple compound of the obvious and wonderful.
― H.L. Mencken

For about 10 last years I had different mentors. I talked to some just several times, with others I had long conversations regularly. Anyway, I think that having a mentor is like having a parent who cares for you not because of unconditional love, but because of inner conviction that he wants to help you.

Parents teach children what to do and how to think. Mentors are not teachers, they are awakeners, as Robert Frost said. Usually, I write a diary after every session with mentors, so I won’t forget lessons they share and can work on them later. In this post I want to share some best notes from my mentors with context, so you could apply them to your life. Here we go:

Life lessons from my mentors that will help you

  1. Adults don’t need to ask for permission. If you believe in something, do it. If you want something, do it. You don’t need approval. You don’t need permission. If it doesn’t work out, it’s always better to ask for forgiveness.
  2. Life is not fair. You won’t get that promotion. That girl would choose another boy. Your business will fail. No one will care about you. These things happen. Don’t wish things were different. Just be better next time.
  3. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. When you thin meet an asshole, think that he might be going through the situation you’ll once fall into. We’re on the one planet, we’re all human, and we’re all the same despite the fact that we want to be different. Be compassionate.
  4. Know your environment, competition, industry, friends, enemies. If you want to truly grow in your life, you have to understand your surroundings. Whatever you think is the truth is a lie, until you research, experiment, test, and find out what who is really a king of the mount.
  5. Hard things are always hard. Difficult conversations, firing people, saying you’re sorry, going to funerals… Anyway, your life wouldn’t be that fulfilled without these hard things.
  6. Have a side-business. You should make money independently. Don’t trust your employer your full income. Explore variants, make something valuable, hustle, sell it. You are in business.
  7. The best things in life happen to you when you’re alone. Accept yourself if you’re an introvert. Don’t make yourself look like an extrovert.
  8. I don’t give a shit. Watch carefully what others want you to do. People want to you read that book, partner in that business, give them money, attend that conference, make you feel sorry. Somehow, happy people don’t care about shit that doesn’t matter.
  9. Avoid people who always complain. Their goal is to spoil your life. They don’t want to progress or change themselves. They want to grudge and complain.
  10. Let people go. Over the course of your life, you’ll lose friends, colleagues, team members, employees, bosses, partners. People move on. You’d better know when it’s time for you to move on. And never hold a grudge.
  11. You don’t need to know where you’re going. It’s great when you do, but if you don’t there’s nothing wrong with you. Many successful people didn’t know what to do in their twenties-thirties-fourties but worked hard on anything they had. Sometime you’ll find your calling.
  12. Commit yourself to the process, not the project. Don’t be afraid to do something badly, everyone does. Don’t work on the project, as if it fails you’ll get disappointed. Enjoy the flow, learn as much as you can, find your circle.
  13. Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Don’t forget to credit if you use someone’s work.
  14. The crowd is always wrong. The crowd wants bread and circuses; it wants lions and gladiators; it wants The Beverly Hillbillies and Justin Bieber. You can do better than the crowd. You can seek your own approval.

You can’t have two mother languages

There can be no two mother languages, one is always a dominant. We do not speak the language, but the language speaks through us and we can’t speak without a language. World for a person is a native language, which is the only possible model of reality.

Mother language is the only language you can feel. Mother tongue is a symbolic environment, a mediator and harmonizer between the energies of the cognitive and the one who discovers the world.

— Batsewicz F. Spiritual synergy of native language

Serenity and stability are results of your choices and judgement

Serenity and stability are results of your choices and judgement, not your environment. If you seek to avoid all disruptions to tranquility — other people, external events, stress — you will never be successful. Your problems will follow you whenever you run and hide. But if you seek to avoid the harmful and disruptive judgements that cause those problems, then you will be stable and steady wherever you happen to be.

— The daily stoic by Ryan Holiday

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern.

— From The Writing Life by Annie Dillard