While I begin writing this article, keeping in mind the promise I made (in one of my previous write ups) of helping you find the right mentor, one thing that comes to my mind is the 1984 American movie Karate Kid.
The movie beautifully depicts mentoring and the importance of finding the right mentor. In the movie, Daniel LaRusso, the protagonist learns Karate from one Mr. Miyagi. To put it in better perspective, it makes sense to give you a context before moving ahead.
Distressed by one his colleagues at the high school, having failed to overpower him at numerous occasions; Daniel LaRusso (a high school kid) turns to Mr. Miyagi to learn Karate.
Now what’s interesting to know is that during his Karate training he spends the first four days doing odd jobs without any formal Karate lessons and also not questioning the master’s wisdom much in making him do so.
On the evening of the fourth day when his patience fails him and he begins to question his master’s intent, the master (Mr. Miyagi) makes him realize that he (Daniel) has learnt Karate during the course of four days without actually receiving any ‘so called’ formal training!
I shared this with purpose here. After watching the movie many times, I realized two things:
– One, there is an appointed mentor for each one of us in this world and we need to search for him.
– Two, there is another mentor that is always around us and is constantly guiding us, if we are listening.
I will discuss both, starting with the first one.
I believe nature always appoints a mentor for each one of us on this earth. There is increasing evidence to back this statement and more and more literature around the idea of people coming together and collaborating (mentors meeting the mentees and vice versa).
As I mentioned in my previous write up, a mentor is someone who helps you raise your awareness, fundamentally about yourself and about everything else that surrounds you. He may not do it consciously but the moment you get conversing with him, you see a world of opportunities and most importantly you get to be your real self.
The mentor supplies warmth, exuberance and hope; he empowers you to handle whatever comes your way. His thoughts, feelings and actions inspire you (it may not be true for others) to take action and change your own life.
Now, the answer to the question of ‘how and where to find the right mentor’ lies in my second observation about the movie which is that there is a mentor always around us and always guiding us. I call this mentor – our life!
Our life is our biggest mentor, always trying to teach us new things every moment. Everything we experience on a daily basis carries a lesson or two for us. Sometimes we pay heed and we learn, often we ignore and we suffer.
This experience could be anything and everything we undertake on a daily basis, may be the love and compassion we exchange daily with a few people, perhaps the bitterness we carry about a select few (people, events, objects or processes). Every experience guides us to changing / altering something about how we conduct ourselves.
Sometimes we view this change as positive and enjoy it; often we dislike it and we suffer. The point is when agree to or align ourselves to whatever life tries to teach us, we learn faster, are more happy and productive. The reverse is also true!
A praise, for example, from your boss or senior for your work is telling you to be more careful about your work in future, since the expectations have gone high.
Similarly a repeated negative outcome of any task / process, may be telling you that there is something fundamentally wrong about the task, process or how you go about the task.
When we start listening and paying attention, our life mentor gets in action.
When I say listening, I mean surrendering ourselves to our life and learning whatever it tries to teach us without any resistance (physical or mental).
It doesn’t stop here! Your life then takes you to better things, better opportunities and better people; these are your mentors. They don’t necessarily have to be any spiritual gurus, don’t be mistaken! They are people like you are me who have developed a refined sense of listening and paying attention to their own life mentor.