This evening I was looking at an interview with Jay-Z, Warren Buffet, and Steve Forbes. I’ve found different interesting insights, in particular from what Buffet says. You may already know that Buffet was mentored by Benjamin Graham, a Columbia Business School teacher. During the interview, Buffet said something that Graham has taught to him: “Warren, you gotta learn from mistakes. But they don’t have to be yours.” And I liked it because it’s the completely opposite of what we hear all the times, as everybody says: “Fail and do it fast”. This is the slow lane. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like to play it safe, and I love the concept of experimenting (in particular in business in the Lean Startup way). The interests that you might earn are related to how huge is the risk. And for what I’ve seen, if you want a rich life (rich for health, love, wealth, happiness, emotions and experiences) you just can’t play it safe. I mean, you can, but it takes 10-20, even 30 years more. With a higher risk, the one that you might not get it anyway.
Then how crazy it is when people says, “I don’t need to see what others did or might say”. “I am a born entrepreneur”, “I have a killer-instinct for these type of deals and investments.” Yeah, it might be true, but you have the access to the world’s knowledge. All the books, videos, courses, conferences, and seminars available. Without counting all the knowledge held by mentors that you may reach simply asking them for help -and if you do it make sure you give something back firsts, even if just suggestions, they will be appreciated as well.
But you just don’t do it, because you don’t wanna hurt you ego and challenge your assumptions. I have this childhood friend, let’s call him Steven. He never had a date at 22 years-old, but I know that he would love to have one. He is always telling me about girls that he meets at the University. So one day, I told him, “Hey Steven, this is an article written by a dating coach. He is a close friend of mine, and he helped me a lot in the past, he knows his things.” I was thrilled! I could not wait to get the response of Steven, and I was thinking “Come on! This can be his first step towards a less frustrating life of relationships!” I’ve sent him the article, just because I was still reading the blog of this dating coach, even if I don’t have relevant problems in this area of my life. The reason is that the author of the article is part of the 1% of the people that I trust for advices. Now, do you know what was the response of my childhood friend? He told me: “Thank you man, but I don’t want to be influenced.” I was shocked when I first read this message. What does it even mean? I don’t like to judge people, I hate it. But making a constatation, Steven spends his time on Facebook, playing FIFA, or at Pokémon Go. But he doesn’t have the time to stand-by his PlayStation to read a 5 minutes article that might change his life. I don’t think so. I use all my free time to learn something new, learn new perspectives through podcasts, audiobooks, books summaries. So what I’ve heard when he told me “I don’t want to be influenced”, was “I’m too much scared see others people perspectives. Because I might be wrong.”
When a friend from my university was going to choose what to study for his Master Degree, he was so uncertain. He even cried in front of me. So I told him “Look, I’ve recently spoken to this top-manager, responsible for the recruitment of this huge firm all over the nation. He knows a lot about degrees and his suggestions helped me a lot. I don’t want to bother him asking for favours, but I will make an exception for you as you’re making such a huge decision.” So I gave him the personal number of this important manager. Three days later I asked my friend: “Hey man, have you called X?”, “No, man. I thought that it was better not doing it. I just don’t want to be influenced in my decisions, you know.” How can you be influenced by him? He doesn’t even have an interest in telling you this advice, he is doing it just because I’ve asked him a favour! You are constantly influenced, clear? Our environment shapes us, want it or not, the same of the people that you see more often, etc. You may then want to be influenced positively by the right sources! He even renounced to a great opportunity to connect with a high-profile individual.
I’ve personally spent a lot of money on my education. Despite that, I still commit a lot of mistakes, it’s normal. But I’m 3000x quicker than who has not spent all that time and money trying to learn where they made mistakes, and what factors made their success. For instance, I’ve listened to thousands of hours of audiobooks and online courses made by who was in my same position 10 or 20 years ago. Brendon Burchard, Ramit Sethi, Peter Thiel, have saved me years of trial and errors. Errors that I see too many entrepreneurs are still doing.
This advice that I’m telling you doesn’t mean: “Ok, now go listen to everybody”. Instead, as I already wrote in this article, you just want to listen to that 1%, that is truly remarkable for your situation. And when you have found these few mentors that you trust, do whatever they tell you. If you’re not convinced, at least try and then stop. As from my experience, who is truly remarkable will hardly tell you to do something in a dogmatic way just to make himself feel better and powerful. He probably just wants that you learn the rules, so then you are able to break them.
I don’t claim any credit for the image posted on this blog post