Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller – What did all these men have in common? Obviously, rich would come to mind. Successful might be another word you would think of. Most people might say they were all “self-made”. They were entrepreneurs for sure, but do we really believe them to be self-made? Did they never seek advice or learn from mentors? We often look at the success and gloss over one simple fact: no one makes it alone.
This may seem like a trivial matter when you think of all the different components that make someone succeed in life. Your mind probably went straight to each tycoon’s:
Work Ethic, Self-Determination, Genius, and Ruthlessness
None of the traits above are bad (except for ruthlessness, but some may disagree). Per usual, human beings tend to downplay some of the most important, yet subtle characteristics needed achievement in life. Though not as sexy as the list above, the following are just as important:
Humility, Learning, and Listening
If the first group was type A, the second is most definitely type B. You need a little bit of both in your life. Some call it being well rounded while others call it yin and yang. The simple truth is that you don’t know everything. Pride in ourselves starts at a very early age. How many toddlers throw a fit because they want to do something on their own or because they believe to know what is right. Though we shouldn’t discourage gumption when we see it, we also need to educate the next generation on the power of mentorship.
How can someone develop the group of traits from the second list of bullet points we mentioned above? We are so glad you asked. It means you are on the right path. First, try to find a mentor for the sake of just being mentored. Have no other motive than that. Also, give back and ask questions; you aren’t a bump on a log. Don’t expect him or her to do everything.
Second, always be learning. Read a LOT. Consume books, articles, videos, or any type of medium that has content and information pertinent to what you want to learn. Go to conferences or take courses online. This doesn’t have to be done for hours a day. Instead, spend 30 minutes every day improving your mind. Imagine how much you would know on a subject in a month with only 30 minutes a day.
In today’s social media centric society, it can be easy to pretend that you know it all and you are the best. If you want to be truly successful, take a brave leap and plunge into the other direction. Let others play make believe while you make gains in life.