Master Mind Group
As a young teen, I was taught that your learning process consists of focusing, listening, and paying attention to your surroundings. From my perspective, once you applied these behaviors you became a learner. However, as an adult, I learned that the influence of a mentor was missing from the learning process. In society, we have rarely seen or heard of a successful individual achieve success without a mentor. For example, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Steve Jobs, Kanye West, and Michael Jordan all had mentors. In particular, the influence of a mentor is so vital it led Malcolm X to become a devoted learner while in prison. In his autobiography, Malcolm commented:
Many who today hear me somewhere in person, or on television, or those who read something I’ve said, will think I went to school far beyond the eighth grade. This impression is due entirely to my prison studies… It had really begun back in the Charlestown Prison, when Bimbi first made me feel envy of his stock of knowledge. Bimbi had always taken charge of any conversation he was in, and I had tried to emulate him. But every book I picked up had few sentences which didn’t contain anywhere from one to nearly all of the words that might as well have been in Chinese. When I just skipped those words, of course, I really ended up with little idea of what the book said. So I had come to the Norfolk Prison Colony still going through only book-reading motions. Pretty soon, I would have quit even these motions, unless I had received the motivation that I did.
Because Malcolm X was able to watch Bimbi in action, he was motivated to study the entire dictionary and become a phenomenal speaker and leader. Today, there are many scholars that suggest having a mentor is essential for success. In fact, if you want to achieve success here are three guidelines to follow.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Finding a mentor does not mean you have to follow their exact career path. Instead, if you see an individual that is competent in an area you’re interested in, simply asks, “Hey, where did you learn that” or “Can you show me how to do that?”
Seek help from all angles. When seeking a mentor do not settle on one person, a specific gender, or ethnicity. Too often people believe a mentor has to be a person that is similar to them. When looking for a mentor it is important to understand that you don’t have to follow this person forever. The purpose of a mentor is to advance your personal and professional development. As a mentee, your goal is to learn from your mentor to advance your competence. Because humans have a long lifespan, this also means that it will take more than one person to further your development.
When all fails, you always have books. Have you heard the phrase a “dog is a man’s best friend?” If you heard this phrase, it is completely wrong. A book is a man’s best friend. Often times when I present to students, I ask them what does the letters MMG stand for and 10 % of them don’t have an answer and the other 90% answer by stating Maybach Music Group (MMG). Students think MMG stands for Maybach Music Group because it is an acronym for rapper, Rick Ross’ record label. Every time I hear their response I laugh and teach them that MMG stands for Master Mind Group. A Master Mind Group consists of people that you read about and gain wisdom from. For example, my Master Mind Group consists of Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Steve Jobs and Reginald Lewis. Although all of these individuals are deceased, I constantly read their words for inspiration and insight to help me progress and achieve success. Therefore, if you are looking to become more competent and achieve success, find a mentor or book to help you because it is truly to best way to start.