When I was in my teens, one day while travelling in my Maruti 800 to home from school, my dad decided to give me a lesson for life. He very casually asked me about what I think is the most valuable aspect of life?

I had recently attended a couple of motivational lectures at school. Bubbling with joy of having a man to man conversation with dad, I answered that in my view experiences are the most important aspects of life.

Dad snugged in his driver’s seat and gave out a whiff of air from his mouth to let me know that he thinks my answer is very naïve and probably incorrect. He also smirked a little because he realized that he can now take a detour from the regular route to home and take a longer route. He told me that he will use the extra time to teach me a very valuable lesson of life and in the end reward me with a dairy milk chocolate.

My father started by giving an example of how people keep saying that books are the best friends of a man and people should spend more time on reading books. He comes from a humble background and did not have access to a lot of books apart from the regular course material. He then told that all his learnings in life have come from people around him and hence according to him books aren’t man’s best friend, instead, a man’s best friend is another man. He said that we can learn so much from the successes and failures of our friends, relatives and colleagues. He told me how he adopted good habits of people around him and avoided methods which resulted in failures for others. He said that we tend to underestimate the importance of meeting new people and generally cling to few people around us. He believes that learning from other people is quicker and easier than learning from books because it tends to take much more time and then he told me that he will some other day talk about the importance of time. He ended the conversation by suggesting me to try to meet as many new people as possible and learn about their ways of doing things. He also cautioned me to not pick up bad habits and be good at judgement.

Honestly speaking I was more interested in that chocolate he promised and did not focus properly even though I heard everything.

10 years since that lesson and having met a lot of people, today I realize the importance of that lesson and regret the fact that in the past few years I have given more importance to being introvert than  interacting with people around me or meeting new friends.

Types of must have people in life – Mentor

Having said about the importance of people in life , I would now like to stress on the fact that it is very important to have a mentor for each aspect of life. No one should take any decision alone. There are 7 billion people on earth. Two or more people can collectively think better than one person. Unless one of them is Albert Einstein.

This brings me to another point that it is very important to pick the right person as a mentor. It is also important to analyze if the person whom we consider a mentor at work can be an effective mentor for our love life or for our financial decisions.

There  is a verse in Gita which talks about mentors and might be worth mentioning here:

ज्ञानशक्ति समारूढस् , तत्त्वमाला विभूषितः
भुक्ति मुक्ति प्रदाता  तस्मै श्रीगुरवे नमः ॥८॥

The rough translation the verse can be stated as:

One who is an ocean of knowledge, one who is always on the side of truth, one who can relieve others of all their trouble, I salute such a mentor.

Any mentor or anyone who aspires to mentor people should have the above three qualities. Anyone who is searching for a mentor should look for a person who possesses all the above three qualities.

  • A mentor should have vast knowledge on the topic for which he has been chosen a mentor
  • A mentor should always say the right things. Any suggestion or advice that is demanded from him should be logically correct and should result in a fruitful outcome
  • A mentor should be able to protect the mentees in case of adverse situations

In the battle of Mahabharata, an Indian epic, Shri Krishna was a great mentor to Arjuna and had all the above qualities in abundance.

All those people out there who are successful and are too proud of their methods and achievements should stop and realize that there is some one out there who is better than them and they can learn more from that person.

All those people who are struggling and not able to achieve success should relax and understand that there are people who can help them and that they just need to keep their ego aside and learn from others.

“Please go out there and find yourself a mentor or mentors”

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