Mentors can get you ahead in life, but they are not a limitless resource.
People severely underestimate how age impacts our motivations, inspirations, and personal goals. As I start to near 30, my mindset, the way I think, the way I approach life is completely different from 5 years ago. I enjoyed my early and mid-20’s but I also recognize and acknowledge that how I was spending my time really didn’t help push me as far as I’d currently like to be. Going forward I value my time a lot more as the reality hit me that there simply isn’t enough hours in a day to do everything we want to do.
People don’t know how to pick one or two things and focus on them, they go through the common beginner mistake of jumping from topic to topic trying to learn everything ‘just in case’. It sounds great on paper and in our minds, but realistically we won’t retain what we’re trying to learn if we don’t use it.
I’ve come to realize that how I choose to spend my time now needs to be directly or potentially influencing moving me towards the goal of owning my own home. I love games and gaming, always have always will. However, I enjoy spending my time more learning how to code better by creating games while still focusing my efforts on my information security career and picking up skills I need for my next jump in this field.
You and John Sonmez have both had a profound influence on how I approach things in my career and life. However, I also recognize there comes a point where the apprentice must become the artisan. Usually, when we reach the journeyman stage, we know enough to go out on our own. Advancing to artisan is something I think people need to discover on their own, it can’t be mentored. A mentor simply guides the apprentice on what he needs to know to find his own path. This becomes especially necessary if choose to go in a slightly different path our mentor wasn’t an artisan in.
The moment we think we can graduate the mentor is the moment when we realize we were never actually an apprentice. The true mindset of apprentice respects the mentor and never thinks he is above the one that came before him.
In the technology world young people are seen as valuable commodity because they can perform the newest skills the best, which means the older generation is thrown to the wayside. Knowledge and experience can’t be quantified like lines of code and the older generation is kindly seen the door because “we graduated, thank you”.
How much more productive could companies be if we embraced the wisdom from older generations and valued their teachings with respect, as opposed to dismissing their ramblings as something to get past or graduate from?