The Mentor Hack


There was a post that I read few months back which went by the title – What got you here won’t get you there” but a MENTOR will. I had just reached Pune after I was desperate to get out of Kolkata not doing great work at work as well, although enjoying the set of mentors that I did pick up during my stint there.

The shift from Bangalore to Kolkata, Career Kraft to IBM, Student to Employee was something I absolutely needed. It helped me weed out my over-confidence and learn a lot about staying on my own, keeping my dream alive and burning in my heart while being constantly second-guessed and also being mocked by superiors at work, friends and worst of all myself. I learnt it the hard way that the worst cynic in the big bad world isn’t out there in the world but he lives between your own two ears. Always feeding you B.S and pulling you down and justifying to take the path of least resistance which I did too for a while.

I had read all these stuff in many books and got inspired to the hilt and that had gotten me high and pumped up for a week or so. Usually after such initial highs, when you get back to your life for me it felt like I was stuck in a barrel filled with crabs. Every other crab was hellbent on pulling me down whenever I tried to take a baby step forward. There was a phase in Kolkata during which I had given up my ambition and was “lost” in the truest sense of the word. I began contemplating a long shitty career being stuck in a cage I had voluntarily invited myself into and what’s more even locking it myself and believing there wasn’t any escape even though I was the key!

Ayan Pal, a mentor of mine in Kolkata with whom I never really spoke much but I have had most of my “Head Fake” learning’s from him. It was from him I learnt about perseverance, through his actions and leadership I learnt to unearth the hunger in me to explore, learn, fail and grow and keep it close to me and turn it into my armor. He had invited me to a Toastmasters conference where Sam Cawthorn and few other motivational speakers were invited for the event and it wasn’t an event I was very keen on attending. I got pulled to it by Jyoti, Ayan and a few others and that conference restored hope in me again.

The fire which was almost waning out was set ablaze again.

Here comes a man, who has so far been through the worst imaginable pain possible inspiring everyone to find their “WHY”. He had lost his leg and arm in a horrendous car accident. He was even declared dead on the spot but he now moves around with robotic aids and sets people on fire with his humor, story and wit. I met him and realized I had both my legs and arms and I was one up than him in the physical sense and it gives me no excuse to victimize myself. That day was the day I last felt sorry for the cards I was dealt in life. From there, I looked deep inside myself, my past and found my passion in my suffering.

Here is a picture where he personally took time to have a 1 on 1 with me and those 10 minutes changed my perspective on ownership.


That day, I realized the value of having mentors. What got you here won’t get you there, A MENTOR will.

I had taken mentors for granted throughout my life up until then. From then on, even if I had one mentor I told myself I am going to make the most of what I have in me, around me at all times. Nobody can give you the permission to step up other than yourself. You really have just two choices, fear everything and run or face everything and rise.

Hope I got you all motivated up until this. But, later a week after that conference I reached an impasse again. I went into storifying and telling myself. All these bloggers, thought leaders I used to follow came from developed countries. It’s after all so easy for them to throw everything that they have, take the big leap, travel around the world, discover themselves. They have so many travel benefits, no need for even a VISA as they are allowed in most countries (the ones with a US passport). There was no end to this. Then, I read a phrase online that changed my thinking and perception. It was something like shifting your perception to listen to everything for 15 minutes before rejecting something. This changed me, every person I met then onwards – I was completely open to what they said and slowly I started to see a lot of learning’s that I had missed before from other mentors as well. I started writing them all down in my diary and began testing them out one by one only to see them being disproved. I embraced the mad-scientist in me and started applying this mindset to all areas in my life.

Man! I wish I had done this sooner I thought to myself. Later, when I hit Pune after overcoming another crisis I noticed I picked up the habit of noticing patterns in areas I wanted to learn and intuitively felt which mentor would add most value in my life that would only compound over the years and only started approaching them with complete authenticity. As, I was on a tight budget earning only around ~400$ (21,000 Rs) per month, most of which I would invest in traveling meeting mentors, learning online, reading as many books as I can get my hands on.

My goal was simple – make the most of the mentors I had before my next big leap. Slowly, even this process started accelerating, I began better at picking up mentors not just in the city I lived in, even online whom I possibly would¬†never meet but still I could utilize to build fast feedback loops around to learn faster by failing faster. I found a whole new perspective of enabling and accelerating my learnings in some areas that I wanted to learn utilizing the concept of “cross-platform learning”. A word I made up – as I had no extra money to invest in courses and I wasn’t really keen on taking a huge loan on my head and working my ass off the rest of my prime to pay that off. There had to be a way I thought and at first though I was just doing it out of excitement as I never knew what results it would yield as it was an area that isn’t known in India.

Still,¬†sometimes when there are things that excite you, you just need to go ahead and do them and see the ripples they make. It’s these ripples that will contact the other ships (mentors) in the ocean to your boat and maybe some of them will take you under their wing for life. Though this post revolves around mentors here is another nugget of wisdom and a great read that you should definitely get your hands on.

What is adverse often adds a “VERSE” to your life


P.S Here is another kick-ass article from one of my online mentors. You can read it here.This involves a more D-I-Y approach with tips/tricks that you can test out.

Happy Testing! Let me know if you cracked any new insights or if you do happen to pick up a set of mentors through a simple shift in strategy.