How to Find a Mentor

The Six of Coins is about giving and receiving.

I’ve never met my mentors. I can’t imagine that I ever will.

Austin Kleon. Tyler Cowen. Jason Zook. These are people who have given me, at times, life changing advice. They just don’t know it.

Because on the internet, anyone can be your mentor. Without you ever having to ask.

As James Altucher writes:

“Read a lot. Not news, which is BS. But books. A book allows you to be like a vampire on the author’s soul. You suck it in and now all of his or her ideas are yours.”

What are all these books, blogs, podcasts, and YouTube videos but advice? Guidance? Just because the mentoring is done in public rather than one-on-one over a cup of coffee doesn’t make it any less valuable. Just because it’s not addressed specifically to you doesn’t make the advice any less life-changing.

The NBA starter Joel Embiid is from Cameroon. His mother didn’t let him watch sports, so he fashioned his game from YouTube clips (from Kottke):

“Then the light bulb went off, man. I typed in the magic words.


Listen, I know it’s a stereotype, but have you ever seen a normal, 30-year-old white guy shoot a three-pointer? That elbow is tucked, man. The knees are bent. The follow-through is perfect. Always. You know how in America, there’s always an older guy wearing like EVERLAST sweat-shorts at the court? That guy is always a problem. His J is always wet.”

Thankfully, Embiid also watched plenty of clips of legendary big men like Hakeem Olajuwon, so he doesn’t just chuck up Js like a thirtysomething Duke grad or play nonstop hero ball like his idol Kobe Bryant. That’s the thing about piecing together your game or your personality through YouTube, hip-hop, social media, etc. Ideally, you don’t just get one flavor. You get to sample a little of everything.

Find those who have found success in your field (or your field of interest). Because a student of their work. Mine it for mentorship. As Austin Kleon writes in Steal Like An Artist:

“Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find your self.”

Each Monday, I share strategies to help you get inspired, master your limited time, and build sustainable creative habits. Sign up. You’ll like it.

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