I can’t begin to tell you how tiresome it is to hear people complaining about their life, their missed opportunities, their disappointments.

The one thing very successful people have in common: they figured out how to succeed in an area of their most passionate dreams/visions. But not all of them did it by themselves. Most of them sought a teacher at some point in their life, or modeled themselves after a person who had ALREADY EXPERIENCED what they, themselves, wanted to experience.

You may recognize that concept of finding a teacher as the concept of MENTORSHIP. I’ve written Nuggets about this earlier. Here, I am choosing to emphasize the importance of FINDING MENTORS.

There are two forms of mentorship and you must have BOTH: a coach or teacher to whom you can run various scenarios by, and a collection of books by experts of the very topic, skill, strategy you need and want to deploy.

There are many experts out there in the real world who have provided their life lessons in books, podcasts, etc. It’s all in your attitude, though.

Many people read books and listen to lectures/podcasts in a passive manner, as entertainment, then do very little with the information; others, use it to justify their reasons for being cynical. Thus, they miss the valuable lesson at hand.

Not only must you expose yourself to books and podcasts by experts of your chosen specific skill or strategy, but you need to reinforce your mindset, determine to succeed…your overall attitude. One useful way to do that is to listen to, study, read, people like Anthony Robbins.

Robbins has hundreds of tips for turning on your desire to succeed, reinforcing it, and tips about HOW to change your attitudes to lay the foundation for changing and moving in the right direction. I love taking Robbins’ podcasts on my long walks when I walk my dog. Robbins is only one of MANY experts out there who accompany me on my walks and help to makes me happier, energized, and more knowledgeable about a wide variety of my interests. For me, these experts speaking directly to me in my earbuds serves me as would electricity to a rechargeable battery.

But you can’t just use self-talk books and podcasts and consider that a job well-done. Nor can you merely decide to go around like some loon with a big smile on your face as if your smiley-face was poured from a plastic mold. Even Robbins tells you over and over again that after you tighten up on your attitude to succeed, you absolutely must take the correct positive steps to make your vision and dreams a reality.

To succeed you will need a number of things. You must have heard all of this before: vision, (know what you want); drive, (energy to do it); desire, (willingness to tough out the dry spots, the tough challenges); perseverance, (keep at it when fail, knowing each failure is a step towards succeeding); and knowledge, (knowing WHAT TO DO and HOW TO DO IT).

The one common denominator across all of those elements that go into any successful person is KNOWLEDGE. A successful person learned WHAT TO DO and HOW TO DO IT for each of those elements mentioned.

The slow, uneconomical, difficult, fraught-with-failure way to pursue your goals is to go it alone. Seek no advice from anyone and you are almost guaranteed to fail.

Or, as mentioned above, you can seek a mentor and find the right books to use as guides.

Almost without a doubt, out there, somewhere, is a person who has already done whatever you want to do. All you have to do is convince that person to teach you how to do what they did.

Experiencing everything yourself is the very slow, awkward path. You end up discovering much of everything that has already been discovered. Your path to discovering what it takes to succeed may take 2 or 3 or more lifetimes. If so, you may be able to start the process, but if it is one of those activities that takes several lifetimes to complete, you won’t be around to see your vision fulfilled.

I can promise you, somebody else, somewhere, has already spent the time and effort and money and pain and disappointments to learn how to achieve your very goal, or a major portion of it. The faster way to learn everything you need to know to succeed at any task is to almost literally IMITATE PEOPLE WHO SUCCEEDED, BEFORE YOU, IN YOUR PARTICUALR GOAL/ACTIVITY.

How do your copy successful people: find them and convince them to be your MENTOR, and, read about them in BOOKS.

But you will likely need to find more than one mentor and more than one book. You may need one mentor and 3 books for each element of accomplishing your vision. Along the way, as you learn more, you will discover unmet needs that you must supplement. At every stage along the way you will come to realize some aspect of your knowledge is inadequate. At that point reach out for another mentor to add to your growing “panel” of mentors AND find 3 more books by experts on that particular aspect.

One comment about books and mentors. More of a warning: don’t participate with mentors or read books PASSIVELY. Let me use an example to help illustrate this.

Several years ago, two individuals went to a financial expert for mentorship. Individual “A” kept telling the mentor had didn’t need to take notes; individual “B” took copious notes. Over the two years, “A” kept asking the same questions over and over again, but still refused to take notes. “B”, refreshed regularly by reading and re-reading the notes and studied the notes intensely, so to say. When “B” asked questions, it was obvious that “B” valued the mentor’s wisdom and experience by asking progressive questions building on the information in the notebook. TODAY: “A” is still struggling to pay bills, “B” is counting a nice nest egg that is growing in wealth rather rapidly.

In my example of “A” and “B”, we might conclude that the difference boils down to “B” valuing the experience of the mentor.

Don’t be a fool…When a mentor shares information, WRITE IT DOWN, or print the document and tuck it into a folder or a binder. It is valuable information so treat it as valuable information. Review it regularly. A similar comment applies to books.

When you read a book that provides information about a specialty you need for your goal, do so with a pen in hand to underline, circle, make notes in the margins, etc., [provided you own the book]. Underlined passages throughout the book, make notes in margins, etc.

Come back and STUDY those books over and over again. As you learn, by applying the knowledge in those books and from your mentors your perspectives will change and mature. You will gain insights that will make your notes and the information in your books evolve over time. That information becomes more instructive, develops more clarity, your comprehension increases as your experience increases. You ought to put aside time to read your book collection at least every 6 months, for the first few years during your implementation phase, and then, once a year after that.

If your life sucks, it is because you don’t understand the role of mentors and books in making your life more successful. Now, you know. I’ve just mentored you on how to succeed in ANY endeavour you choose.