If your circumstances limit your contacts, books can serve as temporary mentors, as The Improvement of the Mind did for Faraday. In such a case you will want to convert such books and writers into living mentors as much as possible. You personalize their voice, interact with the material, taking notes or writing in the margins. You analyze what they write and try to make it come alive—the spirit and not just the letter of their work.
In a looser sense, a figure from the past or present can serve as an ideal, someone to model yourself after. Through much research and some imagination on your part, you turn them into a living presence. You ask yourself—what would they do in this situation or that? Countless generals have used Napoleon Bonaparte for just such a purpose.
In Spanish they say al maestro cuchillada—to the Master goes the knife. It is a fencing expression, referring to the moment when the young and agile pupil becomes skillful enough to cut his Master. But this also refers to the fate of most mentors who inevitably experience the rebellion of their protégés, like the cut from a sword.
One repays a teacher badly if one remains only a pupil. —FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE
Mastery by Robert Greene
“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.
— Charles T. Munger”
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