Everyone’s an expert, it seems.
Whether it’s relationships, business, marketing or investing, almost everyone has an opinion.
And they defend it no matter how ignorant, inexperienced or stupid they might be.
Thanks to the Internet, almost anyone can hang up a shingle these days and claim they’re an expert.
So after a couple of decades of this nonsense, I’ve decided I’ve suffered as many experts as I can handle.
From this point on, I don’t have time to listen to you anymore.
I’m just too old and jaded.
With one exception.
If you’ve actually done the thing at least a few times and succeeded at it – and preferably failed, too – I will listen.
A bloke I’ve known for over 20 years has persistently told me how to make money, how to fix with my relationships and where the next boom will be happening.
Yet the last time I looked, his creditors were trying to get paid, his business was struggling to survive, and his ‘investments’ resembled lottery tickets.
Nowadays, I find myself sticking my fingers in my ears, closing my eyes and screaming “la la la la” every time someone tries to share their wisdom with me.
Because I’ve realised after all these years (I’m a slow learner); people who’ve done well for themselves, the ones who are doing great things, don’t talk about it.
They’re too busy being successful!
So the question is, how do you get close to these people?
How do you benefit from their experience?
As far as I can tell, you have three choices.
- Go and work for them and observe what they do. Even do it for free if you have to.
- Pay them for their counsel.
- Ask them to mentor you.
I’ve done all three.
If you take the third option, it’s very important you become skilled at asking good questions.
Just as important is having them set challenges for you and acting on their advice.
This kind of relationship can be enormously rewarding for both parties but only if you give them valuable feedback.
They want to know that you’re listening and then acting on their advice.
Nothing is for nothing.
I’ve been privileged to have the counsel of a few great men, and those relationships have informed my decision-making processes and broadened my perspective on many things.
They say you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
So it follows that if you want to excel in a particular field, you need to know what you don’t know; you need to stretch yourself and look at things in new ways.
More than likely, you need to abandon a few old beliefs and develop some new ones.
So next time your broke uncle starts sharing his views on day trading or property investing or whatever the hell he’s selling, just block your ears, close your eyes and start screaming, “The bells, the bells!!”