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September 2015

Mentoring is a shortcut to a wonderful life

By | Blog | 7,853 Comments

How many people would like to live the good life: health, wealth, happiness and most importantly love?

I have recently watched a Tedx talk uncovering the good life. During the talk, the speaker touched on something interesting that resonated with me called: “the law of 33%” .

What’s the law of 33%?

We should spend 33% of our lives with people that are lower than us whom we could lend a hand by sharing our knowledge, our experiences and wisdom. This is considered a win-win as this endeavor makes us feel good about ourselves and expand our leadership skills. Then, comes the 2nd 33% of lives, which should be spent with people that are at the same level; these people become our friends, coworkers and peers. The last 33% is where most of us tend to forget about: reaching out for mentors that are maybe 10 or 20 years ahead of us, wiser and more knowledgeable than we are.  At first, these people will and can make us feel uncomfortable. Nevertheless, this is quintessential to achieving the good life because when we try new approaches, we get to stretch our comfort zone and grow as individuals. Mentoring is a definitely a shortcut to a wonderful life [1].

Having taking the pulse within my 3 clicks circle, I can attest that looking for mentors doesn’t come naturally and is indeed an overlooked matter: Some people said: “they feel shy to ask more knowledgeable and skilled people to be their mentors”. Others added: “they are okay and/or quite busy and do not see the mentoring value for the time being”. I guess the latter might be stuck in their old habits and could not see beyond their nose.. If we closely look at successful people around the world from Einstein, Gandhi to Jobs, we would notice they all have one thing in common: they had mentors and coaches during the course of their lives whom helped them become better individuals. As an example: Steve Jobs had several business mentors among whom two names were mentioned few times in his autobiography, Ed Catmull (co-Founder of Pixar Studios) and Larry Ellison (Founder of Oracle). These two mentors had a tremendous impact on Jobs professional life as they contributed in helping him becoming a great and trustworthy leader. Jobs had also a Zen Buddhists monk as a spiritual teacher: Kobun Otogawa whom advised him more on his personal and spiritual quest.


Based on my personal experience and what exists in literature, when you are looking for mentors to enhance a specific aspect of your life, you should take in consideration these 3 key attributes:

Available: Look for someone who can set aside some time every week (e.g. 1 hour) to support you is crucial to your success: For an example, I currently coach a young lady that I meet every Monday around lunchtime to assist her with her communication and leadership skills.

Knowledgeable: Find someone with experience; find someone who walks the talk. The best way is by looking for accomplishments and recognition in whatever field you are interested in.

Respectful: Seek someone who respect your individuality and do not impose his or her thoughts blindly. Usually, respectful mentors provide you with food for thought and only intervene when you need help navigating.


On the other hand, there are 3 key attributes that mentors aim for when it comes to looking/accepting new mentees:

Eager to learn: The desire to broaden one’s knowledge and develop new skills is a prerequisite in the mentee’s success.

Open to new ideas: There is no rule of thumb here; not all ideas work. They are various parameters involved when it comes to trying and integrating new ideas (personality, context, etc.). Being open sets the tone for trials, adjustments and ultimately success.

Grateful: Look for mentees that appreciate your time and advice. Look for someone that is grateful for all efforts mentors are putting to assist him/her building up these new muscles.


The mentorship is a win/win relationship as every party learn along the way and/or feel good about themselves and even broaden their leadership skills. Some mentorships turn out to be short term, others are punctual depending on the skills required for the time being. Only a bunch of people have mentors throughout their lifetime. I consider these people brilliant since they understand that mentoring is a shortcut to a wonderful life.

Good luck everyone with your mentors quest!

~ Amine Smaoui 


[1] Tedx Talk