I Don’t Want a Hero

15 Oct

For years, I dreamed of having a mentor in my life, a Yoda-like sage who teaches me how to fish. Not someone with connections who makes things easy for me, rather a person with wisdom and encouragement.

The harsh reality is that mentorship is about as rare these days as winning the Triple Crown. I’m not sure why: busyness, American Individualism, population growth? Nonetheless, as Seth Godin said in his blog today, “It’s customized, rare and expensive.”

This has troubled me for quite some time.  Call my desire dependence, fear, weakness, I really don’t care – having a solid, inspiring mentor would be phenomenal.  And I’m not necessarily talking about a successful filmmaker.  I simply mean a person who understands life a lot more than me, someone mature, nonjudgmental and calm.  Someone who can speak some truth into my life open-mindedly.  Someone who challenges my perspective with grace.

Seth makes a great point: the lack of a mentor is no excuse for inaction when heroes abound online.  We can hear them, read them and even watch them online.  People like Jeff Bezos or Anne Jackson.  Day in, day out, they set examples for us to emulate and be inspired.

Nonetheless, I can’t help but feel a sense of loss.  Call me romantic, traditional, it doesn’t matter: I don’t want a hero; I want a mentor – a human being I can shake hands with and hug.  A person whose coffee preferences I know.  Heroes may change the world, but mentors change lives.

Seth concludes: “Like a custom made suit, a mentor is a fine thing to have if you can find or afford it. But for the rest of us, heroes will have to do.”  Hmm, that’s sad…



6 Responses to “I Don’t Want a Hero”

  1. Rae October 17, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    I am not sure if I have ever told you Chris but you are my mentor. without a doubt.

  2. Becky October 16, 2010 at 7:36 am #

    Well said! I completely agree. Being a generally self absorbed culture has robbed us of our true growth potential, reducing relationships to when they are convenient or beneficial. Though mentoring is beneficial it takes time and commitment and a desire to do something for other than self. I long for this as well.

    • Christopher October 16, 2010 at 10:56 am #

      Thank you for the comment and affirmation, Becky. At 36, I ironically sound like an old-schooler when I say technology and media is robbing us of the human element in life…. As you say, it comes down to convenience and selfishness: it’s so much more convenient and ingratiating to Tweet or post wisdom rather than meet face-to-face and listen, share, inspire.

      You also state that you long for mentorship as well. I’m not sure how old you are, but I have a theory my generation (X & Y-ers) are really craving it. We’re tired of books, seminars and panels – we want the real thing.

      There’s this guy I know who speaks at countless events and has a huge Twitter and Facebook following. A few years ago, before he was a media phenomenon, I tried getting together with him one-on-one (my mom worked for him). Guess what? He never made the time, after countless attempts on my part. But, he’s more than happy to inundate my Twitter wall and Facebook news feed with his hullabaloo and self-branding BS. In fact, he recently created a Facebook “Like” page for himself and invited me to join it! Incredible…

  3. Chuck Norton October 15, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    Great Post Chris! I agree totally… “someone to shake hands… hug.” Heroes could be a dime a dozen I sometimes thing, great mentors are sometimes once or twice in a lifetime.

    • Christopher October 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

      Thanks so much for the comment, Chuck! I have to say, this was my first impulse post ever! I read Seth Godin’s post at around 5:30AM and posted my response by 6:30AM! LOL I was just so moved by sadness after I read it. As much as I agree with him regarding heroes, the overall context of his thoughts make me glum.

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