The presence and lack of it
When was the last time you were in the cross-roads of life and wondered which is the path to take? Is it the Frostian path (Road less taken) or is it the tried and tested path which will make you go with the herd? If you go the road less taken how do you tread ahead? If you go with the herd how will you stand out?
These questions must have struck you like a lightening at some point in life or is going to confront you very soon. The important question here is what stand are you taking? Which path are you choosing? I have had many crossroads and I have made many decisions. When I look back to connect the dots, I see one big persona staring back at me, warmly, with a smile, “A Mentor” (rather many mentors).
One of my first mentors was a teacher. He taught us the “Hindi” language and told me to write not the standard answers taught, but my take on what I learnt. That opened me up to the concept of being more than a reproduce-what-you-read student to write-what-you-understood. That in turn led me to blogging and poetry.
The next mentor was another teacher who introduced me to what it means to have values and be a person of integrity. He introduced me to Ayn Rand and many other books which have deeply guided my thought process to be more rational.
And then came other mentors, who were not the traditional teachers. They were my friends/seniors who would help me make small decisions, which today seem path breaking when I look back. My senior who encouraged me to try my hands on Semantic Web / Natural Language Processing, had with a simple advice helped me realise what I loved. A friend who pushed me to participate into a debate competition made me realise I can win any oratory competition. The list goes on and on.
From all these experiences I realised I needed a mentor when I needed to join my university, but unfortunately had none. I had to find my own way and make my own mistakes. No regrets on that but having a mentor would sure have boosted my confidence and helped me have a more clear outlook. The importance of mentorship is not about being spoonfed. It is about making new mistakes rather than making the “already known mistakes”. I would love to mentor people who want to join a startup or decide their career or any of the decisions I made, so that they do not make my mistakes. They have the time to go beyond where I reached and make new mistakes which we call “experience” and scale new heights.
I see myself surrounded by many mentors, take @nitin_pande who runs @AskMentii which is a mentoring platform. He has mentored me in every project I take up or every decision I make. @kshitiz has mentored me to have a more design powered approach and encouraged me taking risks. @apnerve has inspired me to respect front end engineering and see the minute details that make a difference.
Appreciate the people who mentor you, be open to be mentored and also give back by mentoring someone else. Who knows, you might help someone be the next Elon Musk or someone might help you build your billion dollar idea !!
Find a mentor, find your future self (taken from mentii.com)
Be a mentor, let someone see their future self !!