Finding Mentors – A Billionaire’s Secret

December 15, 2008 by  
Filed under blog

“I was lucky to have the right heroes. Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you how you’ll turn out to be. The qualities of the one you admire are the traits that you, with a little practice, can make your own, and that, if practiced, will become habit-forming.”
– Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett’s 7 Secrets for Living a Happy and Simple Life
Part of success is mindset – and those who are successful at overcoming challenges or excelling make great mentors. They understand the power of your mindset. A mentor can be someone you know personally (or seek out and become friends with), people you read about, or those no longer living.

I like meeting people I admire – most of them are completely within reach. It’s surprising how easy it is to meet people if you are persistent – it’s something I’ve done all of my life.

I’ve met the Dalai Lama and the president of the United States, plus many people you may not know about who’ve done great things and overcome huge obstacles.

Where can I find great mentors?
One way to find mentors is through organizations. I’ve belonged to real estate associations, political associations, and other groups. Some are a waste of your time, but others like one I’m involved in is the Granite Education Foundation. This organization have been very helpful and extremely rewarding for me. Find organizations that are doing good work in your community and you’ll likely find mentors who you can learn from.

One way I find people to follow is I read newspapers, magazines (like Fortune, Forbes, Time Magazine, Newsweek) and see who is being talked about. Then I seek those people out. It’s not hard to get to know people. One way that can work – is to keep asking for an audience until you get a response.

Once I decided I wanted to meet the Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonalds and I did it through sheer persistence. Ray didn’t make his fortune until he was 55 years old. He started by studying the success of a small burger joint in Southern California and later bought it and franchised it around the world. He made several billion dollars.

He started out flipping hamburgers and 40 years later he was the CEO of the company. How did he do it? I wanted to talk to him, find out more. So I devised a method and I persisted. I called his office asking to meet him until one day he gave in. He gave me 20 mins. but when we got talking I was there for two hours. We became friends and he gave me great advice that helped in a huge way to build my own fortune.

Another one of my heroes was the billionaire Aristotle Onasis. The story goes that he wanted to meet a famous Argentinian businessman. He only made 25 cents an hour and had little hope of ever meeting the man.

His plan was to stand by the man’s gate every day, not saying a word. After standing in the same place for several weeks, this important man that he wanted to meet finally couldn’t stand the suspense any longer. He confronted Aristotle and said who are you and what do you want? And from that initial meeting, Aristotle learned a great deal that helped his success.

Another person I want to meet now is Nando Parrado. I am planning to travel to South America to meet him. He was one of the few survivors of a deadly plane crash in the Andes mountains. He spent 72 days in freezing temperatures then climbed over 17,000 foot ice capped mountains and led a rescue party to the other survivors. It just about killed him but he lived and wrote the book about his experiences in, “Miracle in the Andes.”

I always have a list of people I want to meet. What do I want to learn from these men and others like them? I want to know their thoughts – what’s inside of their heads. How they survived and thrived through difficulties. Some disclose it in their books but not all do. I want to know how their experiences affect their lives now. How it affects their thinking.

So one of my secrets to passion in life is to make a list of who you want to meet and why you want to meet them.


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