5 Powerful Mentoring Relationships that Influenced the World
It looks like everyone on your timeline has it all figured out except you. In fact, you are a superstar when you can tell a story of how you made it from grass to grace, all by yourself. I am seeking the attention of a generation that continually denigrates the importance of mentoring.
You think that your story will lose its flavor when you add stances of when you were helpless, and a mentor’s wealth of experience brought you back on track. You are telling a big lie when you create an impression that you are an island of knowledge.
If you are on a journey to a location for the very first time, to reduce your chances of getting lost, you can ask for directions from a guide. Or better still, use Google Map and follow the instructions until you get to your destination.
Of course, you are smarter than folks that think they can reach their destination through guesses and permutations. You are smart because you conserve energy and you save time. This ultimately reflects in your speed and refreshing look when you get to your destination. No beating around the bush, you went straight to the point.
Life is a journey and if you know where you are going, finding the right mentor can be the gamechanger. Mentoring is a highly rewarding experience but before you start looking for a mentor, make sure you provide answers to these eight questions
To drive home the importance of mentoring, I have decided to share stories of five powerful mentoring relationships that influenced the world.
5 Mentoring Relationships
1. Socrates mentored Plato
You don’t need to attend a philosophy class before you know these names – Socrates and Plato. Both are pillars in Greek philosophy and the bedrock of what makes modern philosophers stay awake at night.
Interestingly, despite the popularity of Socrates today, there is no record of his writings before his death which is strange for a philosopher of his class. Socrates is credited as the founder of Western philosophy and contributed immensely to ethics as the first moral philosopher.
All that you learnt in school about Socrates were chiefly the works of his followers and students. This is where Plato comes in, he is often regarded as the “best disciple of Socrates.” Some of the best and detailed accounts of Socrates’ work stemmed from the writings of Plato.
If Socrates covered the first thousand miles of Greek philosophy, Plato perhaps paced through the next five thousand miles. Plato did more than contributing to Western philosophy, he laid the foundations for Western science and mathematics.
2. Plato mentored Aristotle
It’s interesting to see a trend in Classical Greece that preserved the excellent knowledge of great philosophers. At the age of 17 or 18, Aristotle enrolled in Plato’s Academy in Athens and remained Plato’s student until he turned 37.
He is known as the “Father of Western Philosophy.” The teachings of Aristotle served as the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy. The principle of kinematics developed by Galileo Galilei and William Harvey’s explanation of blood circulation in the human body were both reactions to the writings of Aristotle.
To prove that the torch of knowledge passed down the line burned with much intensity, Aristotle’s writings moved beyond the tents of philosophy to poetry, science, linguistics, politics, government, and economics. Although he did not establish an academy like Plato, he started a library in Lyceum after Plato’s death.
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
3. Aristotle mentored Alexander the Great
Shortly after Plato’s death, Aristotle left Athens and moved to the palace of King Philip II of Macedon. Aristotle had a paid job in the palace as a tutor for King Philip’s son, Alexander the Great. Alexander was under the tutelage of Aristotle during his youth until age 16. After King Philip’s assassination, Alexander the Great became the King of Macedonia at the age of 20.
Though he died at the age of 32, Alexander the Great is widely regarded as one of the greatest military commanders in history. He never lost a battle. He created one of the largest empires in the ancient world at a young age of 30. His kingdom extended from Greece to northwestern India.
4. George Wythe mentored Thomas Jefferson
If you know a bit of American history, these names will sound familiar because they played vital roles in America’s Independence. George Wythe was a renowned classics scholar and America’s first law professor.
He was a notable law professor at the College of William & Mary and served as a teacher to a sizeable number of prominent American leaders. Amidst his mentees, he was exceptionally close to Thomas Jefferson.
Jefferson showcased the brilliance of one that was well-taught by a sage – he was both an exceptional leader and a superb writer.
When it was time for America to craft its Declaration of Independence, the leader of the Continental Congress, John Adams, persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. When you read the Declaration of Independence, you are reading the writings of Jefferson.
Jefferson, alongside his mentor, George Wythe were two out of the seven Virginia signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence. He authored the Declaration in July 1776 and later served two terms as America’s third President from 1801 to 1809 after serving as the nation’s first Secretary of State under President George Washington.
5. Benjamin Graham mentored Warren Buffett
Finally, one of my examples has one of its legends living with us. Warren Buffet, while he was in his early twenties, met a man who changed his perspective on investment and perhaps changed the course of his life forever.
Benjamin Graham was a British-born American economist, investor, and professor. He etched his name in history as the “father of value investing,” and authored two stellar books that have served as a collage of timeless investment principles.
Perhaps, one of his greatest investments was mentoring the young and energetic Warren Buffet who has grown to become the wizard of value investing in the world. Buffet worked in Graham’s company for two years before Graham’s retirement into full-time academic roles.
Buffet learnt the trade from his master, and he is undoubtedly one of the most successful investors in the world with a net worth close to US$84 billion.
It’s clear from these examples that mentoring has stood the test of time as one of the strategies used by champions to reach their destination in destiny. English physicist, Isaac Newton, once said: “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” The further you can see into your future, the more you become confident in its possibility.
What are you waiting for? Embrace mentoring and find the right mentors in your field of interest. Do you know of any other mentoring relationship that has influenced the world? Please feel free to share in the comment section below.
Also published on Medium.