Mentors: How to Help and Be Helped

Russell Brand

Some of you may recognize Russell Brand as the man who once dated Jemima Khan. I was never a huge fan of Russell Brand. He always came across as someone who’s always drunk, ranting off unnecessary information and unstable. Having said that, when I saw `Jay Shetty interviewing Brand, my perspective changed and I realized I had judged Brand too soon. Brand actually spoke very intelligently and sensibly. Soon enough, I started following Brand on Facebook and now regularly watch his videos. He’s a smart guy, who articulates himself so well with clear and precise ideas. His ideas and concepts are spot on.

Mentors

I had picked up Mentors on my recent trip to London (merely because these kinds of books are not available in Pakistan!) and having read it over the course of one night, I somewhat enjoyed this book. What helped me with this book was having read his previous book Recovery, which covered his journey through addiction and how he recovered himself through the 12 Steps program. Recovery gave me a great insight into Brand’s struggles and issues in life and certainly gave hope that if people like him can change their lives around, so can others.

Mentors is basically a book about Brand’s own journey on being mentored by several people, and how in turn you can mentor others around you. He shares some great tips on how to find a mentor, how to sustain a working relationship with a mentor, and how you can become a mentor to others.

The chapters are fairly short (the book is only 162 pages long) and the writing style is a pure conversationalist and personal. It might take the unaccustomed reader a moment to get used to the writing style, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a breezy read—although the chapters are full of heavy ideas.

There are eight chapters dedicated to each of the mentor Brand has encountered. They range from a devoted atheist to a guru in India, to a martial arts teacher, to a counselor to a divine woman in India. Each of these mentors has taught Brand one thing or another about how to deal with life’s difficult moments.

While I won’t get into all the details, I will share some key moments.

“I approach my teacher, my ‘mentor’, in an honest, open-minded and willing way.” (page 23)

“Admit you have a problem. Believe in the possibility of change. Ask for help and follow suggestion.” (page 24)

“A mentor is a type of hero and a hero is a symbol, much of the work they do for you is in effect done by you, yourself, in your own mind.” (page 31).

“Asking someone to mentor you is a simultaneous acknowledgment of vulnerability and admiration.” (page 38).

“Note the people around you. `do they want you to grow? Observe them. Who do they want you to be? You may not need to eliminate them from your life, but you will need to renegotiate them.” (page 76).

“Good therapists, who here I submit are different from mentors only in name, have a capacity to feel and intuit the requirements of their clients.” (page 80-81).

“We can start to change the world by loving each other.” (page 96)

“The point is, even elevated souls are subject to emotions that cause agitation but they are able to use them as spurs to move closer to the light, more kindling to burn in ascension, rather than ignition for penurious action.” (page 119)

On Mentoring Others

Just sharing two important aspects of mentoring others. I loved the part where he shares how helping others help us grow too. All about gratitude.

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Personally Speaking

Over the course of the last four years, I have had the privilege of having two mentors in my own life. They are people who guide me, who counsel me, who tell me straight to my face what I should and shouldn’t do. They have helped me grow so much, both professionally and personally.

This, in turn, has helped me mentor others, and I find it a privilege when friends and colleagues reach out to me asking me to help them. There is no greater joy than this.

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