Author Topic: 'Why Your Mentors Seem Less Impressive Over Time'  (Read 1965 times)

Liberty

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'Why Your Mentors Seem Less Impressive Over Time'
« on: June 05, 2018, 12:09:37 PM »
I wrote something. It's a pretty obvious concept, but for some reason I felt like writing it down. Sharing it in case someone else finds some interest in it, but frankly, it's nothing that will blow your mind, just a little phenomenon I kept noticing:

https://medium.com/@Liberty/why-your-mentors-seem-less-impressive-over-time-e6d8938b2d51
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Hielko

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Re: 'Why Your Mentors Seem Less Impressive Over Time'
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2018, 12:13:46 PM »
Good post. Agree with it very much :)

rkbabang

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Re: 'Why Your Mentors Seem Less Impressive Over Time'
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2018, 12:20:34 PM »
"People like Warren Buffett, Richard Feynman, Charlie Munger, Daniel Kahneman & Amos Tversky, etc. These are pretty revered names, but there are also many other mentors and teachers operating at levels below the superstars. They might not be quite as well-known or have reputations quite as bullet-proof, but they are still very good at what they do"

Maybe what separates the true superstars (the Buffetts & Feynmans of the world) from the mere mortals are that they still seem pretty damn impressive (even if not quite as impressive as they seemed at first) even after many decades.

villainx

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Re: 'Why Your Mentors Seem Less Impressive Over Time'
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2018, 12:24:04 PM »
I think a feel more examples would help.  I'm not a seasoned pro, but I still revere Buffett and most of the other from a distance as well as direct mentors.  Then again, I'm at the steep climbing phase ... though I hope that's where I stay for the indefinite future.

The more normal mentor / student breakdown I see is  ... Weill and Dimon?  Where the student was ready to be the master type of situation. 

Liberty

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Re: 'Why Your Mentors Seem Less Impressive Over Time'
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2018, 12:34:53 PM »
I think a feel more examples would help.  I'm not a seasoned pro, but I still revere Buffett and most of the other from a distance as well as direct mentors.  Then again, I'm at the steep climbing phase ... though I hope that's where I stay for the indefinite future.

The more normal mentor / student breakdown I see is  ... Weill and Dimon?  Where the student was ready to be the master type of situation.

I didn't mean to imply that it happens to everybody, and I probably should have made that clear. It's just something that I often see in a noticeable fraction of the "old students" for many mentors. I think the best way to avoid this phenomenon is to be aware of it and calibrate yourself to the fact that the novelty has worn off and the low-hanging fruits have been picked. I think some people don't do that, and see to expect their mentors to constantly blow their minds the way they did initially.

And I intentionally didn't name anyone else than some superstars because I didn't feel good comfortable doing so.

Or I could be wrong about all this! \_(ツ)_/
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Parsad

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Re: 'Why Your Mentors Seem Less Impressive Over Time'
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2018, 01:19:22 PM »
Hi Liberty,

You are actually probably correct.  I think part of the reason is that as people do well in their own lives, they lose a bit of humility and their egos tend to become somewhat enlarged.

I have to say, that I'm actually more impressed by my mentors as I'm aging.  The reason being isn't so much in what they have accomplished, but how they did it and how they continue to fight or persevere no matter how much the winds might blow against them.

Warren Buffett - He continues to do things at his age that simply cannot be duplicated by the vast population of his followers...first you have to live as long as him...second you have to be as damn consistent...and lastly, you have to be as good!

Charlie Munger - What is there to say...like Popeye, "I ams what I ams!"  Title of "the most interesting man in the world" actually belongs to Munger, not the "Dos Equis" guy!

Prem Watsa - Here goes the only man I know whose ego truly disappears every time he makes a deal.  Accolades go to everyone except himself!  And any philanthropic work he does...just please don't talk about it or mention his name.  One of the best leaders I have ever seen.

Mohnish Pabrai - Every time someone tells him how badly he sucks, he goes and hits a homerun.  Ego is very un-Prem-like, but talent and smarts is all there.  One of the few people who will actually say when he sucks wind...but pursues every day trying to make himself better and better.

Francis Chou - About the only person I know, that could out humble Prem!  Continues to do what he does every day...builds wealth for others and himself...and never forgets who he is and how he got there.

I can't say I'm less amazed by these guys today.  I know alot more, and have hit a few homeruns myself, but their consistency, longevity and humility, as well as their insights...continue to astound me!  Cheers!
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Travis Wiedower

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Re: 'Why Your Mentors Seem Less Impressive Over Time'
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2018, 06:45:41 PM »
My only clarification / quibble (and maybe I simply misinterpreted): I don't think learning a lot from mentors and being impressed by them is mutually exclusive. Speaking anecdotally, but I learned a ton from Buffett when I was starting out (one of the first things I did when I got into investing was print out the entire buffettfaq.com website and read it all) - not so much anymore. I was pretty underwhelmed by the Berkshire meeting this year, but only because I know how he's going to answer the vast majority of questions since I've read so much of his stuff in the past.

None of that takes away from how impressed I am and how much respect I have for him though - probably even more so actually. The longer I invest the more I appreciate how difficult it is and the more humbled I am by his long-term track record (which is blown up and hanging next to my desk as a reminder).
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Liberty

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Re: 'Why Your Mentors Seem Less Impressive Over Time'
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2018, 06:48:45 AM »
My only clarification / quibble (and maybe I simply misinterpreted): I don't think learning a lot from mentors and being impressed by them is mutually exclusive. Speaking anecdotally, but I learned a ton from Buffett when I was starting out (one of the first things I did when I got into investing was print out the entire buffettfaq.com website and read it all) - not so much anymore. I was pretty underwhelmed by the Berkshire meeting this year, but only because I know how he's going to answer the vast majority of questions since I've read so much of his stuff in the past.

None of that takes away from how impressed I am and how much respect I have for him though - probably even more so actually. The longer I invest the more I appreciate how difficult it is and the more humbled I am by his long-term track record (which is blown up and hanging next to my desk as a reminder).

I agree with that. I think a related phenomenon that I might write about is when you know someone so well that the simulation of them that you run in your brain gets good enough (even if still crude) that you can predict them pretty decently. I think that's kind of why Munger and Buffett used to talk for hours each day, and now they haven't been doing that in a while. Not because they aren't interested in what the other thinks, but because they know so well how they think. We end up being like that with some people like Buffett too, so that certainly reduces the novelty factor over time...

But yeah, the piece I wrote is flawed in many ways. I could've made it clearer that I didn't mean that I thought this phenomenon happened to everyone, and as you point out, I could've made it clearer that to many people, they don't become less impressed even if they learn a lot less. I had a hard time finding the right word to describe things and ended up going with "impressed" in the title and that colors the interpretation of the whole thing, but I'm not sure what other word I could have used that would've been more precise... Writing's hard! Especially when it's about meta-cognition and fuzzy things like that...
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villainx

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Re: 'Why Your Mentors Seem Less Impressive Over Time'
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2018, 12:26:57 PM »
No problem.  There's some food for thought there.  But it gets really hamstrung by lack of examples, which you stated was intentional.  At least from your own personal perspective would be helpful.

I think the clearest example for me, is that I have memories of a former sales manager of mine that was an avid reader to improve his skills.  20 years later, I still can't forget that example, and I still aspire to be like that.  So for me, I don't have mentor fatigue, every - or even little - nuggets is still immensely powerful, and reminder or repetition don't lessen that.

Spekulatius

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Re: 'Why Your Mentors Seem Less Impressive Over Time'
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2018, 03:38:19 PM »
Some the  things in management just seem to be fads that over time lose their shine. I feel that way about Jim Collins books (Good to great, Build to last) as well as the more recent “Outsider” fad. in both cases, I feel like findings from interesting cases studies have been generalized too much..
« Last Edit: June 07, 2018, 04:25:19 AM by Spekulatius »
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