Everything is a mentor. If you are a zero, and have passion for reinvention, then everything you look at will be a metaphor for what you want to do. The tree you see, with roots you don’t, with underground water that feeds it, is a metaphor for computer programming if you connect the dots. And everything you look at, you will connect the dots.
This is a little over the top but I absolutely live by the "everything is a mentor" mentality. I think that every single person in this world has something to offer. The mean people. The nice people. The homeless people. The millionaires. The rich smart nice bosses. The rich idiotic mean bosses. Everyone.
When I was 15 or 16 years old I hung out with a pretty rough crowd. I was in high school, good grades, played the game right, etc. My friends were mostly 18-24 year olds living at their parents house or in long term motels. Selling drugs, occasionally working, in and out of jail etc. Girls who relied on their boyfriends for everything and would flail around like a miserable whore when their guy would get locked up. I knew I would graduate high school at the top of my class and go to a college and make a life. But this was fun in the mean time. I was full of fuck my parents teenage angst and searching for something more thrilling than homework.
One of the guys I was closest with was a very good at dealing drugs and making money, but he was an utter moron at everything else, including not getting caught at selling said drugs. He went away 3 times for felony possession with intent - once for jaywalking with an 28 gram bags of blow in his pocket. Luckily for him, California is a miserable failure in terms of managing their prisons so Prop 37 was passed, he was out in 3 months and I picked him up from Twin Towers.
Now this guy was really stupid. As it, it was hard to have a conversation with him sometimes because the things that went on in our heads were so far apart. I looked down on him. I had fun with him and 'respected' him because he demanded respect. People who are in an out of prison are obsessive about their loyalty and respect. But I mostly thought he was a worthless waste of space and had nothing to offer me or anyone else.
We stopped at a place on the way home to get some steak and beer at one of those dingy places with mirrors on the ceiling and waitresses in cowboy lingerie. And he's the happiest motherfucker in the world. He's got everything he wants. He has beer, steak, a ride home and a bunch of half naked women around him. In that moment he didn't care about anything else.
And that's when I realized that he had a lot more to offer me than I thought. I had probably never experienced the level of happiness and bliss he was experiencing at that moment. I would probably never demand the level of respect he had from strangers on the street. The way he carried himself, the way he looked at people and listened to what they had to say and then either violently dismissed it or made them feel like they had just said the smartest thing. I had none of this. I was wrapped up in a selfish little bubble of elitism and considered myself better than everyone around me.
Once I started looking at the people around me like that, I started learning a lot more and became a lot happier. I don't take advice on how to stay out of prison from this guy. But I still enjoy a good steak and beer at a hole in the wall and enjoy it for what it is. I try to let the world and stress and to-do lists fall away and live in the moment and have a half hour of bliss.
Everyone is a mentor for something. No one is a mentor for everything. The best way to live is to soak up as much from everyone around you and decide how you're going to take the pieces and apply it to your life or your job or your hobbies.