We strive for success in our life, no matter where we are. From education to a fancy-dress competition, maybe a debate, or our career we settle in. No matter what age, or position we all strive for success. Who runs a race for coming second? (Well, maybe if it is fixed) No one otherwise ever plans on coming second. Though it is nearly impossible to get the First position every time. But we work hard for it, we fail again and work harder. Like Ants!! At least that’s what we have always been told to do, ever since we are young. Success and failures and again the success, a vicious circle.
Success and the Successor: Mentor And Role Model
Oscar Wilde once quoted, “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise”. On this journey to our self-improved life, we encounter various struggles. These struggles shape us in the perfect mold. But as it rightly said, you cannot do all by yourself.
There comes an importance of having a role model or a mentor in your life. I am sure you must have heard it a lot of times from your parents, elder siblings, teachers and who not. To succeed, have a role model. I don’t deny it either.
A mentor and role model, not only guide you but helps you to discover the need to succeed in your life. Throughout our life, we need someone to support us, or maybe just to share our feelings. As a child, we have our parents, then as we move ahead we enlarge that personal space and include our best friends, partner, family etc.
Similarly, as we move ahead in our career, we need someone to be there. This mentor or role model helps us identify where we are, where we are supposed to go and what be our first aid kit in times of failure.
Illustration by Nagma Khan
We tend to admire our role model and imitate their success. We would like to imitate their success. They may be great achievers in their professional life or could be people depicting an exemplary character in personal life.
It is seen that role models have a fantasy like an achievement. It might be impossible for us to replicate their success in our life. Usually, these are people whom you observe and then consider what you could do differently idolizing them, that would enhance your life.
Most often, the role models we have in our life are famous celebrities, sportspersons, famous political leaders, successful entrepreneurs or businessman and many more according to your likes and preferences whom you idolize.
Illustration by Nagma Khan
On the other hand, a mentor is a trusted adviser. They exist in the reality than just in a fantasy world. They help you in guiding towards the future goals of your life and mold your personal and professional lives. They provide you with a positive direction in your life.
This cannot be done in a day, they have to be around for a long time, as building character is a long-term task.
It is thus important to choose a mentor who has more experience than you and who is around you more often. An elder family member like a parent or sibling is, therefore, the best choice at a young age.
Choosing a neighbor is also a good option. But, as you grow up and choose a profession, only someone from that field can help you best, therefore a senior colleague or a supervisor willing to mentor you is the most desirable course.
We get inspiration from Role Models but Mentors inspire us and truly impact our lives. They come and go as we move ahead in our lives with our varied personal and professional goals.
Considering my own example, I have had many role models and mentors. During my early childhood, I admired Kalpana Chawla and looked up to her achievements, then at another stage of my life, it was Yuvraj Singh.
Currently, I consider Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam as my role model. Whereas, if I talk about my mentors, I consider my teacher, my parents and siblings to be in that role. They have been there throughout my life.
They have guided, inspired, and motivated me to lead me to where I am today. Now, the question arises that how should one choose a mentor in life? I am pretty sure that you will agree that none would apply to it if posted this job on naukri.com, or in any newspaper. But, trust me it is not that difficult to choose a mentor in your life.
There are a few simple things you ought to remember while choosing a mentor. Before going through these steps, remember a cautionary statement. It is certainly not necessary that they have to be from your field of study or interest only.
- Do you need them to be present around you often? If yes, look around. Find out who inspires you. Who do you think is most likely your idol?
- After choosing, remember as much as they are willing to share their experiences, knowledge, skills, and expertise. You should also be equally willing to gain from it as much as you can. Remember you are not being fed here. You are just being taught how to cook.
- The last but not the least, make it a point that having a mentor does not give you a guarantee for a successful career/life. They just give you enough strength to carry on even if you fail.
Well, I hope this will help you to find the best role model/mentor as you may need and desire in your life. Good Luck!! Hopefully in times to come as you lead ahead in your life you make a great role model and mentor for those around you.
Success and the Successor: Mentor and Role Model. Do you think this matter? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes sells 30 minutes Patented Daydream Charms to Hogwarts students so that they don’t have to suffer unprofitable boredom listening to school lectures. The daydream takes them to another level of consciousness completely aloof from the surroundings. But the side-effects will include vacant expressions and minor drooling. This is a fantasy in the surreal world of Harry Potter.
In our dimension of reality, the Patented Daydream Charms may not be an actuality but, the daydreams are. Humans don’t need any charms or amulets to experience it. This natural phenomenon is called Mind Wandering.
Illustration by Nagma Khan
Haven’t you ever found yourself lost while attending a lecture in a classroom? How embarrassing it has been when the professor suddenly asks something and you were unable to respond, lost in your own thoughts. It would even get more embarrassing if you were unable to recall the time since your mind got distracted.
Mind wandering is experienced very frequently. It occurs even in those situations where it is risky to lose one’s attention, such as driving. When the mind wanders, an individual’s attention drifts from the current thought (usually an external task) to inner thoughts and images that are unrelated to the present situation. The thoughts that occur during mind wandering are often known to reflect either the past experiences or future contemplation.
During mind wandering one’s thoughts usually, border between conscious and pre-conscious levels.
- Conscious Level consists of those thoughts, feelings, and perceptions with which one is fully aware at the present moment.
- Pre-conscious Level contains those thoughts and feelings about which one is not aware of at the present moment but can easily retrieve them with some effort.
Illustration by Nagma Khan
Mind Wandering happens to people of all ages. Research says that people tend to spend somewhere between 25%-50% of their waking hours engaged in thoughts that are unrelated to here and now. (Killingsworth & Gilbert 2010).
Although mind wandering may distract one’s mind, or make them feel lost, it is not always bad to let it happen. The content of the thoughts determines whether it has a positive or negative effect in daily life.
For instance, thinking about how your meeting may go or planning a holiday may help you plan for future events more smoothly. But at the same time thinking about past failures or how things could have gone the other way are less likely to be helpful, and may, in fact, exacerbate states of worry or unhappiness leading to stress. Thus mind wandering has both costs and benefits.
Mind Wandering may benefit by:
- Allowing one to focus on the future and reflect on the past. Thus, consciously allowing one to connect past and future self together.
- Providing creative inspiration and help produce novel solutions to various problems.
- Consolidating self-memories (Smallwood et al., 2011) and linking to a style of long-term decision making characterized by patients rather than impulsiveness (Smallwood et, 2013).
- Helping one to de-stress themselves. When stuck in the stressful situation, one should let their mind wander. Living in the fantasy world (of course with certain limits) may help to overcome the stress.
Although mind-wandering helps in enhancing creativity, planning, and organization, it may be unpleasant for individuals who experience it and is disruptive to the task at hand.
Some of the Detriments of mind-wandering may include:
- It may interfere with and disrupt the on-going task performance and may reduce external vigilance (McVay and Kane, 2009).
- It can also be a marker for certain psychiatric problems such as Dysphoria (a state of unease or dissatisfaction). Smallwood, O’Connor, and Heim (2005) suggested that when the ruminative style of thinking is combined with negative mood, it may strengthen the association between mind-wandering and #dysphoria.
- Moreover, it has been suggested that mind wandering often accompanies an unhappy mood as thinking about the past enhances adverse emotions especially if the past has negative connotations. Thus mind wandering may have maladaptive consequences for health and may impact psychological well-being. There has been substantial evidence suggesting that people who experience more mind-wandering suffer more from increased depressive symptomology (Smallwood et al 2007) and report less life satisfaction (Mar et al., 2012).
In order to reduce the detrimental effects of mind wandering the following techniques can be taken into account:
- ‘Meditation’ is one of the obvious technique. It helps one to enhance concentration abilities which allows one to focus more on the current task or activity.
- ‘Mindfulness in action techniques’ is another way to bring mindfulness into the activities of everyday life. These techniques are especially good for those who have very low impulse control and distress tolerance. For instance, according to Linehan (2003), one technique could be focusing awareness on an aspect of physical habit which was previously outside one’s conscious awareness. Example:
- Noticing how tight you hold the steering wheel while driving.
- Being aware of what happens to your breathing or voice tone in an argument.
- Killingsworth, M. A. & Gilbert, D. T. (2010). A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Science Volume 330, 932–932.
- Mooneyham, B.W., & Schooler, J.W. (2013).The costs and benefits of mind-wandering: A review, Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, Volume 67, 1, 11–18.
- Smallwood, J., O’Connor, R. C., & Heim, D. (2005). Rumination, dysphoria and subjective experience, Imagination, cognition and personality, Volume 24(4), 355-367.
- Smallwood, J., & Schooler, J.W. (2015). The Science of Mind Wandering: Empirically Navigating the Stream of Consciousness, Annual Review, Volume 66, 487-518.
- Smallwood, J., and Hanna, J.A., (2013). Not all minds that wander are lost: the importance of a balanced perspective on the mind-wandering state, Frontiers in Psychology, Volume 4.