Monday, July 04, 2011

Mentor-student relationship

I was thinking to myself about my motivation to share with people about my little knowledge in the stock market. It takes time, energy and effort to go back and fro in the cbox after working for a good part of the day. The time spent could be used to do the things that I like - reading, watching drama series, playing games and to basically relax, so the opportunity cost is actually quite substantial considering that after the whole exercise, I ended up not indulging in my own relaxation time and actually feeling more tired and drained. But don't get me wrong, it's utterly satisfying to do so, which is why it puzzles me. I'm left wondering what motivates me to spend time, energy and effort to share with others.

I think that the reward of teaching people comes not from the money, or from the lunch treats but for the satisfaction of enriching an eager, humble and open mind. I can't say the same for others, but that is what I know of myself. I don't think it's altruistic in nature - I'm not lawfully good in alignment (I'm lawfully neutral). Perhaps when the satisfaction that I desire is not 'repaid', then the satisfaction of getting paid for my time, energy and effort will be somewhat used as a replacement reward. Why is sharing such knowledge satisfying? I think I've this phenomenon I call "teacher's complex" that gives me the kick when sharing about things that I am passionately involved. Perhaps in the beginning it's like a mentor-student relationship, but when the student gets equal or better than the mentor, it'll become more of a two like-minded people who share the similar view of the world. I find that idea immensely satisfying, and I would conclude that this is ultimately the reason why I would forsake immediate gratification of spending my own time to hopefully spread what I know to people who do not.

But do notice that my criteria of teaching is towards someone with an eager, humble and open mind. What is meant by an eager mind? It is the willingness to learn and this can be exhibited by how much effort the student puts in with reference to how much effort the mentor puts in. I think an eager student would put in much more effort than the mentor. I suppose a mentor wants their student to at least show a certain standard of effort before he would willingly spend more time on his part. It's really a relationship marked by reciprocity. Nobody is willing to give and give and don't take. Such relationship would never be sustainable. What about humble and open minded? I think if a student's mind is fixated on an idea and he is very sure that he is right about that particular idea, it's not too incredible to deduce that the person do not have an open mind (at least with regards to this aspect of thought...I do realise that people can be open in one aspect but closed in others).  I think showing a mentor that you have a open mind and is willing to try out new ideas is one of the main reason why the mentor would even want to share with you in the first place. If you insist that you're right about certain things, I don't think anybody would approach you to share with you what they knew.

Thus in discovering my reasons for sharing with people my knowledge in the stock market, I've also uncovered how to find a mentor in different aspects of life. I've a few mentors whom I model after. They might not even know I'm their student, but I am indeed modelling after their thought process and how they behave in different circumstances. But that is being a silent student, quietly observing his mentor at work. If you want to find a mentor in life, or want mentors to approach you to share what they know, remember the three criteria as a student - eager, humble and an open-mind. Only then - and here I would like to paraphrase bro8888's words - would a master come down from the mountain to impart his skills to you.


Createwealth8888 said...

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” - Buddhist Proverb quotes

But, there will be no shortage of teachers. Some may come to the student with their own commercial interests.

Beware, and open your eyes wide!

Not all teachers that come to you are equal.
Ask yourself this: "Have the teacher travel to the East and meet up with Buddha.". If not, then stay away from him/her. Choose wisely even when the teacher appears.

financialray said...

Agree with Uncle 8888 that there are teachers out there with their commercial interests. Easy for these "teachers" to collect thousands from students and go on to proclaim making more money every year.
The Sunday Times on 3 July 2011 mentioned that more people are doing their own financial planning online with discussion with fellow bloggers and i see that as a possible way to learn for many in the future.
Of course, dangers still exist.
While one can still imbibe Buddhist teachings later on in life, financial planning should hopefully start as young as possible and hopefully on the right track.

Singapore Man Of Leisure said...

"Perhaps in the beginning it's like a mentor-student relationship, but when the student gets equal or better than the mentor, it'll become more of a two like-minded people who share the SIMILAR view of the world."

Hello La Papillion,

1) When I read the above, I have respect for you as not all "mentors" would like to end the mentor-student relationship. Some mentors like to be "on-top" always...

2) However, I have my reservations on this "similar" view of the world...

a) Must it be if you are not with me you are against me? Why can't it be "100 flowers" schools of thought?

b) Perhaps the student did not asked for advice in the first place? Did the mentor not see that the student's cup is full?

c) Maybe having a "closed" mind is best when we are CHARGING towards a goal (action, not talking)- this is not the time to have alternative views to create self-doubts...

d) And one of the best way to learn is by falling down and getting up again. Self-dicovery?
Not all knowledge has to be "taught". Why deny the student this learning option?

3) If I want to learn from a master, I would go to the mountain. Now why would the "master" come down from the mountain to impart his skills to me!? The "master" is lonely or hungry?

Apologies for the long comment. But you bring out lots of inspiration from me! Not everyday I can find a good dialogue partner ;)

I feel like a Zen monk practicing "koans"!

Your fan,
Jared aka SMOL

la papillion said...

Hi bro8888,

I agree..choose wisely even when the teacher appears.

Hi financialray,

Haha, actually I'm talking about mentors with regards to different aspects of life, not just financial.

la papillion said...


1) I think a good mentor would want to see his disciple going above him in skills. In my tutoring line, I can see a few students who can exceed me, but that is rare. I'll be most proud of them.

2) Hmm, perhaps I didn't phrase it properly. What I'm trying to say is that when we know the same jargon, talk about the same thing for some time, you can build up a camaraderie or 'chemistry'. This kind of like-mindedness makes sharing very fulfilling, and that is what I want to capture. It's the shared experience of like-minded people that makes mentoring satisfying, ultimately.

2b) I totally agree. Sometimes there is no student but only a willing teacher. Perhaps overly zealous teacher, haha!

2c) Again, totally agree. When I'm charging towards my goal too, I will close off all my mind and focus on that single sole purpose. Your kungfu very powerful, all your offensive moves pierce through my meager defenses! haha :)

2d) When I'm teaching market newbies what I know, I really want them not to follow my long and time-wasting discovery. I thought that if they can skip a few of my mistakes, they would be so much farther ahead. But you're right, some things cannot be taught and had to be learnt. Of a million sperms, only 1 will make it ;) Thus the nature of things, so be it!

3) Sometimes, the best mentors are the ones that give out because of some of the points that I mentioned in the blog post. They do not label themselves as mentor but the mere act of pointing out some finer points in doing things makes them all the more so. These are the ones that I'm trying to attract to my life, not the ones that I have to go look for purposely. Not sure if I make sense here, haha!

Thanks for your thoughtful and insightful comments :)

Anonymous said...

Hi LP,
At my age (63), what am i doing here?
i like to think i am still learning from all who don't live by bread alone.
i also believe if one doesn't have the ability to go the University to be an "expert" on some "subject", one still can be by "his own way" if he desperately wants to. Ha! HA!

OT83 said...

Hi LP,

I think mentor-student relationship needs to be both for the relationship to be effective and sucessful.

When I was in poly teaching for the 1st year, I really felt very withdrawn when the students simply dont want put in effort and just want to wait for answers. I was very very worried for them and keep trying to force them to learn.

However, as time goes by, I would say I see "open". One simple policy, "Students don't put in effort, I shouldnt' be sad about it. If students put in effort, I will put in more than 100% to make sure they learn something that open their mind, not only in academic."

Enough of sharing of my personal experiences.

Thanks Mentor LP for the nice post. I am still a newbie in stock market. Thanks for the guidance so far!!

la papillion said...

Hi temperament,

It's like what SMOL said, you have your problems, I had mine, you have your own ways, so do I :)

Hi OT,

I fully understand what you mean. It's part of the reason why I blogged this article. I'll feel unbalanced if I always have to put more effort than the students, it's drains me.