Who Makes the Best Mentor? And Coming to Terms with My $14,500 Mentor Failure

Who makes the best mentor? According to research, it's not the star performers: In an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, for example, Jerker Denrell of the University of Oxford and Chengwei Liu of the University of Warwick counsel us to model ourselves on solid, second-tier performers, not the flashy types who come in first. The researchers reported on the results of a game played in many rounds. Over time, the most skilled players came to inhabit a second tier of reliable competence. Those who succeeded spectacularly—who took their places in the first tier—were often not the most skilled, but rather were those who got some lucky breaks early on or took big risks that happened to pay off. Emulating these top performers would probably lead to disappointment, since imitators would be unlikely to replicate their good fortune. Because luck and risk play a dominant role in extraordinary outcomes, Denrell and Liu write, “extreme success or failure are, at best, only weak … [Read more...]

Rob Hatch on Learning versus “Figuring It Out”

A great post from Rob Hatch on asking why asking an expert is usually better than just figuring things out yourself: I do have limited time. Do I want to spend my limited time training, or do I want to spend it putting my own plan together after reading about how to train, what to eat, how to fuel, what to wear, how to transition, analyzing my swim, my cycling, my run, as well as training? My goals are to be healthy, have fun, and compete. The pursuit of these goals has to mesh with my other goals, one of which is being present with my family. Spending time figuring it out, short changes my actual training time and the pursuit of all my goals. I came to this realization after hiring a Triathlon coach. Once I understood the elements she would be coaching me on, I realized just how much time I have freed up to pursue ALL of my goals. I also realized how much more I will be learning from her, rather than just figuring it out. Is there something that you’re holding on to doing on your own? Are you … [Read more...]