One of the most beautiful displays of humility shown by a successful person can be seen when they look about and thank those who have contributed to their achievements. Everyone knows that getting far in life, often involves a large number of people that may not receive any of the credit given to those who spearhead efforts and are seen as the public face of the endeavor.
Mentoring creates beautiful meaningful relationships based on commitment and hard work towards a goal. When someone chooses a mentor, they look for traits they want to emulate and also for figures they admire and whose opinion and knowledge on a subject they respect and consider relevant enough to follow.
Throughout history, there have been many mentor-mentee relationships that will always be remembered for the great influence they’ve held on their particular fields. Let it be athletes, lawyers, business professionals and even authors; you will be hard press to find one single influential personality who doesn’t attribute a large part of their success to the mentors that inspired and guided them.
Here we have a list of a few greatly influential mentor-mentee relationships that have made history.
Martin Luther King and Benjamin Mays
Benjamin Mays was at odds with civil right inequality years before Martin Luther King was even born. Back in 1936, the year after he received his doctorate in Chicago, Mays traveled to India and interviewed Gandhi and was touched by his principles of nonviolence. He saw in this doctrine a way to shape the ideas that would eventually become the civil rights movement adopted by Dr. King in the United States. Benjamin Mays and Martin Luther King met in the mid 40’s when Mays was president of Morehouse College and King was becoming the nation’s most famous civil rights leader while only in his 20’s. King always saw a mentor and father figure in Mays and adopted fiercely his ideas about the need to provide a dignified environment to all human beings to thrive and the incompatibility of American democratic ideals with American social practices; making them key tenants in his own ideology. Mays delivered the eulogy at King’s funeral in 1968 and called upon Americans to turn their outrage and sorrow into hope for the future and not to dishonor Dr. King’s name and all that he had fought and given his life for.
Colin Powell and Luther Powell
Former U.S. Secretary of State and U.S. Army General, Colin Powell considered his father, Luther Powell a powerful mentor. Their belief in the power of mentoring and the importance of passing down knowledge to the next generation motivated their careers and has always been of great importance to them. He believes that us adults it is important to pass down hundreds of years of experience to help guide youth through the right path, he said: “…all of us, as citizens of this great country, have an obligation to not only raise our own children in this manner so that they can be a great new generation; we have an obligation to do this for all of our children, especially those children who don’t have this family structure, or whose family structure needs some help. And that’s why mentoring is so important.”
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet
The richest and second richest men in America are the closest of friends. Bill Gates has always made public his admiration for Buffet and values his mentorship above all. The pair met at a dinner organized by Gates’ mother, where the two spoke about business and philanthropy and realized together they could make a big difference. They lobby together and hold many of the same ideas about tax rates, investments and using their money and influence to change the life of many people through their charitable foundations.
Bill Gates turned to Buffet for advice when he and his wife started the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Warrant Buffet mentored him and showed him his view on attacking poverty and disease the same way one looks at businesses with a cool and clear approach towards your goals. Buffer has donated over 2 billion towards the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau
Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau are considered two of the most influential and inspiring transcendentalist writers of their time. Both men extensively studied and embraced nature and it was Emerson’s view and interaction with his study of the natural world that inspired Thoreau and guided him on his writing of his master work on living in natural surroundings, Walden. Thoreau was highly influenced by his mentor, who helped shaped his ideas about individualism and the role of men in a society faced with the need we all have to be individual first before becoming subjects in order to create a stronger sense of kinship and connection to our fellow human beings. One of the key teachings Emerson passed down to Thoreau was that of keeping a journal. Emerson’s own journal comes to 16 large volumes, in the definitive Harvard University Press edition published between 1960 and 1982 and is considered by many, his key literary achievement. He believe to be of great importance the practice of keeping one’s experienced recorded for review and to be drawn upon for later examination.