The primary message of the Theory of 5 is that we believe the happiest, most prosperous people in the world have found a way to excel and continue to grow in five crucial areas — spirituality, relationships, parenting, business and finance, and health and fitness — by working with mentors and co-mentors.
When we identify those around us who are excelling in these zones — and when they agree to or naturally begin to coach us— we’re well on our way to enjoying success at levels we never dreamed possible.
There’s another element of the Theory of 5, however, that we shouldn’t neglect. Just as important as finding mentors is becoming a mentor.
I believe we have an obligation to those who successfully guided us when we were coming up to share their wisdom. We learned from them because they modeled how the proper behaviors and actions can create exceptional results over time. We’re often unable to repay them because they don’t require our assistance, we might not be near them or they may have passed on.
The way we can repay our mentors is to pay it forward.
Someone took the time and spent the energy to share valuable lessons and coach us in the areas of life that create happiness and prosperity. When we’ve gained enough knowledge and wisdom, it is now our time to follow their example.
There are many reasons we should become mentors — just as there are many benefits.
When the person we mentor has success, it’s our success, as well.
When we’re striving to master an area of life, fighting our battles and facing our challenges, we often don’t have the mental bandwidth to look around and find joy in the process. Our incremental accomplishments might go unnoticed or unappreciated because we’re already on to the next round.
Now, imaging going through these times again, this time being aware of all the minor successes that go into winning significant victories. When we mentor someone, we not only have the opportunity to see them work to achieve what they’ve set out to accomplish, but we have the chance to see it through their eyes, as well. Their victories become our victories, and we share in their joy as they win.
Of course, we’ll also be there for them through the inevitable setbacks. We’ll remember our own struggles, and we’ll share with them how thoughts like “Why go on?” or “I can’t do this!” will barely be remembered when seen from the rear-view mirror on their road to success.
It keeps us motivated and on the right course.
The best way to truly internalize something is to teach it to someone else. This forces us to break down the topic, examine our own notions and understandings and then compile our thoughts in ways that will be useful for teaching. We often perform tasks on auto-pilot when we achieve a level of mastery. We stop thinking about or sometimes even noticing what we’re actually doing. If we apply scrutiny to our actions, we might even discover better ways of accomplishing our tasks.
Being accountable for our actions, behaviors and results is also a way to make sure we are continually giving our best effort. When we train someone on how to do something, and then they see us not following our own advice, that would make us a hypocrite — something we know is unacceptable.
Knowing someone is watching us — someone who admires us and believes in us — is a great way to hold ourselves accountable, keep our priorities in mind and maintain positive pressure to perform at our peak.
It’s simply the right thing to do.
Being self-absorbed has no place in a Theory of 5 lifestyle. We’ve all known people who were there when there was something you could do for them, but when the time came for them to return the effort, they were nowhere to be found. “What can you do for me?” is a small, petty way to live. “What can we do for each other?” is a much more positive, healthy standard that supports future happiness and prosperity.
As stated previously, we might not be able to repay our own mentors, just as those we are mentoring might not be able to repay us.
That’s fine. That’s how it should be.
Don’t mentor someone because we want something from them. Do it because someone did it for us. And, in the future, our students will teach others. The lessons are passed down, with each person adding their own experience to their teaching, and cheering their students on to victory.
Imagine a society where this was the norm! How much better would the world be? We can’t control the actions of others, but we can make sure we add positivity to the lives of those around us. When we coach, train, guide, support and root for those who need us, we leave a lasting mark on the world for the better.