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My Mentor Built Me a Mansion

My Mentor Built Me a Mansion

I consider myself to have been mentored by some wonderful people, who have helped to shape the way I view myself, others, and the world. One mentor, in particular, is Dr. Deryl G. Hunt, who happens to also be my business consultant. I am reminded of a conversation I had with him that changed my thinking forever. It seemed a bit sharp, but it was among the best advice I’ve ever received.

Our conversations are pretty standard. I might share with him something I’m considering, maybe a business proposition. In return, he’ll make a few suggestions.  On occasion, I follow up with a few questions for clarity, and if for whatever reason, I miss the mark, he will explain further. In the past, before I would acknowledge the clarity of his remarks, I’d rehearse to him my misunderstandings, and say something like, “oh, I thought you meant…” or “oh, I thought you were saying…” This was a habit I had developed over time.

One day, after sharing with him about a business opportunity, he proceeded to offer his counsel.  As usual, I asked a question to ensure I clearly understood him.  Just as he normally does, he answered my question providing further explanation, a couple of real life scenarios, and few basic examples. You probably guessed that my initial response was, “oh, I thought you meant…” After hearing this for the umpteenth time, Dr. Hunt responded, “I’m trying to build you a mansion of clarity, but you insist on dwelling in a shack of misconception.” Are you kidding me! How had I traded a mansion for a shack? I knew that despite his seemingly rough tone, there was a diamond inside that rough.  After a few minutes, I was struck by the profundity of his statement, and I began to self-reflect.  What I didn’t realize before was that every time I would do the ‘oh’ thing, I was reinforcing the misconception or the misunderstanding instead of moving forward with clarity. This was time wasted. What an epiphany!  

The situation got more real when I started to think of the many shacks in which people choose to dwell. I started to ponder, ‘how can people confuse a shack with a mansion when the differences are blatantly obvious?’ It was simple. Confusion occurs when people have blurred vision that does not allow them to tell the real from the fake, the important from the trivial. In many cases, blurred vision is caused by imbalanced emotions. Perhaps, blurred vision is the result of addictions to substances or ideas that offer only a temporary fix, a short-lived high, a false sense of reality, a ‘feel good’ moment that passes like the twinkling of an eye. Without clear vision, people can be overtaken by outward trappings of success, lies, fading beauty, or even high-sounding philosophies. Now I understood. Shacks of misconception—these were charming structures that glisten on the outside, but inside, they are empty, non-productive, with declining value.

Wait. It goes deeper. I started to realize that shack dwellers come from all walks of life. They are among both the rich and the poor. Some shack dwellers have money, and some have income levels below the poverty line. Some shack dwellers live in physical mansions, and some sit on street corners with cardboard signs that read, “Homeless. Anything will help.” Yes, I got it. Dr. Hunt wasn’t talking about those small roughly built houses. What he called ‘shacks of misconceptions’ are those ideals that are designed to delay progress—distractions. Distractions…like those selfish attitudes that destroy relationships. Distractions… like those aspirations centered in immorality. Distractions… like those conversations that tear down instead of uplift.

And by mansion, he wasn’t talking about an oversized physical structure the dimensions of the home at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. What Dr. Hunt called a mansion was a place of clarity. A mansion was an abode of growth and development toward an understanding of what holds real value, that which improves the human condition, that which is rooted in universal values of trust, honor, and respect. With that said, ask yourself, “Have I given up my right to a mansion of clarity for a shack of conception?”  And if so, now that you know the difference, perhaps you’ll opt for a change of dwelling.

It’s always a pleasure spending time with you, my friend, and I’m counting on you to stay In My Korner.

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