The Underground Marketer Podcast

Episode 29 – Don’t Ask a Butterfly How to Crawl: Get Your Advice from the Right Mentors

The Underground Marketer Podcast
The Underground Marketer Podcast
Episode 29 - Don’t Ask a Butterfly How to Crawl: Get Your Advice from the Right Mentors

How to Figure Out Who Can Actually Help You

In today’s episode, I’ll talk about the essential idea that what’s best for you is always going to be contextual. It depends on a lot of factors, like who you are and where you are at the moment. Many people make the same mistake and that is that they look up to those who are way ahead of them. For example, they just started a business but follow the advice of a billionaire. But that person became a billionaire in their unique context and you can’t be in the same situation. Thus, their advice is useless to you. It’s like you’re a caterpillar that is asking a butterfly how to crawl – but the butterfly is not crawling anymore. It even forgot how to crawl. 

3 Big Ideas 

  1. If you’re a caterpillar, you first need to learn how to crawl, develop yourself into a cocoon, and emerge as a butterfly. Only then you can ask a butterfly to teach you how to fly. 
  2. Trust your instinct to guide you in the right direction. Overthink less and do more!
  3. Choose mentors who are similar to you and who can understand your struggle. Very successful people can’t help you, but someone who’s just ahead of you will. 

Show Notes 

[01:56] Take it step by step and don’t rush the process. 

  • It’s important to understand this, otherwise, you’ll lose a lot of time listening to advice that may be well-intentioned but not very useful in your situation. It can even derail you from your path. 
  • Instead, look for advice from people who have done what you do and are just a little bit ahead of you. If you make 100k/year, it’s okay to talk to someone who just started making 1M/year. 
  • The best person to ask is someone who was in your position, who has similar aptitudes and found a path that worked for them. That’s the most reliable person for you right now. 

[05:42] Instead of asking a butterfly how to crawl, find the crawling expert. 

  • If you’re just starting out, look for someone who just found success doing what you’re doing. 
  • If you compare yourself with people who are too ahead of you, you’ll start losing hope and being hard on yourself. 
  • Your current context is very different compared to someone who found success even just a few years ago.
  • No one can teach you how to become successful and no one becomes successful by listening to other people. 

[10:13] Identify the right mentors for yourself. 

  • Very successful people will not be very helpful to teach you exactly what you need because they don’t know. They may have known, but times change. 
  • Reading books also won’t help you that much because the advice is too general.
  • It’s easy to assume that your mentor should be someone everyone looks up to, someone you want to be like. But they may not know how to help YOU. 
  • So start thinking about who could actually help you. Think about this before you even have a plan. 

[14:15] General advice is never helpful. 

  • Successful people can’t help you if they don’t know anything about you, if they don’t know your strengths and weaknesses, etc. 
  • The same advice applies to other resources, like books. When you read them, you may feel inspired, but ultimately the advice is too vague. 
  • Becoming successful involves figuring out the messy details. A roadmap can only take you so far. 
  • However, the modern world has an overemphasis on reason. If you follow a plan religiously, you’ll miss the opportunities around you. 

[18:18] You need to learn how to trust yourself. 

  • When you rely blindly on a map or some advice, without taking into account your context, you try to simplify your reality to avoid uncertainty and difficulty. 
  • This happens due to low-self esteem. It happens when you don’t believe that you can do it and so you need others to tell you what to do. 
  • You can’t be a leader by following other people. Figure things out by yourself and have the courage to fail. 

[25:00] Tudor highlights the most important points of this episode. 

  • Don’t ask a butterfly how to crawl. 
  • Learn how to accept yourself and how to think for yourself. 
  • Make your own decisions. 
  • Use mentors and books when they are strictly relevant to your context. 
  • Don’t assume that just because others are successful, they have the right advice for you. 
  • Learn from people who are similar to you and are just ahead of you. 

Full Transcript

Read The Full Transcript

Introduction    00:00:03    Marketing, explosive growth, and revolutionary secrets that can catapult your business to new heights. You’re now listening to The Underground Marketer Podcast with your host Tudor Dumitrescu, the one podcast devoted to showing new businesses how to market themselves for high growth.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:00:25    Welcome to the underground marketer. This is the place where we deliver the real truth about marketing and explore big ideas that can help new businesses thrive and grow into big ones. I’m your host two-door and today’s topic is don’t ask a butterfly how to crawl. And here’s what I mean by that. The essential idea here is that the next action that’s best for you or the best strategy for you, or, um, the best of whatever you’re looking for is always going to be contextual. And it depends on where you are, who you are and the exact context that you find yourself embedded in. That’s why it’s not very useful, for example, and I hear this a lot, especially among new entrepreneurs, that they look up to people who let’s say they look up to a particular billionaire and they listen to that guy for advice.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:01:23    The truth is that that guy, probably for many years, he has been a billionaire and he’s been making things happen as a billionaire using strategies that you don’t have access to. You cannot replicate, and that are useless to you. And the advice that is honesty, use this to you because it’s like, you’re going to your caterpillar, right? But you go into a butterfly to teach you how to Crow. It’s not going to happen because the butterfly is not crawling anymore. Right? The butterfly is flying. So if you need flying lessons, then yeah, go to the butterfly. But it’s useless to do that. If you’re not at that stage, if you’re in, at the stage of the caterpillar first, you need to learn how to crawl and develop yourself into a cocoon and then emerges a butterfly 10. You can do the same things. And it’s very important to understand this because otherwise you risk losing a lot of your time listening to advice that maybe well intentioned and maybe good in particular context, but it’s actually going to take you in the, in the wrong direction for your context, for where you find yourself and the specifics of your situation.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:02:37    So, um, my biggest stake here is that you should go search for advice from people who have done exactly what you want to do. And they’re just a bit farther ahead of you. You know, they’re not, let’s say that you’re making a hundred thousand dollars a year. Yeah. You can go speak with somebody who is his first time that he making a million dollars in a year this year, because the advice is likely to translate. Especially if they’re in the same industry, it’s likely to be helpful. It’s going to be stuff that you can apply right away. Whereas if you’re making a hundred thousand a year and you go speak with somebody who is a billionaire, even if you make it happen, all the advice that he or she could possibly give you is likely to be useless for you, right? Because they’re just operating at a another level.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:03:29    They’re not in the crawling level. Let’s say they’re at the flying level and you’re not there yet. You know, once you reach that level, that advice may be useful. And if you think about it, this is actually normal because we have the most experience with the things that we actually do every day. Right? So if somebody has ceased doing the stuff that a startup CEO would be doing daily, you know, for many, many years, that person has only a vague remembrance of the details of what it actually takes to succeed in that particular role, uh, in this case, in the role of the startup CEO. So instead you have to find somebody who fits your context, and this is very important. Again, I can’t count the number of times. I ceased to be people chasing after a mentor, for example, and they create this mythical image of their mentor as a God, basically, that they aspire to be.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:04:30    And they go and search for the mentor who is the farthest ahead from them as possible, right? So if they can get a mentor, who’s a billionaire, that’s, that’s ideal for them in their mind. And I think that this is a big mistake and often the people who do this from my experience again. So I’m not trying to limit you, but it’s my experience in what I’ve seen. They don’t tend to be as successful as the people who keep their eyes focused on the ground and who keep focused on what’s directly in front of them. And this holds true at all levels. You know? So you may be contemplating what industry to go into. You know, the best person to ask is somebody who was in your position, who has similar aptitudes as you, and who found a particular path that worked for them. That’s the most reliable person.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:05:24    And even, in that case, it’s not going to be a hundred percent reliable because they did it at a different time. You know, maybe they did that five years ago. The market is different today than five years ago, you will not likely be able to do the same thing. So what can you do then? You know, so I would say that the opposite of asking a butterfly, how to crawl is that you have to find the expert at crawling right at the stage that you’re at. So if you just start out, for example, as a freelancer, find somebody who became successful freelancing and still does it, ideally, because if he doesn’t still do it, you know, likely he has forgotten about it. And each stage is going to have different challenges for you that you’re going to meet. And each stage is going to require something else from you.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:06:20    And if you’re not prepared to find the resources, the mentors, and the knowledge that you actually need at each stage to succeed, you’re not going to be moving further ahead. You know, you’re going to get disoriented. You’re going to feel that you have all this knowledge and all this advice, you’re going to start going hard on yourself. Like, you know, why am I not further ahead? I’ve networked. I got advice from a billionaire. What’s going on? Why can’t they make it happen? Why aren’t things working out as I would like them to? And those questions are reasonable, but you have to consider that your context is very different. So it seems it doesn’t make sense to ask a butterfly how to crop the best thing. And if you can do it, this, then you should is to learn things by yourself. Step by step, keeping focused on exactly what you have to do.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:07:12    And for that, you have to define your goals very clearly. You know, what exactly do I want to achieve? And then you don’t go after people or you don’t go chasing after knowledge, just because a lot of people applauded just because that guy is famous, just because that guy is very rich and so on, because none of these matter, you know, you realize that if that guy is very rich, if that guy is very successful, if whatever it is that you’re praising about him, none of that has anything to do with your success whatsoever. Nothing. There is no law of the universe that states that a successful guy will be able to tell you how to become successful yourself. There is no such law. And in my opinion, there’s no evidence whatsoever that successful people got there by listening to another guy that was just as successful as them or as they wish to be.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:08:13    Right. So if you think about people like Richard Branson and bill gates, and so on, none of these guys were going up to billionaires of their time or millionaires of their time and asking them, you know, how am I going to be successful, teach me how to start a business and all that kind of stuff. None of them are doing it. What they did instead is that they took it step by step. They identified exactly what they wanted to do and what obstacles stood in their way, right? And then they figured out how to either go through those obstacles, go around those obstacles, jump over them, whatever it took, right, to be able to get closer to their goals. And I think that that kind of clarity that you can develop for yourself away from the noise and away from people who may be well-intentioned, you know, and who may be famous and who may have achieved a lot, would give you in a context where that advice isn’t really that useful at the same time.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:09:16    You know, there are some values that I think that a mentor can definitely bring to you. So for example, having somebody around who believes in you more than you believe in yourself, that can be helpful. It’s not helpful in the sense that it will give you the exact actions that you need to take to move forward, but it’s helpful in the sense that it gives you motivation and it gives you the drive to actually take action and move forward and ultimately succeed. So it’s very important that you develop both capacities, you know, the capacity to think for yourself, to identify where you are, where you want to go and what obstacles stand in your way. And of course, then to brainstorm and identify potential solutions from moving from where you are past the obstacles to where you want to go to. And it’s also very important to be able to identify the right mentors for yourself because, you know, don’t, don’t take it that I think that you can’t learn anything from somebody who’s a lot more successful than you.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:10:25, Of course, you can. There’s a wealth of information that you can learn. It’s just that I don’t think that they’re the best person to teach you exactly what you need to move the, let’s say the next five steps that you have to take in your journey. They cannot teach you that just because they don’t know, you know, they, they may have known, but again, times change, you know, so I’m succeeding in today’s world and making your first million is very different from succeeding in the world that Richard Branson lived in when he was a teenager. And when he started making his first millions. So they’re not the same thing, the rules of the game continually change. And what you actually have to do to be successful is going to be in continual change. That’s why you don’t have a, literally one to one correlation between reading a certain book or talking with a certain person and becoming successful.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:11:25    A lot of people, for example, have read, think, and grow rich, right? Millions of people have read, think and grow rich. But how many out of those millions are actually millionaires? You know, only a small fraction and it’s not because the advice is bad. It’s because the advice is not enough, right? It’s not enough to know all that to be successful. There’s a lot more that is required from you. And it’s the kind of stuff that ultimately very few people can actually teach you how to do. So that’s the big problem. The big problem is being able to identify the right people to help you and having the self-awareness, you know, because it’s very tempting, right? You see this very successful person, who’s way ahead of where you are and you allow, you’d like to be like them. And he’s admired by a lot of people respected by a lot of people.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:12:23    So the temptation to go after somebody like that and try to get them to mentor you is of course big, right? You, you think that since they’re in that position, they have a lot to teach you. And this is ultimately the assumption that you have to learn to question it’s not necessarily true that they have a lot to teach you. At least not you in the, in the current position where you find yourself at. So, um, once you make this mindset shift, then you can actually start thinking about who could help you. And you cannot actually think about who could help you before you actually have a plan. You know, because what I see nowadays is many people there they’ve just finished college or they’re in college and they want to be successful. They want to make a lot of money. So then they, for example, they search after mentors and then they ask, oh, how do I start a business?  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:13:18    How do I do this? And that? Well, that question, you know, it doesn’t really have an answer because there’s no one way to start a business. It depends a lot on the context that you find yourself in the country, the kind of business that you’re starting, the time when you’re doing it, the connections that you have in the industry, there’s a million variables. It’s so chaotic, right? There’s so many variables that it’s almost impossible for anyone other than yourself, to give you a roadmap, even that successful guy, right? He doesn’t know your strengths and your weaknesses, what you’re good at what you’re not good at what sort of network you have and all these things, right? And he doesn’t know them because he’s not, you know, you take ages of both your time and his time to talk together for him to get to know you, to the extent required, to be able to properly give you that kind of advice.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:14:15    You know? And ultimately this is the reason why a lot of success books and a lot of biographies when you read them, it sounds inspiring. But ultimately the advice is on the vague side, you know, vaguely, yeah. You need to start a business that fulfills a need. Well, no doubt. You know, if the business doesn’t fulfill a need, it’s hard to be successful. This is all good advice, right. But it’s very general and it’s never going to be enough to make you successful. You know, there is no way that you apply this advice and become successful. Becoming successful actually involves figuring out those messy details. And, you know, it’s just like in physics or in mathematics, when we have, you know, the butterfly effect, right? The butterfly beats its wings and later, which causes a tornado, right? It’s impossible to track exactly how that sort of thing happens.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:15:11    You know, that’s why they call it chaos theory because there’s so many factors and variables involved that there’s no way to make rational system out of it and create a map, you know? And that’s the problem because ultimately when you look for a mentor and when you look for, for books and for all this stuff, you’re looking for a map, right? It’s going to take you from where you are today. And it’s going to take you to the treasure chest, right? It’s going to show you, here’s the treasure chest. Here’s what you need to do. Now go do it. And you can reach the treasure chest. The problem with this, let’s say rationalistic approach. And it is a very rationalistic approach. And I’m going to get into this next because the modern world has an overemphasis on reason. And I think this is a big problem, but we’re going to discuss that next.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:16:02    But let me step back a little and explain the difficulty here. So when you mesmerized by certain map that you have of reality, what happens is that you keep looking at the map and you never lift your eyes off the map. If the map stays go straight, you go straight. If the map says, turn left, you turn left. But because you never lift your eyes away from the map, you have no idea what’s actually happening around you. In reality, you know, you take the map to be reality. Let’s say you’re trying to write cold emails and you type a cold email script or heart. This guy got 12 replies out of a hundred emails. All, let me just take this and tweak it a bit. And we use it in a different industry, of course, in different everything, what you’re doing there doesn’t work and it’s not going to, it’s not likely to work at all because what you’re doing is you’re ignoring the context of what you’re doing.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:17:01    And you favor this map just because a person was successful with it in something that’s completely different from you. And what you do is you take that map that he gives you as your reality. And then things don’t turn out that way. Because of course the map doesn’t match with what’s ahead of you, your context. In other words, it’s different. And the math doesn’t cover that. So what you need instead is you need something that’s much harder for somebody to teach you, right? You need the ability to check your context, just like when you’re driving a car, right? You need the ability to look what’s going on around you, not just follow a map or follow the GPS and make decisions that way decisions that are informed by your context. And your context could actually tell you that you should do the exact opposite of what your mentor or what you read in a book and so on.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:17:55    And it’s very difficult to take such decisions. If you have a very narrow and rationalistic focus, I’m at point a, I must get to point B, this is what I must do, blah, blah, blah, almost calculating it because these things which are chaotic, right, where a lot of variables are involved, it’s impossible to calculate it. So at some level you have to trust your gut and trust your instinct to guide you in the, in the right direction. And if you don’t do that, your chances of actually succeeding are almost done almost none, because what you’re trying to do when you rely on a map or on some advice blindly without taking into account, your context is that you’re trying to simplify your reality in order to avoid uncertainty. And in order to avoid the difficulty of actually thinking things through for yourself and to do that, you know, you just say, oh, this is the map.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:18:53    This is what reality is. You know, now I know how to do this, and now I’m just going to go ahead and do it right. And it never quite works out that way. And it’s a very common mistake. You know, I see this all the time. And part of it emerges due to lack of self-esteem, you know, people don’t believe in themselves, you don’t believe that you can actually do it, right. You need the guru to tell you that you can do it. You need the mentor to tell you that you can do it. You need this or that guy to hold your hand and tell you, oh, this is the next step you need to take. And if you don’t take this step, you’re never going to make it. And you need to follow that person, you know, and paradoxically, what you’re trying to do, if you want to be successful is that you’re trying to be a leader, but you’re trying to be a leader by following other people.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:19:43    And that’s never going to work out. You know, you need to leave your own mark. You know, you need to figure things out for yourself and you need to have the courage to fail in order to do that. You know, if you don’t have the courage to fail and to do what it takes, even if you’re not sure of the outcome, then that’s never going to work out for you. You see your desire for certainty and for avoiding failure is so big that it actually prevents you from getting what you desire, which is success. And all of this stems from the fact that in modern times, we rely too much on our intellect and too little on our heart, right? Which is why you see it in Western societies. You know, depression is on the rise. Suicide is on the rise. Anxiety is on the rise.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:20:35    You know, today we’re anxious to you to make a cold call. If you can believe it, you know, tell somebody 200 years ago that you’re anxious to pick up a piece of plastic, put it on to your year and speak with somebody. And they will love to your face. You know, once they understand what the phone is and what it does, they will love to your face. They wouldn’t believe that you can be scared of such a thing. And the reason they, why the reaction is so different is because they don’t think about the use to think about things less. And they used to listen to their feelings and to their intuition, a lot more to figure stuff out and to figure stuff out for themselves, you know, and the, the hard to do that, right? Because 200 years ago, it was very hard to get access to books and to knowledge. 


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:21:19    And so on nowadays, you just Google something and you have a ready-made answer, whether that answer is appropriate for you or not. That’s a different question, but you, you’re mesmerized by the fact that you haven’t answered, right? You don’t have to figure anything out. You have the answer at your fingertips back 200 years ago, that was not possible. So, you know, you either figured out things for yourself, if you’re the average person or you did it. And you know, that was pretty much that. So the idea that the fact that we have more knowledge, that our ancestors is a good thing, is something that I think is ultimately questionable, you know, is it could, the increase in knowledge that we have has also made us more afraid. It has made us more confused. And it has made us question ourselves, doubt ourselves and decrease our self-esteem because we feel that compared to the knowledge that is out there, we have very little and we mean very little.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:22:16    So ultimately I think this is the source of the problem. People have low self-esteem, which is exactly why they go after a butterfly and ask the butterfly how to crawl. And of course, the butterfly can’t tell them the butterfly is going to tell them how to fly a, it will tell them, you know, flat your wings, they don’t have any wings. They’re going to try flapping their little feet, you know, their little caterpillar feet, and they’re not going to fly there. You’re not going to be able to mimic the butterfly. And this confusion arises because people feel that because they’re a caterpillar and the other guy is a butterfly. They’re inadequate. Something is wrong with them because they have to crawl. And something is right with the butterfly because he can fly. And precisely because they feel like this, they reject themselves. They ultimately detest themselves and they want to be something different so desperately that they cannot even begin to accept their present condition and their present context.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:23:20    So that’s why people, I believe ultimately chase for a map. That’s going to show them the way because they don’t believe in themselves. They don’t believe they can figure things out for themselves. They don’t dare to think for themselves. And ultimately they don’t do this because they think deep inside that they’re worthless. If they can’t fly like the butterfly and if they need to crawl. And I think that that’s nonsense, that’s nonsense because ultimately someone’s achievement. Doesn’t make them a better person. You know, you’re not a better person because you have a billion dollars. You’re not a better person because you’ve built Microsoft or whatever. I think that these deep self-acceptance is actually required to be able to accept where you are and to be able to lift up your eyes from the map and actually look around and see what you actually need to do for yourself, you know, without having to ask others and without being mesmerized by maps, the of reality, but actually look at reality and figure things out for yourself, you know, because once you accept yourself on a deep level and you say, okay, I’m a caterpillar.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:24:30    What are the next steps I must take as a caterpillar? And you don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. You’re not so desperate anymore to start flying. And you can actually do the things that you should be doing as a caterpillar, which is, you know, learning how to walk on your a thousand legs or whatever faster and with greater ease and proficiency. And you’ll also feel much better about it. So that’s the topic that I had for today’s episode, just to wrap it up, I will say, remember, don’t go about asking about our flight, how to crawl, learn how to accept yourself and learn how to think for yourself and how to make your own decisions. You can use mentors and books and whatever, when they’re strictly irrelevant to the context that you have, but don’t be mesmerized by the success of the eyes of other people.  


Tudor Dumitrescu     00:25:19    And don’t think that just because other people are successful, they have the right advice for you because quite often that’s wrong and they actually have the wrong advice for you. So look at people. If you want, who are a bit farther from you and who are similar to you, who face similar circumstances that you do and ask those people, talk with those people. And you’re going to be a lot more productive in the actual value that you get. If you do that. So that’s about it. Stay tuned for the next episode. And until next time, remember to keep growing your businesses and providing massive value to the world. You are the reason why we’re all growing richer. Our freedoms are expanding and we’re all living in greater prosperity. Thank you. 

The Underground Marketer Podcast

Stay Connected!

Just enter your name and email below, and we’ll email you every new episode of The Underground Marketer Podcast straight into your Inbox. Otherwise, if you prefer, you can subscribe straight from your favorite podcast app below!

New episodes!

We publish weekly on Mondays. Click below to see all episodes:

Join Us On Social Media

Think You're A Fit To Join Us on The Show?