Great Minds Think Alike By Jim Stovall

As a very young man, still in college, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to pursue a career as an entrepreneur. I have done this for several decades and have never regretted it. While there have been the inevitable challenges and setbacks, I prefer to be the captain of my own ship.

Being an entrepreneur is certainly not for everyone. If it’s the right choice for you, nothing else will make you happy; but if you’re not suited for it, it can be a recipe for misery.

While still in college, I was fortunate to have an elderly self-made millionaire as a mentor. I spent many hours over months and years trying to get the true secret of success out of him. He always replied with simple platitudes such as, “Always do what you say you’re going to do.”

As a young man seeking the shortcut to the end of the rainbow, his response was less than inspiring. He went on to explain, “If you know you’re going to have to keep your word, you’ll be careful what you promise and work hard to deliver.” Years later, success came to me in many ways. I found a depth of wisdom in many of my mentor’s simple phrases.

Over the past several years and up to his recent death a few months short of his 100th birthday, I was privileged to have legendary Coach John Wooden as a friend and mentor. Like my college mentor, Coach Wooden was fond of simple statements with deep messages. He often told his players, “Be honest, and be prepared,” which is frighteningly similar to the concepts shared by the self-made millionaire who mentored me.

The longer I live, the more I believe that the great truths are the simple ones. We make them complicated out of our ignorance or self-serving motives. Simple truths endure. They cut through the clutter and bring us clarity. We need nothing else. Rarely do we fail because we didn’t know what to do. We, instead, fail because we didn’t do what we know.

Seek people and messages that are deep but simple. Success is never easy, but it is always simple. Beware of people with complex answers to simple questions, or simple answers to complex questions.

If you want to succeed in new ways, don’t just seek new information and trendy lessons. Go back to the basics and apply the simple lessons you learned years ago. Those old lessons can bring you new success.

As you go through your day today, heed the words of great mentors. Always do what you say you’re going to do, and always be honest and prepared.

Today’s the day!
Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by e-mail at or by visiting

-What do you think of the ideas in the article above? How important has having a mentor been to you?

Scroll to Top