"The more you know, the more you realize you don't know."
When I think of the smartest people I know, they seem humbled by that truism, and inspired by the challenge of learning more while knowing less. Becoming more aware of what you don't know is almost as important as the inverse. Some things might be worth learning about, ideally with an upward spiral.
The smartest people seek knowledge and understanding as a core value, and usually a lifelong habit. If the learning topics are chosen by those individuals, as passions and areas of interest, then it is exciting to learn, rather than a chore. People who invest decades into continuously learning and doing will obviously "know" a lot more than people who learned something but never did it.
Of all the ways to learn something, finding a mentor, someone who has been-there-and-done-that, and is effective at conveying their knowledge, can save others decades of trial and error learning on their own. A mentor could be a YouTube personality with millions of subscribers, who has mastered the ability to convey their knowledge in videos. Or, a mentor could be a local engineer or business person, who works hands-on with others, ensuring the quality of the experience and that others benefit from their experiences, wisdom, and time.
Not only do mentors expedite the timelines for realizing peoples' dreams and goals, saving time and money, but this enables more time for learning and doing other things. Reinventing the wheel takes time, and costs money. The desire to invent new, better wheels is one of the things that makes us human, and is highly encouraged. Mentors and education in general allows people to start with a baseline, ideally the current state-of-the-art.
Why is the mentor/apprentice relationship so important? Why is it being lost? What can you do?
If you want the satisfaction of helping others, there are few opportunities as rewarding as mentoring. Smart people are both mentors and students at the same time, always teaching others, and learning from others at the same time. The best place I am aware of for developing the skills necessary to compete and succeed in today's world, as a mentor and a student, is the FIRST Robotics Competition. WinWinLabs is intended to support FIRST, and to provide more opportunities for mentoring in the off-season and throughout all stages of life.