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We all look to our mentors for advice. They’ve been where we are now and have their own successes and

We all look to our mentors for advice. They’ve been where we are now and have their own successes and failures that we’d be silly not to try and learn from. But what if the advice based on their own experiences doesn’t actually help us — what if it’s living through the experience ourselves that has the most impact?

Lebron-James-in-New-York

When asked what advice he’d give his 18-year old self, James’ response was profound: “I don’t want advice, and the reason I don’t want advice is because every experience is a teacher,”  NBA star LeBron James explained during an interview that has since gone viral after being tweeted Monday by Bleacher Report.

“Every experience that you have is the best teacher in life,” James said. “You could read books, you could have great parents, you could have great mentors, but in order for you to be able to tackle something, you have to go through things.”

Of course, it’s one thing for James to say that — he has a lot of experience! He’s had ups and downs in his NBA career and overcome some major personal and professional obstacles to get where he is today.

“So all the experiences that I’ve had along the way since I’ve became known at 15, all the way to my age now. There’s been bumps, there’s been bruises, there’s been good, there’s been bad, there’s been obstacles, but I’ve learned how to deal with them because I experienced them,” James says in the video clip.

James has been very busy, he even recently opened a public school that promises free college tuition upon graduation in Akron for at-risk children — and this idea came from his own childhood. James missed 84 days of school in fourth-grade because he was always moving. Also, when he was younger, biking was his only way to get around, so now he’s giving free bikes to 240 young students.

“It’s hard to go off of somebody else’s experience,” James says. “I could tell you guys, I could try to coach you guys, and me being a parent, that’s what I’m doing with my kids right now. I could give them the blueprint, but at the end of the day, they’re going to have to travel their own road.”