It’s always recommended that you surround yourself with people who are a good influence on you. The reality is, however, that this is not always possible. So what other options do you have?
The obvious answer that came to most over the years is that of the external mentor — a figure found through reading (or, in our modern day, Youtube videos and podcasts) that serves as a mentor, despite no direct relationship. There’s plenty of examples of famous figures who were brought up initially in childhood through these methods, and so it’s clear it must work to some extent. And, if we’re taking good old Lindy into effect, then the mentors of olde are likely much better mentors (in terms of experience) than what you’re getting nowadays anyway.
But what are the cons of external mentors? Well, the obvious one is that there is no personal connection. Having that personalized advice and long-term meaningful relationship is something you’re never going to get from a book, no matter how hard you can try to pretend. This can create at best occasional glimmers of loneliness, and at worst the development of parasociality.
So, it’s better to start with external mentors, and eventually build up to internal ones. Read, but talk to others as you do so. Learn the fundamentals from the masters, and then find someone who you can lean on for support. That way, you’ll always find your mentor.