Wednesday, June 01, 2011

See a Problem, Summon a Life

Follow your dreams or be practical?—that’s the question WNYC host Brian Lehrer (photo below) posed on-air yesterday to the Class of 2011.

This either/or approach works great for talk radio, but not so well for everyday life.  Who says you can't have a paying job and pursue a passion on the side, that being practical means your dreams must be deferred?

Perhaps a better question would have been: "Is it reasonable to expect young people who've just graduated from college to know what their calling is?"  

As NYT op-ed columnist David Brooks (photo below) says in a piece titled  "It’s Not About You":
[V]ery few people at age 22 or 24 can take an inward journey and come out having discovered a developed self.  Most successful young people don’t look inside and plan a life.  They look outside and find a problem, which summons their life.
That’s certainly what happened to me with Defying Gravity.  I was looking for a way to inspire my community college students to stay in school and stick with their dreams.  I saw a problem--a high drop-out rate--and discovered a calling.  Mind you, I was in my forties at the time, not my twenties.

Brooks ends by saying, “The purpose in life is not to find yourself.  It’s to lose yourself.”

Credits:  Brian Lehrer photo:  David Brooks photo: Josh Haner/NYT

1 comment:

  1. I love this perspective, Prill. Finding purpose through identifying a need is such a great way to gain traction on your life - no matter your age. so, I wonder how we could help facilitate young people being able to "look outside and find a problem" to solve. This is a challenge. Interning for various non-profits for a few months before college might be one way....Seeing parents involved as role models in serving opportunities would speak volumes. There are, I'm sure, many things that could be done.Thanks Prill, again.