As Abraham Maslow pointed out, self-actualization is impossible to achieve when you focus on it explicitly. It tends to be realized through a much more organic process. Just as an image becomes blurry when you stare directly at it for too long, so does your understanding of your fully-actualized self when you focus on achieving it. Most people who love their career will tell you that they did not specifically seek it out as their “purpose” in life. Rather, one interest led to another and eventually their interests, aptitudes and motivations flowed together to create a unique skill set that enabled them to fulfill their purpose.
In this TED talk, Emilie Wapnick explores one of the core principles of the MentorU Discover Year: Action for Passion. Conventional wisdom in our culture suggests that, in order to be successful in life, one must identify and perfect a particular specialty or profession – and quickly. However, research has shown that the exact opposite approach to career development is the true recipe for long-term success and fulfillment. By seeking out and mastering a series of diverse objectives and interests, young adults are better able to identify their values and the types of work that motivate them. Moreover, in doing so, they build a dynamic skill set and enlarge their social and professional networks, which facilitates innovation, an asset considered by many to be paramount in today’s labour market. The information age has shifted the importance in learning to skills such as creativity, problem solving, collaboration and adaptability. At MentorU, we emphasize the importance of trusting your personal journey through diverse experiences and development. We believe that action is the first step towards passion, and we want to help young adults spark their curiosity and ignite their potential.