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In Ralph Waldo Emerson's book Self-Reliance, he starts off with this quote which translates to mean, "Do not seek for things outside yourself". I thought that that was pretty powerful and it made we think about modern day education. In today's education system, we seek for answers and explainations to everything outside of ourselves without understanding ourselves first. To me the education system is flawed in that it prolongs or better yet avoids this cycle of self-reflection. We spend about 20 years studying and then 35 years applying what we studied. As knowledge expands exponentialy and quickly in this day in age, our education cycles are too slow. Departments don't or grow quick enough, curriclums don't adjust fast enough, teachers stop learning and teach old thoughts, and students graduate uncertain of how to apply their 20 years of learning.

I think that the cycle should be more fluid and smaller like rain. We should study and apply daily. As opposed to trying to lay out the perfect blueprint for our mental mansion and then building it, I think that we should just put a few bricks on at a time. This allows us to be more flexible as the world changes and our own opinions about the world change. Under the old system, if you begin studying a subject that will no longer be relevant to the world upon graduation, then you've engaged in a costly yet fruitless mental exercise.

Knowledge begins with understanding ourselves, and then pursuing areas of knowledge based on that understanding, and finally applying that knowledge for the betterment of the world. In one of my education classes at Stanford, a professor who studies higher education at Stanford said that Stanford doesn't even use her research for its own decision making. In her eyes, she is studying higher education in order to improve higher education, but the very institution that pays her doesn't even consider how her research affects its practices. Something is really wrong. Institutions of higher education have the potential to change the world because they are think tanks, but first they have to change themselves by finding ways to connect all of their research with practitioners so that it gets applied in a useful way.


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Jullien's Purpose Statement

My purpose is to help as many people as possible reach their full potential by helping them making a living doing what they love and in the process of doing so achieve my own. I want to do this through writing, speaking, and creating offline and online spaces that facilitate conversations around purpose.

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