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robertogreco : romankrznaric   5

Why telling kids to dream big is a big con – Leslie Garrett – Aeon
"Julie Lythcott-Haims, the author of How to Raise an Adult (2015) and a former dean of freshmen at Stanford University, routinely counselled students whose dreams were less lofty than what their parents expected – students who wanted to be nurses, not doctors, or high‑school teachers, not university professors. ‘I sat with those students and listened to them going through the motions of doing the work in the fields they felt were legitimate or expected or required, and I was interested in what this human in front of me actually wanted to do with their life, and how can I support them in listening to that voice in their own head?’

The problem, she says, isn’t telling kids you can be anything, it’s our narrow idea of what ‘anything’ is. ‘We’re equating it with prestige, power, title, money, certain sectors. If we could shift, over the next decade, toward high achievement being the equivalent of knowing your skills and your values and your passion, and living accordingly, imagine what a different world we’d be living in.’

Cleantis says the issues must be reframed: our dreams are more often about what we hope to feel than what we want to do. ‘There’s a kind of unspoken narrative: if I become this, if I do this, if I achieve this, then I will be loved, I will have self-acceptance,’ she says. By deconstructing what we hope to achieve emotionally, ‘it’s possible to find other ways of achieving that.’

Cal Newport, the author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You (2012) and a computer science researcher at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, adds that we have got the passion/purpose equation backwards. ‘It misrepresents how people actually end up passionate about their work,’ he says. ‘It assumes that people must have a pre-existing passion, and the only challenge is identifying it and raising the courage to pursue it. But this is nonsense.’ Passion doesn’t lead to purpose but rather, the other way around. People who get really good at something that’s useful and that the world values become passionate about what they’re doing. Finding a great career is a matter of picking something that feels useful and interesting. Not only will you find great meaning in the honing of the craft itself, but having a hard-won skill puts you in a position to dictate how your professional life unfolds.

Newport’s recommendation begs examination of another aspect of the ‘you-can-be-anything’ framework: should we expect to pursue a passion within our career or is it wiser to try to satisfy it outside of one? Sure, it’s convenient (and nice!) to be paid for something we’d love to do anyway. But is it realistic?

Marty Nemko, a career counsellor in the San Francisco Bay Area and the public radio host of Work with Marty Nemko, offers up a resounding ‘no’. He’s all for people pursuing their dreams, as a hobby. ‘Do what you love,’ he says, ‘but don’t expect to get paid for it.’ Of course, he says, there will be those who can – and do – make it in fields that are highly competitive. Maybe your passion for computer programming, or for splicing atoms, brushes up against career fields that offer plenty of opportunity. But, if like many, making a career out of your passion is a long-shot, instead of giving it up, incorporate it into your free time.

Lythcott-Haims encouraged her students to look at three things: what am I good at; what am I passionate about; and what are my values? Then, she told them to ask: ‘How can I spend a meaningful part of my week – whether career or hobby – living at the intersection of those things?’

Maybe our parents and grandparents had it right when they pursued their passions and hobbies – which offered up meaning and mastery – in their free time. Like Krznaric’s father, who made music outside his job. Or like Nemko himself who gave up working as a professional pianist for psychology.

Krznaric suggests a slightly different model – that of the ‘wide achiever’ who does several jobs at the same time, such as someone who works as an accountant for three days a week and a photographer for two. It’s a smart approach in an unstable economy where, he says, ‘the average job lasts four years’. It also recognises that ‘who we are changes throughout our lives. We’re really bad judges of our future selves.’

‘You can be anything you want to be’ is pithy advice that isn’t helping most of the young launch careers or find satisfaction in life. If we really think about it, few of us mean it literally. Twenge has told her daughter that ‘when people say you can be anything, it’s not true. For example, you can’t be a dinosaur.’ Perhaps what we’re really trying to say to our children is that we trust in their ability to build a meaningful life.

‘[Adults] should say: be what you’re capable of,’ says Gwenyth, ‘not you could be anything. I’m not very good in dance. That’s like telling me I could be a professional dancer. No. No, I couldn’t be.’"
children  parenting  teaching  howweteach  julielythcott-haims  calnewport  lesliegarrett  careers  hobbies  passion  romankrznaric 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Podcast: Empathy, mutual aid and the anarchist prince
"Peter Kropotkin was one of the greatest thinkers of the nineteenth century, who managed to multi-task as a Russian prince, renowned geographer and revolutionary anarchist. In this interview with Phonic FM, a wonderful community radio station based in Exeter, I discuss how Kropotkin’s ideas about ‘mutual aid’ relate to my own work on empathy, and why Kropotkin is a prophet for the art of living in the twenty-first century. The interview lasts around 50 minutes."
peterkropotkin  empathy  anarchism  romankrznaric  outrospection  mutualaid  history  2011  podcasts  tolisten  philosophy  science  politics  peacebuilding  ethics  interviews  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  society  policy  law  cognitiveempathy  affectiveempathy  perspective  understanding  radicalsocialchange  socialchange  conversation  learning  crosspollination  crossdisciplinary  strangers  conversationmeals  interdisciplinary  facilitating  connectivism  connections  generalists  cooperation  cooperativegroups 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Time to get off the analyst’s couch?
"What he had recognised was a significant shift in therapy culture which has been taking place since the 1970s. Instead of focusing on treating those with mental illnesses, therapists were now also there to help people find meaning in their lives. As M. Scott Peck once put it, therapy is a ‘short cut to personal growth’.<br />
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The problem, writes Singer, is that you are unlikely to find meaning and purpose by looking inwards…Moreover, therapy culture is decidedly lacking in ethical content.…<br />
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But what would turning outwards mean in practice? Singer has an answer. He thinks we would be best off by dedicating our lives to pursuing a ‘transcendent cause’. This refers to committing yourself to some cause or project that is ‘larger than the self’. At this point he turns to support from the psychotherapist Victor Frankl, who ‘is exceptional in his insistence on the need to find meaning outside the self’."
victorfrankl  psychotherapy  meaning  self  purpose  outrospection  mentalillness  therapy  mscottpeck  petersinger  romankrznaric  culture  society  mentalhealth 
september 2010 by robertogreco
outrospection | roman krznaric's empathy blog
"This is a fortnightly blog about empathy. It acts as a global portal for empathy news and ideas from around the world, and contains advice on how to expand your empathy, the stories of great empathetic adventurers, and interviews with key empathy activists and thinkers.

Why have I called it OUTROSPECTION? The twentieth century was an age of introspection, when the self-help industry and therapy culture encouraged us to be excessively individualistic and narcissistic, unashamedly emphasising what can be done to help me. I believe that the twenty-first century should become the age of outrospection, in which we place a greater focus on discovering and fulfilling ourselves through being interested in other people, and understanding how they live, think and look at the world. Empathy is the ultimate art form for the age of outrospection."
empathy  blogs  culture  practice  philosophy  research  design  romankrznaric  outrospection 
july 2010 by robertogreco
The School of Life : Roman Krznaric on Why We Should Re-Invent The World Cup
"As football fever envelops the planet, with all eyes turned towards South Africa, I want you to imagine a different World Cup. Each country sends their national team as usual, but then all the players are pooled together and divided into teams based on their astrological star sign...
romankrznaric  football  soccer  nationstates  arbitrary  division  war  nationailsm  2010  worldcup  sports  futbol 
july 2010 by robertogreco

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