Today, I attended my son’s annual day celebrations. He is 3 years old. Part of the celebrations included him and his classmates performing on stage. Seeing him dance and wave his hands in the air on the stage reminded me of my first stage performance.
Today, we received a query on our website from a 16 year old boy. It was about wanting more details about the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program. I was absolutely stumped. This program is generally attempted by folks who are doing or have done their MBAs, or at least graduates. Of course, the CFA Institute has no qualms with an under-graduate talking the first exam, in fact the boy is completely eligible for giving the first level of the exam.
Now, go back 5-6 years (or in my case 15) … when you were in your 10th standard, did you have such clear aim in life?
I mean, its astounding.
I have nothing but respect for one so focused. When you know what you want, then getting it becomes easy. Kudos Kiddo! and God Bless!!
There used to be a fine oak tree, in a lovely green meadow. Over the years it had grown to be a sprawling tree with lush green foliage. Travellers would often come to that spot seeking relief under the cool shade of the tree. As time went by, the oak had an acorn, and the acorn was of age.
The acorn was enamoured of the outside world and wanted to roll along the meadow and grow into a strapping young oak. The oak loved the acorn, and told the acorn that the oak would be hurt if it were to go away from the tree. The world beckoned to the acorn … the acorn was torn between the two paths of action. The acorn finally decided to play it safe and stick with the oak tree. The oak tree was happy. The acorn was happy that the oak was happy.
As time would have it, the acorn finally fell. It rolled a few feet away from the tree (as they say … the acorn does not fall far from the oak). The acorn turned into a small plant and found happiness in the shade of the oak.
Many years passed, and the plant remained a plant … it suffered from stunted growth and did not fully grow into an oak tree. The plant was competing with the oak for water and minerals and it was not getting any sun shine due to the oak’s shade. The plant remained a withered shadow of the oak. The oak noticed this, and felt sad … the acorn should have been a full fledged oak by now, yet here it was … a sapling living on the oaks resources.
In some years, the oak tree (now old beyond its years) fell ill and began to falter. It was fast losing its leaves, and looked a shadow of its former self. Woodcutters noticed this rich source of wood and decided to bring this sick tree down. Along with the sick oak, was also a weak sapling. The woodcutters took pity on both the trees and chopped them off.
Travellers who often passed by that meadow still talk of the oak tree … but few remember the weak sapling.
How many people do we meet that fail to find a voice when the occasion demands and find their identity?
I was watching Jane McGonigal’s TED talk and her logic of gaming being a parallel learning track for this generation’s youth is pretty convincing.
For example, a researcher at CMU through a survey has found that by the age of 21, a youngster has put in almost 10,000 hours of online gaming.
Add to it Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour rule of success, and you have a whole generation of teens who are virtuoso’s in gaming.
Compare this to the 10,080 hours of education that you attend in your secondary school (i.e. if you dont miss a single day of school), and you have an alternative track/medium where an individual is deeply engaged. I had earlier blogged about how games can be used to engage people at work. Well, the same holds true for education, and the platform is almost set. Now it’s for game designers to design games like Superstruct and Evoke, so that modern day games (where the world spends 3 billion hours of online playing every week!!) can be harnessed to educate, collaborate and design new-age solutions for the world.
Jane further goes on to say how games can be used to solve world problems – you can watch the rest of her talk here
So it was no surprise when on our way to lunch we noticed a simple sign at a hall … it said “Youth Venture Workshops”. Since we are in the career space and passionate about entrepreneurship, off we went. The workshop was having their lunch break and we took that opportunity to talk to some of the organizers. Their idea was simple, they talk to individuals who have a burning desire to change something in the society, and help them achieve it through guidance, team building, and funding. They identify potential social entrepreneurs who have the drive to change the society and help them.
The organizers were kind enough to invite us to stick around and watch some of their sessions. The teaming sessions were simple, and involved a lot of play … just the right thing needed to build a team of young and energetic people.
The workshop turned out to be a subscription based program, for which one has to enroll in the month of June. So we gathered took information about their site and went back to work. After coming home, I decided to check up on their site, and read about the youth venture. Turns out that Ashoka Partnership is one of the largest association of social entrepreneurs!!
At the program, we talked to some of the participants who were volunteering, and it was a good experience to see people take charge of the desire to change something in society and act upon it. The next time you blame society for something, remember it can be fixed :-)