I had to share this stunning piece published in the WSJ this past weekend. The author speaks so eloquently of the current state of young adulthood – bound by mile high guardrails to some prescribed future, and encourages a revisiting of classic Chinese philosophy to potentially provide a course correction. She urges this group (and I really think all of us) to look to the broader context of these lives we are given, and to lead them first with a sense of wonder. The goal is not the frantic stuffing of resumes with volunteer trips to Haiti, or the study of Italian Opera towards the end of appearing well rounded. Rather, it is the understanding that we can set an initial course for ourselves with the knowledge that each step bears the possibility of leading us down a different, potentially truer path. She encourages both a trained spontaneity – a gentle self awareness when something sparks an interest inside us- as well as the encouragement to see our lives as a colorful and rich exploration, one in which we rappel of our experiences into a deeper sense of who we can be. The people that fascinate and inspire me have always traveled winding roads of seemingly purposeless misadventures; all of which inform a rich understanding of all the variances of cultures and character. These are the people that excite and engage us – because they have allowed their own personal curriculum to emerge intuitively from their every day experiences, gently guiding them to their best future self. Sage advice for today’s young adults – and those not so young.
Telling youths to discover true selves is confusing; instead, look to Chinese philosophy