"Do what you love. You'll be better at it" -Francis Ford Coppola
Out of all the things that we've been learning this past week, this might be one of the most influential to me. Now, there are things that we just can't do as a career that we love because there is no market for it. However, when we are looking for our life's work, it is important to find something we love. That love provides us with the motivation to weather the storms that will inevitably come to us in our working lives. If we love what we do, we will work harder, sacrifice more, and expend more energy driving it toward success than if we simply find something we're good at, but don't like it so much.
Don't think that those unmarketable skills can't be beneficial in your life as well. For about 10 years now, I've been heavily involved in fantasy football (I even have a Twitter account where I talk about it @FantasyOutlaw). Now, it may seem like a strange thing to love, but it really has given a lot of perspective of things that excite me. Through pondering about why fantasy football appeals to me so much, I have found that I'm a big fan of evaluating individual players and forming them into a team. From this, I have gathered that building a team of individuals, whether in a company or in my own entrepreneurial venture, is something that I feel I have competence in and a strong desire to be successful. It appeals to me. It makes me feel successful when I find an individual or player that no one expected to be successful to find success as a member of my team.
Later, I found a man online who had an interesting exercise for finding your passion. He said to list your 3 favorite movies (mine are Silverado, Moneyball, and The Avengers), then to look for themes within the movies that could explain why they appeal to you so much. Within all 3 of these movies, I see a team being built to overcome a large scale problem. Just as I found with my fantasy football love, I would thrive in an area where I'm able to build a team in order to solve a problem.
Having love as the basis for setting your career path is one that I see many people debate. But this is one of the most compelling arguments as to why doing what your love is one of the best things we can do when looking for our career.
When we think of entrepreneurs, we think of things such as businesses, sales, profits, hard work, motivation, and such other things. We think of our past experiences with such people, the enthusiastic knife salesman that wants to show us a knife that will literally cut through anything (why do I need my knife to be able to cut through a penny?), or the quick talking used car salesman with the plaid suit and the bad comb-over, who has "just the deal" for you. Many times, we have a negative connotation with such professions, maybe for good reason, maybe not.
This weeks material made me think a lot about what I would want to do/be as a entrepreneur. Without getting into specific strategies, or without even knowing what kind of business I would have, I know that one of the most important things that I could have is the foundation of my integrity. Doing the right thing for the right reason at the right time is the perfect formula for establishing a successful business. Now, do dishonest entrepreneurs/businesses succeed? Sure they do. Do honest/hard working entrepreneurs/businesses fail? Sure they do. But, this comes down to more than just profits. This is about creating something that you can be proud of, something that you can put your name behind.
Zig Ziglar is one of my favorite people to listen to in this arena of sales/business. He has a quote that I think is particularly appropriate for this situation. He says that we need to develop in our lives the things money can't buy. Money can't buy integrity. But with integrity, you can use the money you do receive in your life as a means to build a highly fulfilling life. Zig continues and says, "Money can buy you a house, but it won't buy you a home. It can buy you a bed, but it won't buy you a good night's sleep. It can buy you a companion, but it won't buy you a friend." If we are desirous to have joy in our lives, we must find balance as people. For me, I find money to be a personality reflector. If you are a good, honest person, having a large amount of money won't change that, but will enhance the good you're able to do with it. A large amount of money to someone who doesn't have integrity or a plan will enhance a underdeveloped understanding into selfishness, greed, and self-indulgence.
Bottom line, what does it matter if you gain the whole world, but lose your soul?
'I think.' Its a phrase we hear often, and one that many view as a weak basis of evidence, citing it as only an opinion. Well, I've spent this past week thinking about what I want as my "star" (an idea/goal that I want toward the end of my life). I can tell you - thinking has a lot of power.
My "star" centers around my family. I want to be able to reflect and claim that the majority of my time and energy was spend in talking, playing, discussing, crying, laughing, reaching, failing, succeeding, and many more things with my wife and children. Part of this reflection came as completing one of our assignments, to create a list of 50 bucket list items that we want to accomplish before we die. My top goals focus on creating a life and home that will cultivate love in our family and help us all explore and spend time building hobbies and exploring who we are as individuals and as a family unit.
One of my top goals, and one that really points me into an entrepreneurial career is creating a family camp. One thing missing in our society is real recreation time. We get so caught up with our careers and leisure (something that I believe is different than recreation, a type of pseudo-recreation), that we become unfulfilled balls of stress. I want to contribute to the de-stressing of society through allowing people to leave behind the cubicle and have pure fun and excitement with the ones they love the most. I find a potential calling in this, to help shift people's perspective back to the fact that time and energy is one of the most honorable use of our time we could ever hope to spend.
These are important steps for me to understand the big picture so that I may be able to begin to take the steps that will lead to this end.
Entering my final semester of college has proved to be an interesting time. After getting the 3 classes that I needed to in order to graduate with my bachelors degree, I had 3 more credits that I needed in order to be a full-time student this semester. I decided to go after one of my interests and signed up for Introduction to Entrepreneurship.
If you've talked to me for any amount of time over the past few years, I've probably mentioned my fascination with starting my own business, being my own boss, or other such lofty ideals. It's been a topic that has been working on me for quite some time and now I have the opportunity to really invest some time and energy exploring the topic and my fit within it.
Throughout the course, we've been given the assignment to contribute to a blog about out thoughts, ideas, and impressions to contribute to our learning. What a wonderful way to really emphasize the whole reason I began Mining for Passion.
Our first week in the course gave us an introduction into some course materials. What I find so fascinating about entrepreneurship is it is seldom strictly about business. You can acquire all the business acumen and skills you can, but without developing yourself as a person, you'll likely be unsuccessful or successful and miserable. Development of character seems to be just as important as understanding the skills of business.
I look forward to the self introspection and personal development in this course. But more than that, I look forward to taking those things that I discover about myself and apply them in a way that will contribute to our society and make the world a better place.
WARNING: Spoilers of the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer ahead
Like many, I quickly became overwhelmingly invested in this show to the point of binge-watching and finishing it in a single day (much to the chagrin of my poor wife). Every few minutes my thoughts would flip-flop concerning the innocence of Steven Avery, and ultimately still have no idea what I believe. However, since finishing the show and attempting to process it, I have found that it is one of the most interesting studies of human behavior and insight into the justice system in the United States.
Like most of you, I'm sure, I started looking up articles and blog posts with wide ranging opinions and developments since the show spread like wildfire. Unlike many of those articles and blogs, I hope to use this as an opportunity to extract some lessons from this rare case which we are allowed a large amount of access. If you're looking for speculation about this case, or updates on what is currently happening, look elsewhere. My aim is to begin a discussion in which we can understand a little more as to what makes us tick as human beings and how to improve our individual lives.
Remember the value of human life
When discussing such a topic, it is not only important, but essential for us to remember that someone's right to live was taken from them. There are few other reasons more worthy for an all out quest for truth and justice. What was so frustrating for me while viewing, was that is didn't seem to many of those involved were interested in truth at all. Whether it was the officers doing the investigation, the attorneys on either side, or even the media, then or now, many seemed more interested in making evidence found (or not found, which I find just as worthy) bend and mold to the theory that bring about the results they want. The word 'truth' was trampled time and time again, especially by those who were put under oath, swearing that their testimony was true. Everyone who went up on the stand was lying, except for maybe the bus driver! We saw:
All of these things scream that there was no actual desire to find the truth, and reeks to high heaven of improper conduct. I find this to be the most angering, disgusting, and deeply disappointing insight into the workings of our criminal and judicial systems. Teresa Halbach deserved better.
We've lost the value of accountability
One of the most painfully obvious lessons that I was reminded of during this documentary, was largely illustrated by District Attorney Ken Kratz, the prosecuting attorney for both the Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey cases. In his closing arguments to the jury in Avery's case, Kratz shows a picture of Lieutenant James Lenk and Sergeant Andrew Colburn and prompts the jury to think of their years of service in law enforcement and their families. Throughout the trial, Lenk and Colburn were shown to be involved in, if not illegal, highly unethical activities during the investigation of the disappearance of Teresa Halbach. You know who should have been thinking of the years of service and the families of these two officers? ... LIEUTENANT LENK AND SERGEANT COLBURN!
Later, we learn of Kratz himself being involved in a scandal. The documentary allows us to hear as a reporter asks Kratz about his apparent involvement in a series of inappropriate messages to women involved in cases he was working on. When pressed by the reporter, Kratz launches into a full tirade about how the reporter would be ruining his 25 year career, that his family would be largely effected, and on and on. You know who should have been thinking of how his inappropriate actions would affect his career and family? KEN KRATZ!
This type of thinking wasn't unique to this case, but I see as a sweeping epidemic in society at large. Many seek to place blame for problems on anyone or anything but themselves. If we want to make our lives better, or our society better, their must be a widespread restoration of the value of accountability.
Don't even get close to the edge
Many viewers got the chance to empathetically imagine they were sitting in the seat of Steven Avery. Most of us have nothing to fear because we keep ourselves from being put into such a position. Steven Avery, whether innocent of this particular crime or not, showed enough patterns in his life that gave this kind of action was well within the realm of possibility. Though it's an irrational fear to think the average citizen would be caught up in such a situation, it does teach me that I want to be so far from that edge in personal conduct and relationships with those around me, that it would be extremely difficult for something like this to come against me without a load of people being willing to verify my character. Such a level of morality, our ability to govern ourselves instead of being governed by this country's laws, will not only keep us from this type of situation, but can truly bring fulfillment in life.
This entire series brought my mind back to a talk that was given by one of the leaders in my church. I'd like to end this article with a section from his talk and I invite you to look at the man or woman in the mirror ask what you can learn from this.
"The societies in which many of us live have for more than a generation failed to foster moral discipline. they have taught that truth is relative and that everyone decides for himself or herself what is right.
As a consequence, self-discipline has eroded and societies are left to try and maintain order and civility by compulsion. The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments. One columnist observed that "gentlemanly behavior [for example, once] protected women from coarse behavior. Today, we expect sexual harassment laws to restrain coarse behavior.
Policemen and laws can never replace customs, traditions and moral values as a means for regulating human behavior. At best, the police and criminal justice systems are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we've become."
-Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Full talk can be found here.
On Saturday December 5th, I attended a TEDx Conference that came to Rexburg, Idaho. While I knew I would enjoy the experience, I found a principle that I have left out in my journey to find my passion. Bill Crawford, currently a professor of business and entrepreneurship at BYU-Idaho, and a former Air Force fighter pilot, spoke of the connections between flying missions and how we can become the best in the world at whatever we want.
Bill took us with him on a 36 hour mission flying a stealth B-2 bomber from Missouri to Baghdad, Iraq in order to take out targets of the Saddam Hussein regime. He talked about the planning for such an expedition, men and women working around the clock 24 hours a day in order to make the mission as safe and successful as possible. The mission was a success. The targets were hit, the crew safe, and landed 36 hours after their takeoff. Exhausted from the day and a half worth of events, the crew wasn't finished. They reported to their commanding officers for the mission debrief.
This cycle - plan, execute, debrief - was the emphasizing principle. Most of the time, we are taught strategies and principles about planning or executing a plan. However, I was struck because I'm often guilty of skipping the debrief phase in my own life. Bill Crawford pointed out that this is the most important portion of our learning experience. There were 5 questions that they would ask after each mission, and now asks after each of his classroom lessons, and offered up as a way to learn from whatever we want to become the best in.
1. What happened?
2. What went right?
3. What went wrong?
(He went on to point out, this isn't a gripe session, or the blame game)
5. Lessons learned?
THIS IS WHAT I'M MISSING!
I get so caught up with DOING things and getting to the next thing as quickly as possible. But I lose valuable learning opportunities by rushing to my next task without this time of reflection.
I find my exclusion of the debriefing process is especially debilitating to my desire to consume uplifting material. I try to read books with value, listen to helpful podcasts, and attend conferences and webinars that inspire me. But rarely do I ever take the time to reflect on the principles I have learned and do a quick debrief for myself.
The goal to debrief will be a major theme for me in the months and years to come.
This is an idea worth spreading.
Pop-ups. These digital mosquitoes are constantly buzzing around, but we have evolved enough to quickly exit these little buggers. Don't worry, this article isn't about those kinds of pop-ups. It's about the kind of pop-ups that occur in our minds.
A simple example - I had a friend once say that when he looked at a digital clock, he seemed to always look when it was 12:34 (1-2-3-4, get it?). After he told me this, for a week straight I seemed to see 12:34 every day and once woke up in the middle of the night at exactly 12:34. Whether I was just looking for it and hoping to see it, or just a random coincidence, my mind was looking for that number. Believe it or not, this phenomenon can be used to help us improve our lives.
For the past couple years, I've been reading, listening, and watching content related to career development. Because it's been on my mind for the last couple of years, I felt motivated to put my thoughts and ideas into this blog. I've found an unexpected benefit to doing so, which I am calling Passion Pop-ups. Just like website pop-ups, these pop-ups come unexpectedly when watching or reading various materials. Often, these Passion Pop-ups come by extracting themes from media that is strictly entertainment. I found a specific case recently when I was watching (again) one of my favorite TV series, The Office.
You see, recently I have this struggle existing in my mind. I've questioned why there are many differing opinions on the advice of "following your passion". One article will paint the picture that finding your passion is one of the most important things we can do in life. The next article says that following your passion is the worst possible advice you could give or follow. Well that's super unhelpful!
If you've read any of my articles before, you can probably guess that I'm on the side of "following your passion". The answer that I got from this mental struggle, was illustrated comparing two of the characters in The Office - Andy Bernard and Dwight Schrute.
Andy Bernard - we know him as the acapella loving, trust fund brat with an anger problem. He has always been unstable and continually seeks for the approval of authority figures. He ebbs and flows through his career at Dunder-Mifflin but is eventually made the manager of the Scranton Branch. Pressures of the job, insecurity, and a going a little insane after a 3-month boat trip, left Andy unsatisfied with his job. Being prompted by the airing of the documentary, Andy is struck with the idea that he could become a famous entertainer. This idea grows to levels that the logical explanations from his coworkers cannot sway him from "following his passion". He quits his job and sets out on his journey, a journey fraught with frustration, struggle, and failure of YouTube Fail Sensation levels.
Having no plan, direction, or idea of how to transform your dream into a reality creates an unnecessarily frustrating situation. It creates unnecessary risk, anger, depression, financial struggles, and opens you up for the beat down life is oh-so-willing to give. Andy's way makes me agree with those who say following your passion is bad advice. It is absolutely the wrong way to follow your passion and to achieve your dreams. It will sap whatever energy you had in searching for your passion. Worst of all, it can cause permanent damage in many aspects of your life. However, there has to be a better way, and Dwight Schrute shows a way that reduces risk, and increases the likelihood of success.
Dwight Schrute does the opposite. He works at his full time job, but uses he free time to follow his passion of working on his 60-acre beet farm. Throughout the series, you see him progress working on his farm, turning it into an agro-tourism hotspot (NOT a bed and breakfast), wanting to break into the garden party market, and eventually inherits his Aunt Shirly's neighboring farm which increases his farm to 1,600 acres. What I love most about this is that he didn't simply quit his job, or toss it aside, in order to follow his passion. It took him a number of seasons in order to make it to a spot where he didn't need his job anymore, but by the end, could have made a seamless transition into a full-time passion.
Dwight allows his passion to grow organically and his consistent effort gives him a number of options. When you and I set out on our journey in this manner, we minimize the risk by doing 3 things: 1) Seeing is our passion is truly a passion or simply something that sounds good at the time, 2) It gives us the opportunity to see if we have the skill or ability for this passion, and 3) it gives us the chance to see if there is a market for what our passion is. Best of all, we find all of this out while still having a stable income stream. It allows us to establish a plan, and similarly transition to a place where options will be available to choose what is best for us. There's no avoiding work. But if we follow Dwight's example, we will be given the choice of doing work that falls more in-line with passion, than the drudgery most of the working world currently accepts.
Passion has a place for all of us in our lives, whether we are able to do it as a career, or simply as an activity that brings energy into our lives. There is a right way and wrong way to find where it fits into our life. I'm grateful to Andy and Dwight for helping me understand the best way to do so.
At the end of my last post, a good friend posted some thoughts along with some questions. Instead of simply responding in the comments section, I thought I'd use it to further the discussion of creativity and passion finding specifically as it relates to raising up the next generation. Let me start with some of his questions:
-Do you think we should go back to the 1800s' style and learn whatever our parents do? Kind of a "learn on the job" scenario.
-Do you have an alternative solution for your own children? Do you plan on homeschooling?
-Does your solution provide realistic output that others around the world could mimic?
How do we help our children?
Let me start by saying this post is going to be riddled with my thoughts and theories from someone who probably doesn't have the typical qualifications to speak on the subject of our educational system. However, I've studied and listened to enough people who say we need a revolution in our educational system, that I've come to believe them (Ken Robinson being the foremost culprit).
It has struck a chord with me.
There are so many great things about this video, I don't know where to begin. Ken Robinson points out that many feel as though they have no talent. The current model of education, in my eyes, compounds that belief for anyone who isn't proficient in mathematics, the sciences, or English classes. We are traveling down the manufacturing line, to borrow Robinson's analogy, and if we are missing these core principles of education, we are most likely tossed aside as defective.
In his book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, Ken Robinson points out that the world, society, education ask, "How intelligent are you?" Imagine being asked that standing in front of a board of educators. I would feel apprehensive, nervous, belittled, and inadequate. The real question we should be asking is, Robinson submits, "How are you intelligent?"
So much more inclusive and individualized.
So, back to some of the original questions, do I have any alternatives?
Let me just throw out a few ideas that I've had and though I don't know if they would work, I hope to try with my children someday. These aren't alternatives to public education, but are ideas for helping our children thrive in life.
1) Become a lifelong learner myself
I'm not going to be able to instill anything that I want my children to believe and do if I'm unwilling to believe and carry it out in my own life first. I should be using my time wisely, investing in myself through books, training, seminars, and experiencing life. I should limit the time that I use for TV and movies, and other entertainment that brings little to no value.
By doing this, I hope that I will be able to find a career path that will allow me freedom with my time. This is one of my highest aspirations, to be able to have the freedom to be a part of my family's world, so that I will be there for important life lessons. I also hope to find a career that I'm passionate about in order to build me up emotionally. With that, I will be able to be energized by my work and possibly even include my family in that work. By working on myself first, I provide a mentor for my children to follow.
2) Focus on experiences, not results
My least favorite part of the education system is the grading. Teachers are forced to focus on results because if they don't and students perform poorly, less money will be allocated for their school's funding. As a result, memorization, not true learning, is emphasized. While I won't be able to single-handedly revolutionize that, I can make it a point that in my family, grades aren't a source of struggle. Instead of a reward/punishment system, I hope to show my children the that honest effort, self exploration, trial and error, and new experiences are much more important than a paper with various letters of the alphabet from their teachers.
My emphasis on true learning will be shown in a number of ways. I won't hesitate to pull one of my children out of class for the day if I feel there is an opportunity for learning. If I think that spending a day at the museum will help enforce the curiosity that fuels learning, I'll do it. If my children need a trip to Cape Canaveral to understand better why it's important to learn about math and science, we'll be gone. If going to a seminar will help my teenagers understand how influential a single idea can be, we'll travel to the closest TED conference. I hope that as a parent, I can be part of my children's education in life and show them how they can live the life they want to live.
3) Convergent vs. Divergent learning
As an illustration, I've thought of this analogy recently.
Imagine you're an explorer in the early 1800s in America. The West represents a vast frontier of unexplored, unknown land. You're getting ready to head out on your journey when you are informed that your mission will only be financed if you find the geyser we now know as Old Faithful. You're told the general direction, but are largely left to figure it out on your own. You set out, frantic, to find a single monument in seemingly endless wilderness. Each day, you are filled with anxiety to find arrive at Old Faithful, so you may be financed and seen as a success. However, day after day, your head hits the pillow disappointed, frustrated, angry, and quickly losing hope. You spend years in your search, and years of your life trying to fulfill the expectations of someone else's dream to find Old Faithful.
In contrast, imagine after your first mission is presented, narrowed to finding Old Faithful, you're given a second mission, if you choose to accept it (forgive me, I couldn't resist). This journey will be financed just as long as you're willing to record all that you see, document where you've been, and any wonders you come across throughout your journey. You set out eager to see all that you can see. Each day, you see something that fascinates you. At times, you travel far in a day, while other times you spend weeks in a single place, exploring deeper the beauty and uniqueness of the land. You lay down each night, with wonder on what you found that day, and excited to see what the next day brings. You're filled with enthusiasm and end up discovering forests, waterfalls, grand canyons, breathtaking landscapes, geysers, oceans, mountains, wildlife. You spend years and years happy that life has given you this journey.
Mission #1 represents convergent learning, the type I feel is saturated in our schools today. The entire focus is on one ending goal (the pinnacle of which is college, according to Ken Robinson) but largely frustrates and dampens the spirit of learning so much that people continue their lives avoiding anything that is in any way like it.
Mission #2 represents what I believe Ken Robinson believes to be an ideal form of education, as he calls the agricultural model. This promotes individualized learning and wonder. But this can't only be the goal of our schools. I must do all that I can to live, and help my children live, a life full of divergent learning. This type of learning sees many possibilities and may start in one place for each child, but lead them on vastly different paths in order to discover their unique talents and passions.
By becoming a lifelong learner myself, focusing more on experiences over results, and promoting divergent learning, I fully believe that I can have success in raising children that will have, or will know how to find the tools necessary to have fulfillment in their lives.
Stephen Smith is one of the most unique educators that I've had throughout my lifetime as a student. He is a Sociology professor at Brigham Young University - Idaho and taught a course called Sociological Explorations. He prefers that students call him Stephen, not Mr. Smith, Dr. Smith, or anything else, saying, "That is what my mother calls me, so if you think you're better than my mother, call be Dr. Smith, but you're not." Stephen, from the perspective of a student, isn't simply working for the paycheck, but cares deeply to transfer those things he has learned. Let me share some examples.
On the first day of class we found that getting an 'A' in this class would be much different than other college courses. There were a number of requirements:
1) We had to get perfect scores on a pair of projects (an annotated bibliography and a group presentation)
2) We had to create for ourselves 2 projects. These were not from a list with any criteria, but had to be something we made up ourselves, with his approval.
3) At the end of the semester, we had to present 1-on-1 with Stephen our 'A' portfolio and argue why we deserve to receive an 'A' in the class.
The class buzzed with whispers of students that signified a sense of dread, people already planning on only getting a 'B' or 'C'. At the end of this first class, Stephen asked everyone to get out a piece of paper and said,
"Write down everything you know about bananas."
I wrote down as many as I could think of, but was mostly curious why we would take such a strange quiz. While I sat in my next class waiting for it to start, I searched 'banana' in Google. After looking at a few things, I didn't think about it again.
After our second day of class, Stephen gave us another quiz.
"Write down everything you learned about bananas since yesterday."
Stephen taught us all that day that a natural curiosity and desire to learn will be one of the most important things that we could cultivate in our lives. There were 3 phrases that we wanted to be deeply engrained into our minds by the end of his class.
1) How do you know that?
2) Actually, research says...
3) Smoking Grandpa
The first two are pretty straight forward (and Stephen said it would get us uninvited to a lot of dinner parties), but the last may need some explanation. Stephen told us about his grandpa who was a rancher, a real tough guy. For years, he smoked and did so until he died in his 80s. He had been told that smoking was bad, but saw that his grandfather lived a long life. He pointed out that we can never let one experience or one situation shape what we believe about the world.
One of the greatest takeaways that I got from this class is the fact that so much in the world pushes us to be, as C. Wright Mills called them, "Cheerful Robots." That we move along a conveyer belt, like the kids in the above Pink Floyd music video (which we were shown in class). And though slightly disturbing, it should be disturbing to us that the world will take us and grind us into what it wants us to become.
Since my time in this class, I've become uncomfortable. I've become uncomfortable with the thought of sitting in a regular 9-5 job that drains my soul, just to pay the bills. I'm scared that I'll become "drunk with syntax, blind to semantics." I read that, and had no idea what it meant. I looked up definitions and tried to place them into context of the book.
I found that we as a society are so focused on rules and structure that we are blinded to the meaning of things in our lives. We allow life to happen to us instead of finding meaning, then allowing that to dictate what we will use our energy and time to build in this life.
As I sat down with Stephen at the end of the semester, we talked about what I had done to learn and invest in myself throughout the semester. After our discussion, I asked if most students in his class had already come in. He responded that out of the 27 or 28 students in the class, I was only the 7th to come speak with him (and I talked to him on the last possible day).
This class was invaluable to me. Not because it got me to understand a bunch of sociological theories or how to correctly cite sources or where to find the best research. It was the best class that I've ever taken because it made be question my perception of reality and challenge it. Many students in the class misinterpreted the message to be anarchy, to stick it to 'The Man'. But I gained the understanding that I don't have to settle in my life and transform into a cheerful robot. It brought to light one of my favorite quotes from Napoleon Hill,
"Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve."
My name is Brian and I have a voice and something valuable to say. I'm on a quest to discover myself and the world around me. Join me and together we can do good in the world.