William Damon is a Professor of Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, Director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence, and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is one of the world’s top researchers on development of purpose in life and author of the widely influential book “The Path to Purpose.” In January 2018 he was named one of the 50 most influential psychologists. This conversation lets listeners rethink their purpose and take inventory on their day to day life.
How does one get closer to happiness? Purpose is what drives individuals through life. It creates positive aspirations. People who think beyond the day to day and move toward goals tend to have a more fulfilled, happier life. Bill’s work helps youth find that purpose as well as help elderly keep theirs. He has seen first hand how purpose motivates and makes people obsessed with life.
What is the typical trigger for someone to start searching for their purpose? Is there always a particular starting point? Everyone has their own journey, however, there are usually patterns young people follow while finding their purpose. Often they have observed a person that has had influence, and they want to emulate them–whether that be a parent, teacher, boss, coach, etc. However, these influences can also help to cause doubts–which may not be a bad thing. It’s a natural human tendency to get charged up and pursue dreams with more zest when others say it is impossible. It took about four years for Bill to get recognition he was going down the right career path. Success is not overnight.
Prospective thinking is the new “a-ha” revelation that is coming out in developmental psychology. It’s based on being able to shape your own future regardless of your past. Michael and Bill end the conversation talking common decency, universal morals and values.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
- Prestige of colleges
- Celebrity status misconceptions
- Developmental psychology
- Influences of childhood
- Prospective thinking
- Basic morals and values
- Public schools and curriculum being used
“You need to do something that is dedicated to something larger than yourself in life. Otherwise you will never have enough. You will never have enough to satisfy your materialistic impulses. You will always be grasping for more and more and you will always come up short.” – William Damon