PROCESS POST: Prompted Reflection on Vocation, Mindset, Success and Failure – Inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert

I love school. And I love learning and education even better than I love school… even better than I love myself.

That love is what drives my learning and education about school.

Many of you readers know that I wanted to be a pediatric oncologist for much of my life – from about age seven until about age 20. For years and years, more recently, I’ve told a story about how my career pursuit shifted from children’s cancer research and science to educational research and science.

Now, I realize, if I zoom out far enough, I haven’t really pivoted at all. If cancer is basically the mutation of great and healthy cells into devastating and unhealthy cells, then school may very well be like a human organism filled with virtually countless cells – many and most of them being the healthy cells of learning and education, and only a few being the unhealthy cells of certain school attributes gone bad.

I’m committed to helping ensure that the healthy cells in the body win out. And so I am willing to aggressively pursue educational and learning research. To wake up at ridiculous hours to read, write, and study. To tire myself and to experience considerable dead ends, frustrations, and temporary failures. And to learn from the successes and discoveries.

And to not let any of the successes or failures define me. But rather to steer me onward. Because I love learning and education far more than I love school or myself.

Thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert for this prompted reflection.

2 thoughts on “PROCESS POST: Prompted Reflection on Vocation, Mindset, Success and Failure – Inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert

  1. Bo,
    I so appreciate this reflection, and I love how you easily make the connection between your first aspiration and your true calling now– interesting that in both career possibilities you needed a strong sense of curiosity, wonder, perseverance, and “never being satisfied” to be successful. How might we design our work with students– all learners!– so that these qualities come alive in any aspiration or calling? This is work that is well worth it!!!

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