TED Conversations

Aaron Yang

High school Mathematics teacher,

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I'm seeking direction for my future after i graduate this May 2012.

I'm an Applied Mathematics Major with a Minor in Economics with some background in pre-med. Originally i was seeking fulfillment in life through money, hoping one day to become an actuary. However, as my college career's coming closer to an end, I've been reconsidering my feelings of fulfillment. After subscribing to TED and RSA the past year, my mind has opened up a lot more. I try my best to engage in thought on a daily basis, thinking constantly about the world and the path its headed.

Among the talks i've enjoyed were about changing paradigms. The inefficiency of the 20th century becomes more and more evident each year. Many of the companies i had planned on applying for would have had me stuck at a desk job, going to meetings, surrounded by the old era corporate system stifling the creative mind.

Although I am eager to jump into this revolution of change, I feel like i am in neither the position nor have the means to exercise my thoughts. As of now, my hopes are to find an intellectually engaging community to better myself and perhaps gain opportunities to find a job where i can be in a stimulated environment at the front-lines (or back-lines) of the 21st century. In short, my question are:

What companies should i seek out that would benefit from my skills, and that i would benefit from them?
How can i be involved with changing the old system to make way for the new generation?
Where in the world would i be able to immerse myself with like-minded thinkers? (country/state/city)

It could be possible that i'm not asking the right questions at the moment, because i myself am not completely sure where i'm headed. Any input, criticism, lecturing, opportunity would be greatly appreciated!


Closing Statement from Aaron Yang

Thankyou for even responding to my first conversation on TED. I'm thankful for all of you sharing your experiences with me. I understand that the path i'm on is my own and i will do my best to walk it well.

With much appreciation,

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    Jan 27 2012: I appreciate the input from all of you. I have been doing research on Ken Robinson's ideas for a revolution in education and found that they have actually formed an RSA open minds school community in Europe. However, i have failed to find any evidence of anything being started in the United States. At this point in time i feel like i would have to be a part of the United States Board of Education to have at least minimal input in the change of the way schools are run today. This could take many grueling bureaucratic years until i can reach any position of authority. Similarly, i was inspired by Jason Fried's lecture about the work efficiency in business settings. I have been trying to find out who is in control of the corporate system and where change would begin in respect to these aspects? Is it at the managerial level or at the level of the CEO? Regardless, i feel helpless at the moment. It seems like the people who can make this change in the way things work are already in a position placed by complacent resistance to change. I would have to go through years of more schooling and corrupt politics to climb my way to those positions, that is if i haven't been corrupted myself by the time i get there. The process towards these changes will be very difficult even if someone in a position of authority decides to revolutionize the system. It's not just the gears that will be completely redesigned, but it will have be to be run by similar minded peoples who also believe in this cause. Teachers and CEOs alike will have to see the values of a new era. I'll continue to research and become better informed, but any sort of feedback would be greatly appreciated!
    • Jan 27 2012: Hi Aaron,
      I know how you feel about some of the corporate work you did. I just walked away from a 10 year career in a high paying, high profile industry that was not interested in change management and creative thinking. I was a pain in my boss' asses because of my allegiance to the worker and making conditions better for them. I finally realized that the corporations I worked at were not interested in change management for their workers and it was no longer my responsibility to get them to care.

      So now I move to empowering the people that work under the systems. I have wanted to coach others for some time. As of now, I am focusing on coaching teens but the concepts work for all ages. A lot of people are talking about and working on the systemic changes that need to happen and I applaud them for it. But that is going to take some time. So my message is, while the systems adjust what can you do to make sure you are getting as much out the current systems you toil under? Also, most of the people I worked with had a burning desire (no, not just reflux from work stress) to pursue something else but felt powerless to start pursuing it. Each and everyone of them had the capacity to use the strengths they had in one area of their life and spread them to all other areas. The problem is we all tend to be blinded to our own opportunities for growth. It takes some devotion and perseverance to start to tap into the true self.

      I'm with you on what you say about the systems. In my experience, systems are not really interested in change from within. If I may tweak an old cliche, "Think Outside the System" if you want to be the visionary you seem to express above.

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