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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Know Yourself

June 20, 2014, 12:34 AM

Aaron Hurst, the CEO of Imperative, a site that helps people find their purpose and act on that knowledge, and the author of The Purpose Economy, has advice for recent graduates: Know yourself.

College may have taught you certain things—hopefully!—but your twenties, says Hurst, are about getting to know yourself.

Hurst says that he’s jealous of people graduating right now into what he calls “the purpose economy.” Now is the time, he says, to find what sort of legacy you want to leave behind. That is the driver for young people today: seeking to make a positive impact on the world.  Of course, figuring out what that impact is takes time. And college may not have prepared most people to find it. “In some sense your twenties are about getting your real college degree by going out there and learning in the real world and learning about yourself,” he says.

This may be a shock, especially after years of working hard for a high G.P.A. and an expensive degree. When people graduate college, that’s when the “real work"—getting to know oneself—often starts.

“I think too often we look to outside influences. We look at what people expect of us instead of just trying to really figure out who we are, what drives purpose for us, what matters to us," he says.

For more on Hurst’s advice for recent graduates, watch this clip from Big Think’s interview:


Know Yourself

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