As teens begin seeking their own purpose in life, they look for a meaningful role to play in the world. We recognize that our increasingly-complex world requires teens today to direct significant time and effort towards the vital work of exploring identity and defining purpose.
At ATI, we use the “Bliss” diagram developed by Aristotle Bancale and Dorothy Shapland to support this exploration. Here's how it works.
What you love doing: Most teens are aware of at least some activities that they love doing, so the top circle is often the easiest circle to consider. It may be playing games, supporting friends, a sport, a hobby, or a specific intellectual or creative activity. While a student's passion will certainly evolve over time, our focus is to support students to explore and excel in what they love to do.
What you are good at: The ATI process of inquiry into what students are good at broadens the field beyond typical academics to include identifying personal strengths in interpersonal interactions, intrapersonal insight, and diverse creative endeavors. One of ATI’s obligations is to dramatically expand the domains in which our students recognize themselves as being capable.
What you can be paid for: Most high school students hold a desire to be professionally successful after graduation. During the early years at ATI, it may be premature for students to focus on a specific professional pathway. Instead, the emphasis is on exploring interests, the development of world-class skills, and a general orientation to the world, with a focus on creating value. This includes the development of an entrepreneurial orientation towards the world and each teen's exploration of the process involved in a successful “start-up of you.”
What the world needs: For some teens, this issue will be far away; for others it will be immediate and the most motivating factor of all. Our founder, Michael Strong's Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World's Problems provides a default template for identifying “what the world needs.” Students are free to use other templates, but our goal is to provide at least one well-developed, optimistic, and empowering approach. The Be the Solution template offers broad parameters guiding individual decision-making regarding which issues to tackle and how to determine how to address them most effectively.
Whatever your teen's driving interest, this exploration of short-term and long-term purpose is a crucial element of growth during the teen years. When teens are supported to actively explore who they are and how they can find their places in the world, they thrive, and achieve much more, with great enthusiasm.