Damon on young adolescents finding purpose

Wednesday, November 23, 2011
William Damon is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution
Image credit: 
Palo Alto Online
William Damon is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution
Image credit: 
Palo Alto Online

William Damon, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, the director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence, and a professor of education at Stanford University, has spent years studying the stresses and demands put on young adolescents and “believes that it is a sense of purpose — intrinsic, sustaining and noble — that is missing in the majority of today's youth, causing many of them to drift and founder,” Lobdell stated Damon's views in the Palo Alto Weekly article “Getting Off the Treadmill.”

“People don't worry about the right things,” Damon said. “The biggest problem growing up today is not actually stress; it's meaninglessness.” He continued to explain his philosophy on the importance of purpose. “Working hard for something they didn't choose themselves, and don't believe in, is counterproductive to long-term health and fulfillment. It is simply not sustainable. A purposeful life, by contrast, can unleash tremendous energy, creativity, exhilaration and a deep satisfaction with efforts and accomplishments, according to Damon.” Damon has written numerous books and articles on this topic, including The Path to Purpose: How Young People Find Their Calling in Life.

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