546 - Secondhand Purpose

Posted September 12, 2022 by Mark Perna

Episode: 546

Episode Title: Secondhand Purpose

Are you trying to motivate young people with secondhand purpose? Here’s why that can only take them so far, next on The Perna Syndicate.


Ep 546 show:

Hello and welcome! It’s a new week on The Perna Syndicate and I’m your host, Mark Perna. These days, Education with Purpose is something I’m talking about constantly in my keynotes and client meetings. It seems so simple, but it’s actually not that obvious. 


When I came up with the phrase ‘Education with Purpose,” I did a Google search for it. Guess how many results I got? That’s right: zero. I was even able to officially trademark that phrase, which was astonishing to me. 


As adults, of course we see the purpose in education. Kids need all this knowledge if they’re going to thrive in the real world. And sure, we tell them that. But they don’t see that reality like we do. At best, it’s secondhand purpose to them. 


When I talk about Education with Purpose, I mean education that has purpose from the perspective of the learner. This is very important: it’s not the purpose that we as educators, parents, et cetera place on the educational experience. It’s the purpose that matters to the student. 


In the end, secondhand purpose is never going to take a person to their full potential. We all have to find purpose for ourselves, something that motivates us to move forward from within. External pressures, such as the authority that parents and teachers exert over kids, can only go so far. 


Education with Purpose—the purpose that matters to the learner—is the way forward in our fast-changing world. 


Tomorrow: Education with Purpose doesn’t favor one postsecondary pathway over the rest. There’s no one-size-fits-all choice. On the next episode of The Perna Syndicate, I’ll share why I advocate for them all. See you then!

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Mark Perna
Mark C. Perna is an international speaker and bestselling author. He also serves as CEO of TFS Results, a strategic consulting firm at the forefront of the national paradigm shift in education and workforce development.
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