The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative
Issue 1 | January 2021
A Quote to Ponder

A Quote to Ponder

“When you’re mindless, you’re not able to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves, you’re not able to avert danger not yet arisen, you’re not there and you’re oblivious to not being there.”

–Ellen Langer

As we near the first anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, how can we continue to live in the moment with presence and clarity?

Think About It



How to Be an Optimal Human

"What does it take to be an optimal human being?

"Throughout history there has been much speculation. For Aristotle, the highest human good was eudaimonia. For Carl Rogers, it was the "fully functioning person". For Abraham Maslow, it was "self-actualization". For Erik Erickson, it was wisdom and integrity. For Erich Fromm, it was about having a "being" orientation (in which you value personal growth and love) instead of  a "doing" orientation (in which you value material possessions and status)."

Scott Barry Kaufman compiles scientific perspectives that attempt to answer what it means to be an optimal human. The findings—and dare I say truths—outlined in this piece give us a starting point for optimal engagement in our lives. Setting goals, choosing to hold ourselves responsible (and accountable) for our goals and actions, and deep personal reflection are just the beginning.

How can we become all that we want to be and more?

Start Here

6 Secrets of Entrepreneurs That Can Help You in The Workplace

Jumping from the previous article about optimal humanity, let's explore what it means to apply some of the learning in the real world. Successful entrepreneurial thinkers often align with the lessons of social psychology, and in this article, you can see how.

Finding opportunities in the gaps of an existing system, organization or process comes naturally to entrepreneurial thinkers. Helping others, adaptability, and looking ahead are all part of the entrepreneurial journey as well. These closely align with the ideas of optimal engagement, primarily because they require setting meaningful goals and holding ourselves responsible. 

So far we've looked at what it means to adapt ourselves to be the best we can be, individually and within our work (using an entrepreneurial frame). But how can we apply some of this logic to our systems that are reeling from the pandemic? 

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While Many Colleges are Making Big Cuts, a Few Opt for Permanent Transformation

While all industries have been severely impacted by the pandemic, higher education has been forced into an uncomfortable situation. We've been reading and talking about this for months, but COVID-19 has not only impacted education, but it has also accelerated the need for change. 

Some institutions are seeing that even when the pandemic subsides and things begin to return to "normal," there will be a need for permanent change. In this piece, we hear about a number of schools across the United States that are not only adapting to a new situation but are choosing to transform. How they provide quality education in a way that will likely shore them up against a continuingly ambiguous future again shows alignment with the ideals of optimal humanity. 

How are we transforming our institutions?

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Recognition of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Here's a great resource to further apply the topics we have been thinking about this month.

"People are constantly learning everywhere and at all times.  Not a single day goes by that does not lead to additional skills, knowledge and/or competences for all individuals. For people outside the initial education and training system, adults in particular, it is very likely that this learning, taking place at home, at the workplace or elsewhere, is a lot more important, relevant and significant than the kind of learning that occurs in formal settings.

"However, learning that occurs outside the formal learning system is not well understood, made visible or, probably as a consequence, appropriately valued. Until this OECD activity on the recognition of non-formal and informal learning involving 23 countries on 5 continents, it has also been under-researched (see also ongoing EU work). Most research has focused on learning outcomes from formal education and training, instead of embracing all types of learning outcomes; allowing visibility and portability of such outcomes in the lifelong learning system, in the labour market or in the community."

Find Out More



The Work of Jim Collins

Jim Collins has spent the better part of the last 3 decades researching and writing about how some companies succeed while others fail to grow or even die. 

The team at ELI have been digging into two of his best-known works, Built to Last and Good to Great. Much like the lessons of improving ourselves individually, in work, and how we can improve our systems, Collins' work reflects a multitude of ways we can look at how we build and maintain companies in order to thrive.

Get Reading


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