Monday, May 19, 2014

Reflections and Interests: Old Priorities, New Commitments

No particular reasons, but I am feeling confident and happy: As they say, a good summer may have lifted my mood. 

Or, may be this is something more substantial. It would perhaps be right to admit that I drifted along a bit, particularly through the last few months of the last year, when I was hard put to see how I can move my life forward. I staked it all to get the business going, but the progress was, as with most start-ups with limited capital, slow and often dependent on other people. I had this feeling of powerlessness, not being able to do anything myself - not a nice place to be!

Something has changed since then. Actually, several things! I took on more training work, primarily because of economic necessity, though I hated it and wanted to get out of the routine commitments as soon as I can. But this, counting the flights of stairs every day as I climbed them, promising to myself that I won't be doing it indefinitely (truth be told, I wanted to do this till June, and no longer), pushed me harder to think about my own goals. 

There were some lucky breaks. A friend came along and offered me a piece of work, of writing, of the kind I always wanted to do; he was paying for it, which was great. My ideas about what my business should be crystallised further, which was a function of all the conversations we have been having for so long. I wanted to reduce the dependencies and do more ourselves, and this made me think in a much more focused way than I thought about the business before. The woolly ideas (I admit!) I had about global learning communities before were transformed into something more realistic, a creative community in London which can serve as a model first. As far as lucky breaks go, a Chinese friend also came along to talk about an Educational Institution in London, and we ended up on the same ground about creating a Creative Enterprise School.

Therefore, my life will hopefully morph into something more desirable soon, and I am now ready to commit to some goals publicly:

First, I shall build a school of Creative Enterprise in London, an e-School as I call it, based on the work we have done at U-Aspire. This will allow me to be hands on, and put my ideas in action. This will also allow me to work on my ideas of a new kind of education to fit the 'Second Machine Age', something I so often talk about.

Second, I am in the look out for an international development engagement, to leverage my skills and experience on International development and follow the conversation on International Education closely. There is one I am doing already: A research project on Corporate Social Responsibility engagements in Education, which will continue till July. But I would look to make this a more permanent stream of engagements, and would approach the people I know who may have this kind of work.

Third, I shall start a piece of research work I always wanted to do, looking into the dynamics of Higher Education in India. This is towards my long long term ambition to set up an Liberal Learning institution in India, which, admittedly, lies several years into the future. This will also mean connecting up with fellow travellers all over the world, a re-engagement into conversations about higher education and perhaps formal research commitments.

As I think about these goals and objectives, I sense a kind of unity of what I ought to do, rather than the fragmented follow-the-opportunity life I am currently living. These goals help me prioritise what I should be doing in the immediate term, which conversations are most important and even allow me to say no. This is precisely why I feel happy and light - the vision of these goals lifts my boat - and this is why I publicly commit to stay the course and make this happen. 

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