In his talk, Ryan painted a very convincing picture of what failure has meant to him as a social entrepreneur and changemaker when faced with the very real and complex challenges of trying to disrupt the education system in the Philippines with his organization, eKindling.
“A mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a flame to be kindled” - eKindling
What started initially as a dream to bring magical education opportunities to school kids in rural parts of the Philippines through acces to computers and technology in elementary schools, was quickly met with the harsh reality of what that actually meant when the laptops were received by the schools and communities on the ground.
The whole notion of ‘changing the world’ is certainly a sexy idea and is often romanticized as such.
However, it comes as no surprise that passion and the intent of doing ‘good’ are simply not enough as it does require a high degree of persistence and true heart in order to build real change, together with looking at the complexities of the issues at hand while ensuring measurable impact in the process.
Faced with initial setbacks and challenges, Ryan and eKindling were able to turn these initial failures into important life and organizational lessons. In addition to the deployment of technology in elementary schools in the Philippines, eKindling also aims to design learning activities for the base-of-the-pyramid and develop talent among teachers and educators, in order to help re-create an education system that inspires a love for learning.
On a personal note, this talk was a great reminder for me to embrace failure with confidence and courage in my own personal life.
Failure is inevitable and though it may hurt a lot (based on past personal experience) and makes you feel extremely uncomfortable, it does help to build your character, allowing you to refine or change the assumptions that you have of the world around you, including your own view of yourself and your capabilities, making you a better and a much stronger person in the process.
Thanks for sharing your story, Ryan.
“Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome. Do your worst, for I will do mine!”
- Edmond Dantès, The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)
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