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Why Purpose Is The Strongest Form of Activism

By January 4, 2015May 24th, 20197 Comments

“Most of us are gambling on the biggest risk of all: that one day we can buy the freedom to do what we want later in life.”

Jake Ducey

What if the path you think you’re meant to be living isn’t your path at all?

I grappled with this mental and spiritual Rubik’s cube for decades. Only now — at 48 — do I feel like I have any insight whatsoever into this quandary.

Not so with today’s guest. After a drunken car accident at age 19, Jake Ducey had an epiphany: maybe, just maybe, the traditional promise of the American Dream isn’t my path to happiness and personal fulfillment. What did he do with this realization? He up and quit school, walking out on a collegiate basketball scholarship to instead light out and travel the world.

Along the way, Jake chronicled his journey, distilling his insights down to a book entitled Into the Wind . Undaunted by being turned down by every publisher, he nonetheless self-published his book. And without any marketing budget or publicist, Jake still managed to self-promote Into the Wind to Amazon’s top 300 – no small accomplishment.

Jake subsequently piqued the interest and mentorship of people like Chicken Soup for the Soul* author Jack Canfield and Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus* author John Gray. He became a TEDx speaker. And at 23, Jake became the youngest author to land a motivational book publishing deal at a major publishing house (Tarcher/Penguin).

The Purpose Principles* – hitting book stores this week — is the product of Jake’s journey to date, drawing on the stories of success, failure, and the common threads among some of today’s most successful and influential people to illuminate a plan for living your best life in a changing world – a theme not inconsistent with this show.

I’ve hosted more than a few impressive young and precocious twenty-somethings on the show over the last two years because I love getting the millennial perspective on life. I like young people and as a parent of two teenage boys and two soon to be teenage girls, I truly want to understand what makes the next generation tick. What is important to millennials? What is the lens through which they perceive their environment? And how will this perception frame and shape the world they will soon inherit and steward into the future?

But let’s face it – at 48 I’m likely older than Jake’s father. So is there really anything (anything at all?) that this 23 year old (or any 23 year old for that matter) could possibly teach me? Maybe I’m being a snob (probably). But it’s a question worth asking, isn’t it? What kind of insights could such a young person possibly have that would legitimize a book of any legitimate merit or substance?

I admit to being more than pleasantly surprised by Jake — his energy, enthusiasm and positivity is infectious. I genuinely enjoyed our conversation. It’s a conversation that gives me hope for a younger generation too often preemptively written off as entitled and lazy. It’s also a conversation that delves into universal subjects all people young and old should be grappling with — how to maximize purpose and personal fulfillment; the importance of self-directed learning; the crucial role of mentorship; how to propel yourself forward in the face of fear; why it’s okay to feel different; why it’s so important to go after your dreams; and why, in the words of Jake himself, purpose is the strongest form of activism.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the offering. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Peace + Plants,


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  • Tommy F says:

    At the beginning of this podcast I honestly thought, “this kid is way to young to actually have perspective”. By the end of the conversation, it became evident that he’s got a vastly better outlook than most anyone his elder. A great young voice, Jake is un-fooled by the empty promise of the American Dream, which we’re all seduced into ascribing to.

  • Guy L. says:

    Thanks Rich. This was a great and inspiring interview. I have a new purpose to find the purpose in my life. 🙂

  • Julia Hanlon of Running On Om says:

    Wow– definitely one of my favorite RRP’s yet! As a fellow 23-year-old, I am blown away by Jake’s insight, passion, and humility. I just ordered Jake’s book on Amazon and cannot wait to watch how he takes the world by storm! Thank you Rich for continuing to bring change makers to the light!

  • G.E. says:

    Hey Rich that was a great one! As someone struggling with purpose it spoke to my soul. Also, as I have been listening to your podcast it has given me the encouragement to start working my way to a Plant based diet. Keep working hard. You are definitely changing lives!

  • Mary-Ellen Landry says:

    Loved this one, Rich. Took a lot of great stuff in and confirmed more. FYI, I knew I was wasting time on my phone with FB, so after you said you uninstalled it on your phone- I did too and immediately installed Headspace. Funny how we get attached to such things i.e. I got a bit hesitant to do it. Just the confirmation I needed that it was definitely the right thing to do. Plant up!

  • nathan says:

    If only we can get the collective consciousness of the American public to recognize 10-15% of what was discussed in this episode. Major props to Jake and I’m sending his book to my younger brothers who are lost in the world trying to figure out what to do, even with Law & MBA degrees. Thank you Rich for all you do. #inspiration!

  • Janet Raine says:

    Thank you for this introduction to an amazing young man and through this episode also to Sir Ken Robinson. What a brilliant man. Your shows expand my knowledge, connections are made and I am forever learning. I have so much to thank you for. Peace + Plants Rich!

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