Startup eSeries: Of Purpose and Possibility - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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Startup eSeries: Of Purpose and Possibility

Dec 04, 2015

Startup eSeries: Of Purpose and Possibility 

'The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.' - Albert Einstein
Two hundred and twenty five million kilometres lie between Earth and Mars. How many of us would think of travelling this distance? How many teachers in the classrooms of today would encourage students to explore this thought?

To inculcate this thought in the next generation, to allow their imaginations to run wild and equip them in the skills of tomorrow, brothers Ashvir Sangha and Sunny Sangha founded 225 Academy.

In a five-day program, the Academy (for students aged 11 to 18) focuses on new-age skills like communication, technology, entrepreneurship, and personal development. Their aim is to empower young people with greater self-confidence and help them become 'powerful communicators, with the Silicon Valley mindset and 21st century skillset'.

'The academy is more of a life course for young people. It gives you a master class on how to live a happy, successful, fulfilled life,' say the founders.

Founder duo Ashvir and Sunny Sangha

Led by a team of young leaders from diverse fields such as neuroscience, psychology, and theatre, the Academy has already had a successful run at schools in the United Kingdom, Middle East, China, and Singapore. It will soon be available to students in India too.

As the brothers get ready to unveil their first course in India, they spoke to us about various educational and entrepreneurial issues. Here's the story in their words...

The gaps in today's education system

'I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.' - Mark Twain

Our education system focuses more on testing knowledge rather than skills. While knowledge tested in examinations is forgotten after the examination is over, skillsets go a long way.

A strong focus on the new skills and new mindset is needed for young people to be happy and succeed in the rapidly changing world in which they will live and work.

A focus on all-rounded development

'Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.' - Margaret Mead

The internet has given people around the world access to a great deal of information, but in-person mentorship with personal attention and real-life interaction is still extremely valuable to young people. They need to be guided in having the right approach to such information and a confidence to be able to navigate it all.

At the Academy, we focus on personal development, technology, entrepreneurship, and communication in particular. An individual with technology empowerment and great communication skills is a better entrepreneur and overall a more successful person.

Living a life of purpose and possibility

'Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.' - Jim Rohn

Through our course, we aim at giving participants the self-confidence to reimagine what they think they are capable of achieving; we also give them tools to maintain this mindset for a lifetime. For example, we do sessions where they plot their purpose, deal with high-pressure situations, and build projects for themselves.

Our faculty of young role models plays a valuable role and students react to them in a different way from how they would react to their school teachers. The Academy mentors themselves are doing interesting work in their own fields and share their experiences in an inspiring way.

So far, the Academy has been well-received, and over 90% of the participants feel that it has had a transformative impact on them. You would be surprised how much can be achieved during an intensive, interactive, and exciting five-day Academy! But we also keep in touch with participants after the program and continue to provide mentorship or resources.

The evolving idea of education

'Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.' - Socrates
According to some estimates, 50% of the jobs that young people will do don't exist yet. They need to learn to be more adaptive, self-confident, entrepreneurial, and tech-savvy to handle the scale and pace of change smoothly.

Essentially, we think it consists of people having very good answers to 'what are you doing?' and 'why?' It is about doing work you love accompanied by a well-resourced infrastructure, supportive social setting, and of course good health!

Education is a lifelong process, but if a person has a good sense of how to be happy, successful, and fulfilled, we would say their education is fairly complete!
A 'limitless mindset' for the future

'Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.' - Malcolm X
In the future, educational systems should become more self-directed, collaborative, and real-world in their nature. For example, if students want to learn Spanish, they should be able to go and live in Madrid for six months!

Young people should ideally develop a limitless mindset. They should be far more ambitious and optimistic than they often are about what they can achieve and the level of impact they can have on the world.

A new era of young enterprise

'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.' - Nelson Mandela
Our experiences studying at Oxford and Cambridge definitely contributed to our sense of confidence and made us feel we would be able to run projects of our own in the real world. Also, we enjoy the freedom and adventure of entrepreneurship, even though there are plenty of surprises and uncertainties along the way!

It's probably never been easier and cheaper to start a project and get it out to people. At the same time, I think that a sense of seniority is breaking down and people realise age does not always equate with your stage or experience.

We have friends who run companies in which they are the youngest employee! Ultimately, if you can develop relationships well and deliver, that's a big part of being an entrepreneur. And young entrepreneurs can be more in touch with emerging trends and more willing to take risks. As our dad often told us, 'Why not go for it when you have the least distractions - no wife, children, mortgage, major responsibilities - now is the time!'


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2 Responses to "Startup eSeries: Of Purpose and Possibility"

Bindu Bhat

16 Aug, 2016

This idea of the 225 academy is very interesting as it is intriguing! Certainlyl, look forward to it for my child and perhaps partner it too.


06 Dec, 2015

Ritika - Very timely and enrgizing article on entrepreneurship by an entrepreneur :)). Cant wait to enroll my son who will finish school in a few months and enroll my self also !

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