5 Ways to Help Teens Think Beyond Themselves

Part of finding your purpose is connecting and contributing to something larger than yourself.

Teens can seem self-centered sometimes, can’t they?

Of course they can; they’re still supposed to be developing the capacity to see beyond themselves. They can also seem to lack a strong sense of purpose—and that’s not surprising either, because the ability to think about other people is developmentally linked with a sense of purpose.

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Greater Good Science Center's picture

This article originally appeared on Greater Good, the online magazine of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

The Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.

Based at the University of California, Berkeley, the GGSC is unique in its commitment to both science and practice: Not only do we sponsor groundbreaking scientific research into social and emotional well-being, we help people apply this research to their personal and professional lives. Since 2001, we have been at the fore of a new scientific movement to explore the roots of happy and compassionate individuals, strong social bonds, and altruistic behavior—the science of a meaningful life. And we have been without peer in our award-winning efforts to translate and disseminate this science to the public.

Today is World Youth Skills Day a Perfect Day for Mentoring

Today, July 15, is World Youth Skills Day. The United Nations declared this day as an annual marker to inspire better socio-economic conditions for the youth of the world and addressing the life-affecting (and often life-diminishing) challenges of unemployment and under employment.

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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation (AARBF.org) and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project (mentorartists.org). Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Condé Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at www.ChangeByDoing.com. As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

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Teens gathered in circle looking down at camera
02/28/2018
Part of finding your purpose is connecting and contributing to something larger than yourself. Teens can seem self-centered sometimes, can’t they? Of course they can; they’re still supposed to... read more
mentoring at student hackathon
07/15/2015
Today, July 15, is World Youth Skills Day. The United Nations declared this day as an annual marker to inspire better socio-economic conditions for the youth of the world and addressing the life... read more
Teens gathered in circle looking down at camera
02/28/2018
Part of finding your purpose is connecting and contributing to something larger than yourself. Teens can seem self-centered sometimes, can’t they? Of course they can; they’re still supposed to... read more
mentoring at student hackathon
07/15/2015
Today, July 15, is World Youth Skills Day. The United Nations declared this day as an annual marker to inspire better socio-economic conditions for the youth of the world and addressing the life... read more