Stanford’s Timeless Question

MBA admissions have many stages and requirements. I get to communicate with people who apply and fight for the chance to be called “da graduate”. Mesmerizing names and promises of these marble white universities attract millions of young hearts. They invite the smartest people across the globe to become part of their campus. They come not to be smarter. They come to be important and to do important things further in their lifetime. Ironically enough. Stanford asks one question before letting people inside the gates of university’s huge green yard:

“What matters to you the most?”

They want you to explain the most complicated personal issue in just 600+ words. They want you to be your own Freud and analyze your life in couple of hours, as you sit down to pen this bizarre essay. Ridiculousness of the task makes you laugh in hysteria.

What matters to me the most?

In this world where money, fame, power, connections matter the most (as you observe it on a daily basis) you get to build yourself a 600 word island where your values will try to survive against the odds. Why do people go to universities in the first place? Universities used to be the little worlds by themselves. Places where ideas and opinions were shaped and molded into eternity. Places where values and perspectives were exchanged to find a common ground. Places where most profound ventures were born. They served as a ground where everybody would stand on. (Even stand for.)

To me this Stanford essay question is an umbrella to other questions such as:

What do you stand for? What makes your blood boil? What captivates your heart and brain? What will you be remembered for? When do you feel that it is you (your true version)? What would you be ready to suffer for?

I was invited to a podcast where we had to discuss the illusion of choices. Do we have a choice? Does it change anything when we make our own choices? Ultimate goal of a human being was not to survive but to thrive in a given space. Thriving was using the given talent and opportunities to make others happy as well. Every person is a living unit of energy. We form a network which works non-stop.

I stand for the beauty of global and timely intersections. There is an indescribable beauty in a boy who gets inspired by Da Vinci 500 years later and creates his own masterpieces. A girl reading Jane Austin and entering her imaginary house where people exist is a definition of universal beauty. A crew in streets of Baku dancing just like Rock Steady Crew did in streets of New York brings harmony to my soul.

People touching hearts of other people with anything they write or do is what I stand for. Words matter to me the most. Words create worlds. They give, build or save tomorrows. Words make people stand for something. Words show our vulnerabilities and hidden gems. May be this is why we are still made to write essays in an age where everything is electronic, our hearts beat to the words we write about what matters to us the most.

I write, therefore I exist.

Author of five crowdfunded books KVAN, UBUNTU, ALAMO13, ONQAKU and LAMARTIN