Essentially, this prompt is asking you, “What are you passionate about, and why?”
The five pillars (mind, heart, zeal, family, and hope) give a broad outline for five different directions your essay can take. This is a good prompt to choose if you would like a broad prompt to write about and are unsure if some of the other prompts are to your liking. You can basically write about whatever you want for this essay!
Mind: This essay could take the form of an anecdote of when you stood up for something you believe in, or an in-depth explanation of a subject that makes you tick, and why. The important thing to include here is something that has the underlying concept of being a force for good in the world. For example, did you think of a new way to improve your school’s recycling program? Did you invent a scientific tool and get it patented? The idea behind this “pillar” is to showcase the different talents and intellectual passions that applicants can bring to the campus, so if you think this is you, go ahead and use this pillar as the focus of your essay!
Heart and Zeal: This essay should be centered around a passion to which you have dedicated a lot of time and poured your heart and soul into. It could be about how you trained countless hours in the pool, on the track, on the field, in the gym, etc. to finally win that league title or state championship. It could detail the countless hours of research that you contributed to the science lab you interned at, with the pinnacle of the essay revealing the breakthrough that the lab discovered. The important thing here is to write about something you are passionate about, something you worked hard for to achieve.
Family: This is a very relatable approach to take while writing this essay. You could talk about how your immigrant parents taught you to always be humble and respect people’s differences. You could write about how your mom’s chocolate chip cookie recipe inspired you to start your own food blog.
This pillar also applies to friends and other people you may consider family. You can be as creative as you want when defining “family!” Is it your literal family? Your best friend? A mentor? Your whole community? This should be about how someone in your life has affected you, and how that effect has shaped you into the person you are today.
Hope: This pillar is heavily calling for an essay about when you overcame an obstacle and prevailed. No, you didn’t have to beat cancer to write about this pillar, but writing about something that matters to you is key. Does your 5-year-old brother, who can list off all the U.S. states and their capitols, give you hope for the future generation? Did you overcome homelessness? A bad teacher? A bad school year?
The important thing to remember when writing this essay is to write about what you learned in addition to the thing you overcame. While sob stories can sometimes be seen as the icing on the cake, admissions officers often get tired of reading them if the writers don’t give any additional information on how they grew from that event. Remember to write about how that event has shaped you for the better, and what you learned from it.
A final piece of advice for this prompt is that even though you can choose as many pillars to write about as you want, you only have 175 words, so make sure you can effectively get your point across in those words — usually this means focusing on one pillar or passion to write about!
Educating the mind without educating the heart, is no education at all.
Exploring Education of the Heart
Aristotle wrote, “Educating the mind without educating the heart, is no education at all.” What does that mean to you? Are you heart intelligent? You may be unaware that any type of education is not good enough. You’ve heard sayings like these before: follow your heart, speak from your heart, trust with your heart. This is exactly what Aristotle is talking about in this quote. He taught that the heart was the center of the body. In fact, he believed that the heart was the true “center” of the human body, and that the brain was not. Which of these organs do you follow the most as you explore your education and experiences?
Start With Your Individual Heart
The first area to explore in heart intelligence is the individual’s heart. Are you true to your own desires and needs?
- Do you connect with the energy that comes from your emotions? Why do you have the emotions you have in various situations?
- Are you aware of your thoughts and feelings? Do you know what your longings are and why they are present?
- Do you feel alive and present when you are connected to your true passions?
- Are you able to sit and contemplate each of the emotions you have and truly allow it to happen without labeling it wrong or right?
Consider the Relationship Heart Intelligence
Now, take a look at a few other ways to learn with your heart.
- Do you allow your heart to guide you to the things you want? When creating goals or making decisions, does your heart lead your decisions?
- Do you make decisions that feel right? You may think they are right, but do they feel right?
- Do you accept others and not try to fix them or change them?
- Do you connect to your future? Do you see your future and focus on it to ensure it comes to pass?
- Do you take steps to move beyond challenges and resistance by seeing and feeling the best steps forward?
Listening to your heart is not just about personal relationships and daily life. It impacts your health and your business life as well. When you learn and grow based on your heart and your head, you can lead a more fulfilled life that you control. In short, if you want to live a different life or you wish to control the outcome of your life, you need to learn and grow from the heart.
Contributed by Rakesh Malhotra, Founder of Five Global Values (www.fiveglobalvalues.com) and Author of “Adventures of Tornado Kid, Whirling Back Home Towards Timeless Values”. Passionately determined to uncover the mystery of human behavior. His fascination with the influence of core values on human behavior stems from a career which has seen rise from an entry-level sales job to that of a seasoned CEO. Having worked, lived, or traveled to more than 40 countries, he has been able to study performance and human behavior across all cultures. Follow me @FiveValues
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