What problems do you want to solve?

This question is infinitely better than the question: what do you want to do?

At least when it comes to asking a young person about their future.

I recently asked that question to a young high school senior and he just gave me this expression of shock, like "oh".

 Like this "oh!". Kinda. Okay not like this.

Like this "oh!". Kinda. Okay not like this.

It's a great question and it's what's lead me to think more critically about my future.

When you ask people what they want to be, all they can do is speculate on traditional jobs. It's not their fault, but they literally have no idea of all of the things they could be doing that doesn't fit within the traditional roles.

The world is so much more dynamic than that.

By asking them what problems they want to solve, then you can start to see what motivates them. This is a much more important thing to find out about someone rather than what job title they want to write down on the tax documents.

That's what school misses the mark on so often.

They focus on teaching X to fit Y role, never asking the student what it is that motivates them.

When you help someone figure out what problem they want to solve, what drives them, then you can say that you succeeded in getting the student to grow as a person.

So start by asking yourself: what problems do you want to solve?