At yLead we believe that simple positive actions, have great impact. Across the Altitude Day roadshow our world-class guest speakers shared their stories, messages, and actions they take to make the world around them a better place. Their captivating messages equally inspired and influenced Year 9 students Australia-wide to also commit to positive actions in their worlds.
Altitude Day Perth heard from one gifted and inspiring young leader, 22-year-old, Jack Anderson, co-founder of Elucidate Education. He has had a great influence in the sphere of education and discovered his passion through navigating the world around him.
These are the actions Jack committed to in order to make his world a better place:
So Jack, tell us! The world would be a better place if…
There were more dogs or more cats?
Dogs, I don’t like cats.
You got to spend holidays in the snow or holidays at the beach?
At the beach! I love the sun for good mental health.
You could read a book at home or summit a mountain?
Summit a mountain every time! I’ve always wanted to do the Mount Everest Base Camp.
You sleep in or wake up at sunrise?
Wake up at sunrise. I hate sleeping to be fair. I’ve never slept in, in my entire life.
You could fly or go invisible?
Fly. I can’t think of any reasons to be invisible.
Tell us how you are currently making the world a better place…. [talk about your initiative/work]
I am currently 22 and when I was in school, I had a really distasteful experience especially in Year 12, much like a lot of high achieving kids do. I was physically and mentally exhausted and I reflected on my time in Year 12 and really didn’t enjoy it. So, when I was 18, I started writing Year 12 textbooks! This was for a few key reasons… First was because the existing resources that kids have and pour hours of their time into, are incredibly uninspiring. The second reason was because there’s a lot of companies out there that make billions of dollars in revenue from textbooks, and it confounds me how low quality they can be sometimes. What I wanted to do was to write high school textbooks that are student friendly and are sold on a 2-for-1 donation model. Meaning every 2 textbooks that we sell, we produce and donate a third one to the libraries of low socio-economical schools.
I started out with that little idea and I’ve been working on it for the past four years and we are now MUCH BIGGER and we come under the name of Elucidate Education. Last year we supported more than 82,000 students! Now we have a whole textbook division where we have published 4 textbooks and have another 5 coming out this year, all of which have helped thousands of students through donations and sales. We also have an online platform with summary-based content which we get tens of thousands of students logging on every month to gain free access to the content that needed to succeed.
If you could talk to your 14-year-old self… what are some actions you would inspire yourself to take?
When I graduated, I did an internship at an investment banking firm, it was there that I learnt that I didn’t want to be an investment banker. It was just a small corporate internship. I was in a fundraising team, I would catch the bus to West Perth, and it took me about half an hour to get into the job each day and I was only there for a month…I would literally cry on the bus ride home; it was the LONGEST 8 hours of my life, and I hated all of it. The people I was working with were very happy, they loved their job! But for me, it was literally the worst thing ever – I knew that I could not do this. My philosophy as a person is that I would rather do something that makes me happy than care about money. I would rather be a sky diving instructor or work in a café or do ANYTHING different than sitting at a computer in an office contributing to someone else’s vision. I can just never do that.
So the advice I would give to younger people is being a lawyer is not like being on Suits, being a doctor isn’t like the TV shows, being a company founder isn’t like being Gary Vee or some Instagram or TikTok influencer. It’s not the same! All these people on social media are projecting the ‘best’ lifestyle of whatever their field is. I promise you once you take an internship or get some work experience… it is a completely different thing. So, if you are 14, get work experience at any place you can and genuinely they will give it to you because they love helping young people. You will quickly discover whether or not you like that thing and if you do, fantastic! Go for it! If you don’t, that’s so fine! You have so much time to figure it out. But the only way to figure out if you genuinely like something is by DOING IT! Always remember that there is no reality in the thought of what something is, compared to what it will be, I promise you.
As someone that does great work and has discovered their own unique way to make the world a better place, what do you believe holds people back from doing the same?
I’ve always thought about what drives me and why I am the way I am. I founded Elucidate, and I’ve done so many things on the outside and it is a question I get so often; Why do I do so much? Why do I do all these interesting projects? What keeps me going to get up at 3 AM? I think it is a few things. When I was in my first year of university, I thought I was going to be an investment banker. I realised, I was telling people how good it would be to be an investment banker, like staying in 5-star hotels and earning 6 figure salary. I just kind of freaked myself with the idea of becoming that, I just hated it even though I told other people I wanted to do that… I didn’t. That’s because I value spontaneity, just doing new things all the time and really pushing myself. To be truthful, the thing that drove me in my years at university and building this organisation was understanding that if I don’t make something like this work, I am going to have to go down a pathway that I didn’t want to do. So, when I was waking up in the morning it was like, “Hey, this is what I want to make my life.”
yLead’s takeaway from Jack’s response: People all to often feel that they have certain expectations of themselves, like going to university and getting a corporate job. When we are the ones that create those expectations, we are the one’s that can create our realities and break out of these ‘expectations’ or ‘moulds’ regardless of who makes them. Follow your heart, like Jack has done, and you too will do great things!
”That is fundamentally the first step, keeping your end vision in mind and understanding what you want your life to look like.
As a leader trying to have a positive impact, what kind of challenges have you faced? What tips can you give to overcome this?
Every day is genuinely a new challenge and I’ll try and break it down into key areas throughout my journey. The hardest part is the start of the journey, the first six to twelve months where I was building on my idea, there was an insurmountable amount of work that had to go into the foundation of building a product. Whilst starting my idea I was a full-time university student, I had a job, and I was trying to author these textbooks but because you have to create something original, I was working approximately 100 hours a week. I would get up at 3 AM go to bed at 8 PM and I just had no social life for that entire year. We had over 2000 different drafts of all the documents required to compile together our first chemistry book.
The other challenge was trying to get people to buy in on the idea which was an extremely difficult challenge. In fact, at the beginning of the sales journey we were turned down by every single school in Western Australia. Another challenge that is a really important component of any business is getting the support of other people because you need people in your team to be in your corner. You have to ensure that the people that you are getting involved with are willing to put in as much as you are. During my journey there were many people that just didn’t want to give as much time as I do or they didn’t quite understand my vision, so I had to learn to overcome this.
If everyone committed to making the world a better place, tell us what you believe that would look/feel like?
It is a difficult question to answer – if everyone is doing something that truly matters to them, I think internally it does one thing. It completely shifts people’s mindsets from helping themselves to helping others and it completely shifts how you view the world. When you look in the mirror and you see yourself, you also look behind that mirror and see millions of other people who need your help. In doing that it creates a selflessness and happiness that is hard to describe but is so special and unique.
What can we do to support you?
You can always reach out to me on social media, search up Jack Anderson and I’m sure I will pop up! But otherwise, if you are university student or coming out of high school and want to make the world a better place through education, come and volunteer with us. We are now situated in Melbourne and Perth. You can join online which a lot of our volunteers do. You can also tell all of your teachers about our books and let them know that they exist because once they know they exist, they are pretty keen on putting them on the book lists!