Gerald P Murphy masthead

Personal & Professional Development (Self-Renewal)

To reach our greatest potential collectively and as individuals, the Murphy Foundation recognizes the critical importance of self-renewal. In 2011, we published an article in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education entitled “On the Self -Renewal of Teachers”. It could have just as easily been called On the Self-Renewal of Plumbers, of CEOs, of Health Professionals, of Parents. That is because the ideas put forth are our best approximation of the skills and attitudes that are key to moving people toward their highest potential. We believe these skills and attitudes are not highly domain-specific, but instead transcend disciplines making them useful for a varied assortment of folks, not just professional teachers. Our thesis is that you can gain immeasurably by developing your own personalized, hand-picked gallery of intellectual heroes who in turn serve as your life-long teachers. This idea of collecting intellectual heroes deserves further explanation here.

At first glance, tethering yourself to heroes might seem too imitative, counterproductive to developing your own original thinking. But, we believe this scheme to be a prime prescription for personal renewal and performance. By exploiting our natural impulse to imitate what we see, this activity lifts us to new heights of possibility. Amidst all the noise in our busy lives, we trust these teachers to grab our attention, reminding us of our own unfinishedness – that, despite all of our successes, we are still works in progress. We feel that by seeing these intellectual heroes as teachers who we can emulate, our capacity for original thinking has been liberated, not constrained. And each time we revisit them, the spectacle of their collective effort and particular wisdom awakens in us new ambitions, sustaining our commitment to reach our highest creative capacity.